S.D. and V.T. both sent versions of this story, and while it wasn't at the top in terms of numbers of people who sent it, I'm blogging about it because... well, because my suspicion meter is in the red zone on it, and also because it doesn't pass the smell test. It has that peculiar malodorous "there's more going on here" quality to it. Indeed, we're not being told very much about this story, but what details there are, are that that on consideration, something seems "awfully off".
Just to set all my cards on the table here, the context in which I am viewing this story is that context suggested to me by a conversation with a regular reader here - K.M. - who suggested that some sort of massive military operation was under way last April, an idea suggested by General Milley's comments on President Trump's unusual April 1, 2020 press conference, at which General Milley stressed a large deployment of US Navy and Coast Guard ships to the Carribean/Gulf of Mexico, and a large deployment of soldiers. The General then underlined the serious nature of the operation by punctuating his remarks, twice, with the words "You're not getting in; you're not getting in." At the time, most people thought this was an interdiction operation to stop human trafficking and drug running into the country being conducted by the South American drug cartels. As I've stated in previous blogs, I don't think so. The massive nature of the operation - about which we've heard precious little since - suggested to me that much more was at stake than drug interdiction. Given the nature of the rioting and looting, and now more recently, the stories of Chinese arms smuggling to this country and the apparent attempt by that country to place automatic weapons into the hands of the rioters and possibly their sponsoring organizations, I entertained the possibility that the military operation was about interdicting a much more serious threat, such as someone trying to smuggle into the country a "firecracker". The idea of smuggling in a "firecracker", perhaps component by component and then assembling it inside the target country is not a new one, as was the plot in the 1987 Pierce Brosnan movie, The Fourth Protocol.
It's in that context that I'm viewing the following story:
We'll concentrate on the second article from The Military Times. According to this article, a single Frenh S530 air-to-air missile was discovered inside a shipping container at Florida's Lakeland Linder airport, destined for Draken International, a corporation based at the airport that maintains a fleet of aircraft for - get this - the training of military pilots:
Members of the 6th EOD team were called out to Lakeland Linder International Airport Friday after it was shut down in the wake of the discovery of the missile, which had been delivered to Draken International. Based at the airport, Draken has a fleet of about 150 former military aircraft it contracts out to help train current military pilots.
“Our EOD team went out and secured the missile,” Air Force 1st Lt. Brandon Hanner, a spokesman for the 6th Air Refueling Wing, told Military Times. “It was live, but unarmed.”
Hanner said he was told the missile was “like having a gun with bullet in chamber, but on safety. Someone would have to arm the missile to fire it.”
Draken officials tell Military Times that “in the process of evaluating shipments to Draken International’s Lakeland facility” its team “discovered an object with questionable markings indicating it may be explosive.”
Now, according to the article, the discovery was made by Draken International itself, which - again, according to the article - noticed suspicious markings on the container housing the missile that indicated it might be explosive. So, several questions occur:
(1) Who sent the missile?
(2) What was the country of origin for the shipment?
(3) Who at the Lakeland Airport, or for that matter, Draken International, was it destined for?
(4) Was Draken International the intended "patsy" for the shipment?
(5) Why was only one missile sent?
(6) Why was it a French missile?
(7) Why is no information forthcoming about how a piece of French ordnance disappeared from French inventories and showed up in Florida?
(8) Why is no information forthcoming from French authorities reporting if the missile was stolen from their inventories, or if the missile was sold as part of a shipment to some other country?
(9) How many other such shipments might have gone undetected? Or was this shipment a one-off?
As one can imagine, I have some high octane speculations to suggest here. Assuming that the shipment was a one-off, and that only one such air-to-air missile was shipped (and discovered), it suggests that an operation was being planned to perhaps modify some aircraft to carry, and fire, the missile at an air target. If so, then this would imply a cell or small group of people able to modify an aircraft to carry the missile, and expertise to know how to arm and fire it. Not impossible, but a tall order, because that implies a high degree of technical, and intelligence, expertise, financing, and most importantly, personnel in place to conduct such an operation. Other possibilities emerge as variants on the scenario: (1) modification of the missile for air-to-surface, or surface-to-air, or surface-to-surface use; (2) use of the components of the missile for other purposes, e.g., use of the warhead, use of the guidance and sensing components, use of the rocket engine, for other purposes. Again, both variants require technical expertise, an intelligence matrix or network inside this country to organize such an operation, financial backing, and again, a personnel roster able to perform these tasks.
The bottom line here is that what little we're being told about this story is disturbing enough, especially in the context of covert warfare taking place, and especially in the context of the earlier military and naval operations being conducted last April according to General Milley's own statements at the April 1, 2020 presidential press conference. Rest assured, the authorities probably already know much more than they're telling us, and that they've already contacted the French government to determine the answers to questions 6-9 above.
See you on the flip side...