I'd say: if this wasn't PLANNED by the Church, it sure was USED TO THE MAX FOR INTERFAITH EFFECTS AND SHOCK VALUE, USING A TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE TO BREAK THROUGH REGULAR BARRIERS, GETTING RABBIS AND JEWS TO PRAY IN A CATHEDRAL, WITH AN ARCHBISHOP, IN GERMAN AND LATIN: my G-d! And now coupled with the knowledge of a BOMB THREAT TO AN AIR FRANCE PLANE A FEW DAYS EARLIER, THIS SURE SMELLS VERY, VERY FISHY. What is the true story, I wonder.
A lot of people feel terrorism cannot be ruled out, but we have nothing to support this point," -- Claude Moniquet of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center.
Intelligence services and security analysts who monitor extremist groups see nothing as yet to indicate foul play in the crash of Air France flight 447.
Security experts say the lack of a claim of responsibility and the absence of web site chatter by guerrilla networks are pointers, albeit circumstantial ones, to an accident as the likely cause of the crash that killed 228 people.
"An attack is not the top theory at the moment," said Anthony Glees, director of Britain's Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies.
One Western security source who declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media said without elaborating the crash was being handled so far as an accident.
Authorities are baffled by how a modern plane could have plunged out of the sky without giving its team of three experienced pilots time to send a mayday call.
"The feeling is strange. A lot of people feel terrorism cannot be ruled out, but we have nothing to support this point," said Claude Moniquet of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, a think tank in Brussels.
Air France and government ministers have said bad weather and turbulence were probably behind the disaster on the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, but have refused to rule out other causes, including terrorism.
Speculation about a bomb stems from news that Air France received an anonymous telephone warning a bomb was on a flight leaving Buenos Aires on May 27, four days before the crash.
A spokesman said the plane was checked, no bomb was found and the aircraft left an hour and a half late. He added that such alerts were relatively common.
A source at the Aeronautic Security Police in Argentina said French authorities have not asked for any additional information about the May 27 bomb threat.
A judge was assigned to a routine investigation of the bomb threat after it happened. A source at the court handling the probe said there had so far been no results from efforts to trace the phone call in which the bomb threat was made.
The sources said an anonymous male caller phoned a downtown office of Air France in Buenos Aires, not the company's office at the airport, on the morning of May 27, and asked about the time of departure of an Air France flight. Then said "There is a bomb on that airplane" and hung up.
Security analysts believe intelligence agencies monitoring web sites and intercepting phone calls would have picked up some chatter about the incident among groups or networks like al Qaeda, if such organisations were responsible.
Moniquet said his think tank "found nothing" on extremist web sites. The Site Intelligence Group, a US-based terrorism monitor, says it had also seen "nothing of interest".
A claim of responsibility, whether spurious or genuine, is the norm following the criminal downing of an airliner.
Philip Baum of Aviation Security International said lack of a claim of responsibility did not equate to lack of foul play.
"But it would be extremely unusual for there to have been no specific threat against that aircraft beforehand or that route in general. And then to have no claim in the immediate aftermath of the attack, that tends to reduce the likelihood of foul play."
"The bottom line is we have to get to that wreckage," said Chris Yates of Jane's Aviation. "If we're talking about an explosive device, then even if the wreckage has been immersed in water for a considerable time there will still be physical evidence to show what it was."
Notre Dame hosts service for bereaved
Thu, Jun 04, 2009
THE FAMILIES of the victims of flight AF447 arrived first at Notre Dame Cathedral, hidden from the television cameras by the Air France buses that brought them from their hotel at Roissy airport.
The airline sent an e-mail to its employees yesterday morning, asking them to attend the ecumenical service. Hundreds waited in a tense, sombre mood on the esplanade in front of the cathedral, wearing navy-blue uniforms and black ties, some walking arm in arm, with tears in their eyes. "We're like members of one big family," said an air hostess. "We are all in mourning. It could have happened to any of us."
