This disturbing bit of news was shared with us by a regular reader here, Mr.V.T., and this one is so explosive (pardon the pun), that it simply has to be talked about:
The RT article makes it very clear that according to the air terminal that handle's President Putin's presidential aircraft, for obvious security and safety reasons, Mr.Putin's plane does not fly over the troubled Ukraine. But, as the article also makes clear, other Russian news sources are gently calling this into question:
"At the same time, there have been reports contradicting Intefax’s report that was the first and the only media source to publish the news, saying that Presidential plane was not flying over Ukraine at the same time.
"As a source told Gazeta.ru online news portal, Putin’s plane does take off from Vnukovo-3 [the terminal that accepts business jets], but the president does not fly over the conflict-gripped neighboring country."
Now let's do some high octane speculation:
Let's assume, first, that the RT report is accurate, and that, indeed, Mr. Putin's presidential aircraft did not fly over the Ukraine. Such a security matter would be obvious, especially given the wider context of recent geopolitical events, which we'll get to in a moment. But this would leave two almost-equally-dangerous flight paths for the aircraft, returning Mr. Putin from what was by all appearances a successful trip to Brasilia and the World Cup finals. One flight possibility would have Mr. Putin's plane traveling much further to the West, over the western Balkans, central Europe, and then through Poland and Byelorussia. The problem with this path is that it would have taken his plane over unfriendly Croatia, and even unfriendlier Poland, where similar "accidents" could have easily been arranged. Remember that air traffic control problem reported in central Europe over Austria, the Czech Republic, and southern Germany just a couple of weeks ago? The second alternative possibility would have taken Mr. Putin's plane further east, over the Black Sea and possibly the region around Rostov, and then north to Moscow. Again, the Black Sea would have been a convenient place to arrange an accident. Recall, in this respect, the Ukrainian shootdown of a Russian airliner in the Black Sea in 2001.
None of these routes are optimal, from the standpoint of Russian security forces concerned with protecting their President. Suppose then that evaluating these "options", the security forces decided to fly over the Ukraine, rather than chance an incident over Poland or central Europe, which, if it were to occur in any of those countries, would have necessitated a Russian response in an already tension-high reason. Geopolitics, in other words, would have become a factor in the Russian security forces' assessment of the risks associated with each route. Similarly, an incident over the Black Sea, with NATO naval forces present, could have been interpreted as too risky from the standpoint of international geopolitical implications, should an incident occur. Surprisingly then, this might have left a flight over the Eastern Ukraine as the geopolitically least risky of three unpalatable alternatives in spite of official public statements that Mr. Putin's presidential aircraft did not fly over the Ukraine.
Now suppose some western intelligence agency with sophisticated electronic surveillance capability learned of this. Given Mr. Putin's unique talent for upsetting the geopolitical ambitions of certain factions within the West, this would constitute a unique opportunity to take out a statesman bent on reforming his country and its standing in the world.
Bottom line: we might just possibly be looking at yet another covert op, gone horribly wrong.
Oddly ironic, this same rough time period, 100 years ago, the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand von Hapsburg, a man with liberal reform tendencies in the Dual Monarchy, and his wife Sophie, were gunned down by Serb nationalists on a visit to Sarajevo.
And we all know what happened next...
...See you on...
...Oh wait. One more thing, courtesy of another reader here, Mr. L.C. Here's the Australian press's early reporting on the event:
IN his email, Mr. L.C. drew attention to these statements:
"US intelligence officials confirmed that a surface-to-air missile brought down the airline. However, which side used the missile was less clear, officials said. A radar system reportedly saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft just before the plane went down.
"Another system saw a heat signature when the airliner was hit in the air. Experts were tracing the missile's trajectory to work out whether it was launched from Ukraine or Russian territory."
- If they can do all of this, then how did they manage to lose MH 370 over the Indian Ocean (or wherever the latest story of the moment says it went down)? and
- A few weeks ago (and here I'm quoting), "you shared patent applications by Boeing describing remote control mechanisms where planes can be taken under remote control under hijacking scenários. Is there any evidence such a system extends to recalibration of onboard transponder signatures?"
Answer: no evidence that I know of, but if one can do the one, surely one can also do the other.
OK. I'm done now.
See you on the flip side.