HIGH OCTANE ON FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS IN RUSSIAAugust 7, 2019
Monday I blogged about France's announcement to weaponize space with laser-carrying satellites, ostensibly for the purpose of giving France an independent space defense capability for their space-based assets. I also speculated that one might envision these "lasers" to be far more powerful than the standard optical frequency lasers that the term itself (lasers I mean), conjurs in the popular mind, and might be something capable of offensive use, such as x-ray or gamma ray lasers (or so called grasers). Such powerful weapons could conceivably be deployed against ground targets in any number of ways; we'll get back to that, because there was a little "method" in my madness yesterday when I posted the blog about the French story.
Which brings us to the subject matter today: many people sent articles on the recent fires occurring in Siberia, this being one example:
Here's another example, from RT, which is noting that President Putin has called in the Russian military to respond:
This article notes that two regions seem to be the centers of most of the fire, the Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions:
Several emails which shared various versions of this story all wondered the same thing: fires in the vast tracts of forest in Siberia, particularly in the summer, are nothing new. And given the fact that much of Siberia, to this day, is very remote from human habitation, undergrowth builds up, rendering the fire hazard much higher from lightning strikes and so on. But many of those emails speculated that perhaps these fires were not naturally occurring, and this it the high octane speculation that I want to entertain today, though I should explicitly state that there has been nothing from any media source, especially from any Russian media source, indicating any evidence that this is so.
But with that in mind, there is one intriguing thing to note about these fires, especially those concentrated in the regions of the cities of Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk: both regions lie on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, with both cities being major terminals along the railroad. Thus, the fires, viewed from the standpoint that they might not be natural, could conceivably interfere with, or even potentially shut down traffic along that vital and strategic railroad. And let us recall that the Trans-Siberian railroad figures prominently into Sino-Russian plans for Eurasian integration and for China's one belt one road initiative. Viewed in this way, the fires could be disguised attempts at interdiction or even at the temporary destruction of vital segments of the Trans-Siberian. This would effectively severely strain communications between western and European Russia with the extremities of eastern Siberia.
As all this was coming into my email inbox, along with many people's speculations along the above lines, F.L.M. sent this article about the explosion of a Russian munitions factory:
Now, what's interesting here is the location of this munitions factory:
A Russian ammunition depot in the country's Siberian region caught fire earlier today, sending a powerful shockwave through local communities and touching off secondary explosions that have continued for hours, making it difficult to bring the blaze under control. It is unclear how many casualties the incident may have caused already, but it has forced the evacuation of approximately 11,000 people from nearby communities.
The fire at the base belonging to Russian Military Unit 74008, which manages a territorial arsenal in the village of Kamenka in the central Russian region of Krasnoyarsk began shortly before 1:00 PM local time on Aug. 5, 2019, according to state-run media outlet TASS. The fire quickly spread to a warehouse containing artillery ammunition, including shells and artillery rockets, as well as propelling charges, triggering a massive explosion. The base also reportedly houses various other munitions, including tank shells, anti-tank guided missiles, surface-to-air missiles. (Emphasis added)
What's also intriguing here is what is not being said, even though a vague suggestion is made that the forest fires and the ammunition factory explosion might be related:
The exact cause of the fire is unclear, but there are a number of forest fires raging across Siberia at present amid an unprecedented heatwave. This means that major firefighting resources are already spread thin in the region.
Russia has suffered similar accidents in the past. The last such incident, in May 2018, led to fires that burned for a week before aerial firefighting aircraft and helicopters could put out the blaze. This is not a problem necessarily limited to Russia, either. (Emphasis added)
Taken together, the ammunition factory explosion plus forest fires in crucial regions along the Trans-Siberian Railway represent a serious threat to Russia's national security, and additionally, efforts to subdue them will require major commitments of resources, including Russia's military. In other words, a more perfect way to keep the Russians "occupied" while other major geopolitical events - Iran, Hong Kong protests and so on - are occurring. (And notably, the Hong Kong protests are also keeping the Chinese busy as well.)
And this returns me to Monday's blog about France's announcement that it intends to weaponize space with laser-carrying satellite weapons systems. Many people pointed out that such things have probably been up there a long long time. And as I also pointed out in Monday's blog, the presence of x-ray or gamma-ray space-based laser systems could give an offensive capability to whomever would put them up there. I also pointed out that the discovery of the Mossbauer effect during President Reagan's "Star Wars" or "Strategic Defense Initiative" made x-ray and gamma-ray lasers more than a one-shot affair, but made such systems practical, in that they could be used over and over again. Additionally, x-rays and gamma rays are not optically visible, and hence, if one wanted to "cook" are region of already dry forest and start a forest fire, such systems would be an appropriate choice. Of course, there are problems with this high octane scenario, not the least of which is that such systems would ionize a column of the atmosphere, and this could be visible to the naked eye, yet no such reports have come out of Russia (unlike reports associated with some of the fires in California). Weighing against that view is the remoteness of the region, and the relative lack of humans with cameras who might happen to see and record such a thing. Such systems might also be used to cause explosions in an ammunition plant as well, but again, we have no reports from anyone in Russia experiencing the effects of exposure to colimated x-rays or gamma rays, which could be fatal (though as the explosion article notes, there was apparently one fatality, and we're given no information as to the cause of death).
In any case, from my perch on the end of the high octane speculation twig, these caveats notwithstanding, I don't think, given the geopolitical chaos in the world, that we can rule out the possibility that a fully fledged geophysical warfare might be taking place right before our eyes, especially considering the recent flurry of earthquake activity in the American southwest, some of which rendered the US base at China Lake inoperative.
See you on the flip side...