The CEO and director of Air France, the French prime minister and opposition leaders, former president Jacques Chirac and representatives of the Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim faiths all attended the service.
President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, were the last to arrive, seven minutes late. They took their seats in the front row, followed into the cathedral by the Air France personnel.
There were no television cameras inside, and journalists were not allowed to attend, at the request of the families and the airline. Several hundred anonymous mourners and a handful of tourists listened to prayers and psalms, Maurice Duruflé's requiem, sung by the Air France choir, over loudspeakers placed outside.
"It is shock and grief that have brought us together here today, to be with those who were closest to the victims," said Msgr André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris. "It is shock and grief that seize us when we think of these 228 persons." The archbishop read a message from Pope Benedict XVI expressing "sincere condolences", "profound sympathy" and "spiritual proximity to all those touched by this tragedy".
Msgr Vingt-Trois read a passage from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the French pilot and writer who immortalised night flights over the Atlantic in his novels and himself died in an air crash during the second World War.
A geographer tells the Little Prince that the flower he left behind is ephemeral. "What does 'ephemeral' mean?" the Little Prince asks. "It means 'who is threatened with imminent disappearance'," the geographer replies.
Thereupon, the Little Prince first knows regret. "We are filled with regret for all we have done and didn't do, and yet we continue living. To remember, we shall now light 228 candles, as a luminous sign of their presence in their absence," Msgr Vingt-Trois said.
The Air France staff then carried 228 lighted candles to the altar, where they burned throughout the service. It ended with a Brazilian poem titled Footprints in the Sand.
© 2009 The Irish Times
ZE09060403 - 2009-06-04
Interfaith Leaders Pray for Plane Tragedy Victims
Benedict XVI Sends Condolences
PARIS, JUNE 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A message from Benedict XVI was read at the opening of an interreligious gathering in Paris' Notre Dame cathedral, expressing sorrow for the victims of Monday's Air France plane accident.
The Pope affirmed his prayer that God will "give his support and consolation" to all those people affected by the tragedy that claimed 228 lives when a flight en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean.
Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris and president of the French bishops' conference, transmitted the condolences of the Pontiff at Wednesday's gathering.
The Holy Father entrusted the deceased to God's mercy, and expressed the hope that their families will "find the help that they need around them in these hours of anguish."
Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, was present at the gathering along with other government representatives, Christians, Jews, Muslims, families and friends of the victims and Air France workers.
To symbolize the lives lost in the tragedy, 228 candles were placed on the altar.
Rabbi Haim Korsia, chaplain of the air personnel, invoked the "fraternity that unites us, believers and non-believers."
Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Council of Muslim Faith, directed some words of support and compassion to the families and friends of the victims, and he sang the first sura of the Koran.
Claude Bay, president of the Protestant Federation of France also expressed his sympathy, followed by the Metropolitan Emmanuel on behalf of the French Assembly of Orthodox bishops.
Pilots and crew members, dressed in uniform, recited verses from the Book of Lamentations and the Gospel of Luke, in French, Portuguese and English.
The archbishop of Paris concluded the ceremony with a message of encouragement and support for the families.
(Zenit in French:
The celebration was prepared jointly with Air France: Time of contemplation and prayer for the families and relatives of the victims IN A SPIRIT OF RAPPROACHMENT BETWEEN MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES AND OF ALL RELIGIONS. Readings were done in French, English and Portuguese. The prayer was carried by songs in French, Latin and GERMAN by the Mastery of Notre Dame of Paris and Air France choir.
La célébration a été préparée conjointement avec Air France : temps de recueillement et de prière pour les familles et les proches des victimes dans un esprit de rapprochement entre les hommes de tous pays et toutes religions. Des lectures ont été faites en français, anglais et brésilien. La prière était portée par des chants en français, latin et allemand de la Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris et du Chœur d'Air France.