Documentary disputes Swissair crash findings
Author suggests terrorists brought down jet in 1998
by Lisa Brown
COUNTY - A documentary by the CBC's "Fifth Estate" is about to make new and startling claims about what brought down Swissair Flight 111 off the South Shore in 1998.
The program, scheduled to air on September 16, will suggest that terrorists were responsible and that the fire on the plane wasn't accidental, but instead was caused by an incendiary device or a failed bomb.
Chester Basin author Paul Palango, widely known for three books about the inner workings of the RCMP, is behind the project.
Mr. Palango says it began more than two years ago when he was contacted by a retired RCMP sergeant and ident officer who worked on the Swissair investigation.
Tom Juby, who spent four years as the lead forensics investigator on the disaster, led Mr. Palango to 13,000 pages of documents about the Swissair crash.
"The story he is able to tell is a very powerful one," says Mr. Palango, an associate producer on the documentary.
Sgt. Juby claims investigators decided within days, even before recovering the plane's black boxes, that they would ultimately conclude the crash was an accident. They followed that determination throughout the investigation, issuing safety advisories which many airlines followed.
The premise is that they discovered too late that the fire didn't start accidentally.
"As they start to reassemble the plane ... they begin to realize the fire damage is much greater than any short-circuit could have ever caused. Then they find scientific evidence of the constituents of an incendiary device or possibly failed bomb on the plane, yet no criminal investigation ever takes place," Mr. Palango says.
By then, the Transportation Safety Board had opened itself up to legal action by the airlines that had spent millions of dollars to correct suggested safety deficiencies.
The larger part of the picture, Mr. Palango suggests, is the political climate of the day. No one wanted to talk about terrorism because of the impact it could have had on the airline industry and the American economy, but the world now knows of al-Qaida's interest in planes.
Here is the rest of the article:
Swissair 111 was one of four planes that left JFK and crashed into water in four years. All were declared accidents.
Mr. Palango understands people may doubt the veracity of the theory. He had trouble selling the story from the outset.
"Every publisher in Canada and the United States that I contacted turned down the story and wrote it off as a conspiracy theory," he says.
Eventually, he got Swiss television interested and then the CBC.
"When you see Tom Juby on camera, you're going to be blown away by how impressive he is. He's a real honest guy and the documents that are used to tell this story - there are a number of key documents," Mr. Palango says.
Those, he claims, include internal files which reveal efforts to suppress any suggestions of terrorism.
"It's going to change the way people perceive not only the Swissair crash, but a number of other things, like how can you cover up something in plain sight like this," Mr. Palango says.
"This is about secrecy and what's really going on."
And with good reason...
I recall the FBI saying that they found NO evidence of a bomb in the early days after the crash.
More good reasons to follow of why this tragedy was not caused by terrorists.
Good Grief, it does sound a bit strange. And to drudhe up so much emotion. The reporter., Linden McIntrye , is from Nova Scotia and should know better but I guess he sees it as a "good story" when a "good" story to one is sadness and tragedy for others, sigh! Take care !!!
Sensationalism, is very common here in the U.S., but I'm very surprised to see this in Canada from the CBC.
The Fifth Estate, the prog airing it, is well noted for this kind of thing. They even fdid one on the conspiracy theories re 9/11 in NYC, sigh!!!
Oh wow Janey, I didn't realize that! Thanks for that info.
Mo prob. Our shows tend to be a little less melodramatic than in the US but NOT this one. Very sensationalist and McIntyre likes these sort of topics.
Strange, but I think I did an interview for the CBC in 1999, and I thought that McIntyre was involved in it. I didn't remember him being like that back then. It was around the first year anniversary of the crash.
I feel that it is very insensitive of them to do a show like this 13 years after the tragedy, and don't believe their allegations at all. There were plenty of reasons that swissair crashed without dragging this conspiracy theory into the mix. It just detracts from what really happened.
He can be a ver nice man and I do actually think he may even mean well with this but often his episodes on the Fifth are very melodramatic. Recently did one on abused children in RC Church. Hurt a lot of ppl who were JUST getting over it. And I agree w/ you - why now? If they rthink there ARE probs, if it was a conspiracy, investigate it quietly - why go on national TV???? For once, barash Hashem , think about the loved ones!!!
I doubt Linden would be doing this had he been there that evening. I know of one cameraman who was shooting live scenes and he turned his cam away, saying, "no one needs to see THIS". And he has strugggled with what he saw for all these yrs. went into counselling. So had Mr M been there, NO, he would not raise this.
Hi, I just want to add to the comments regarding The Fifth Estate and Lyndon MacIntyre.
It is true that the Fifth Estate tends to cover sensensational stories, but they are usually legitimate subjects that are at least worth looking into. Often by the end of the show, they end up debunking or casting doubt on the validity of the claims being made. Sometimes they uncover stories that needed to be brought to the public's attention. In the case of the 9/11 conspiracy program, they did not allow the conspiracy theorists to go unchallenged. The interviewer questioned the logic of their theories, and the show presented rational arguments from informed people, explaining the errors in the conspiracy statements and the dangers of perpetrating those kinds of rumours. I didn't think the conspiracist came off very well.
As for Lyndon MacIntyre, I have a lot of respect for him as a journalist and he is known for doing excellent research. I think we should wait and see how tonights show on Swiss Air 111 is presented and concluded. I'm sure they will have strong counter-arguments to Tom Juby's claims. Hopefully the show will be fair and unbiased.
As an aside, one of the statements made by Tom Juby that made me instantly question his credibility was "If Canada can't follow through on 229 potential homicides, then you know, what happens when there's only one?" This kind of state is inflammatory fear mongering that I would expect from someone like Glenn Beck. It was certainly unnecessary.
Thanks for letting me comment.
Angela, the whole documentary was something you might expect here in the U.S. I was surprised that the CBC would air something like that. Very.
Good point about Juby. It seems like he's offended because he didn't feel he was taken seriously enough during the investigation. At least that's what I can glean from watching the show. I'm not even sure he believes that terrorism brought the plane down.
I was so disappointed in this program, it should never have been aired. There were no comments from the other side and Lyndon MacIntyre really didn't challenge Juby. I really thought they would have presented more evidence. The CBC should have been above producing this sort of overblown sensationalism.
I agree that Juby came across as wanting vindication. Perhaps has a legitimate gripe. This could have been presented as a story about a police officer who felt frustrated at being thwarted in his investigation. They could have looked at if and why there was interference by higher ups, and included interviews with senior RCMP. Also, it did not merit a 1 hour special. It could have been a 15 minute feature segment tagged onto a nightly news show. It certainly should never have been presented as a shocking possible conspiracy/coverup. I have lost a lot of respect for the CBC. They reopened this wound needlessly.
I live in St. Margaret's Bay, NS and I get very emotional when I even hear the words Swiss Air. I am 15 minutes from the memorial site and visit several time a year. I still weep every time. I did not know any of the people on the flight but feel connected to every one of them, as so many Nova Scotian's do. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. Please know that her spirit and memory are part of our community and will always be watched over by so many people who truly care.
Thanks so much Angela. Words cannot convey how much your post really touched me. I agree with everything you say, and thanks so much for continuing to care about the victims of swissair 111.
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