Here's another MH17 theory to add to the growing pile -- and this one's a doozy. It comes to us via a remarkable character: Igor Strelkov (real name: Igor Gurkin), a Russian commander of the separatist movement.
We've been reading a lot about this fellow in recent days. He does seem to be a classic "eternal warrior" type -- a born fighter, not too dissimilar from many guys in our own military. This profile
by David Remnik is vivid and worth reading.
As you read, please keep in mind the fact that Remnik is an obvious propagandist. How obvious is he? Consider:
What’s far more certain is that Vladimir Putin, acting out of resentment and fury toward the West and the leaders in Kiev, has fanned a kind of prolonged political frenzy, both in Russia and among his confederates in Ukraine, that serves his immediate political needs but that he can no longer easily calibrate and control.
Classic mirror imaging, this. As we've noted in previous posts, Putin's statements have been surprisingly calm and statesmanlike, while the western media has engaged in hysterical misrepresentations.
Remnik himself exemplifies this legacy of deceit when he refers to Putin's "defiant annexation" of Crimea. Tellingly, Remnik never informs his readers that the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly
to return to their traditional status as part of Russia. Why would the Crimeans want any part of the madness in Kiev?
Let's return to Strelkov. As mentioned above, he has joined the ranks of MH17 conspiracy theorists -- and for sheer wildness, his scenario
tops 'em all:
A top pro-Russia rebel commander in eastern Ukraine has given a bizarre version of events surrounding the Malaysian jetliner crash — suggesting many of the victims may have died days before the plane took off.
The pro-rebel website Russkaya Vesna on Friday quoted Igor Girkin as saying he was told by people at the crash site that "a significant number of the bodies weren't fresh," adding that he was told they were drained of blood and reeked of decomposition.
The AP report from which this bit was taken does not mention an obvious fictional parallel. The scenario that Strelkov has outlined precisely matches one dramatized in an episode of the BBC series Sherlock
. I'm talking about the modern-day update of the Conan Doyle stories, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
In a second season episode titled "A Scandal in Belgravia," Sherlock accidentally foils a scheme put together by his brother Mycroft, who works for MI6. The British agency has learned, via an "inside" man, that terrorists plan to take down an airliner. Rather than foil the plot and thus blow the cover of their mole, the Brits decide to fake an airline disaster, using an airliner filled with corpses.
Mycroft's plan involves flying the jet by remote control to a certain location, at which point it is to be blown up by the terrorist's bomb. The bad guys would have no way of knowing that the victims were already dead.
The memorable finale of that episode takes place inside the cadaver-filled jet, waiting for take-off. That take-off never occurs, because Sherlock -- his head uncharacteristically turned by a pretty face -- has foolishly let the bad guys know what he knows. (He makes up for this blunder by the episode's end.)
The first, most obvious question: Is there any possibility -- any at all -- that Strelkov's outlandish scenario has a basis in truth?
If he is
telling the truth, then should we presume that the writers of Sherlock
somehow got wind of a tactic actually employed by the spook community?
If he is not
telling the truth, then should we presume that Strelkov cribbed his theory from the BBC series?
The Russians have long been big fans of Sherlock Holmes. They have made their own Holmes movies, which you may be able to find online. However, I don't know if the current BBC incarnation has a following in Russia.
(Note to the 9/11 knuckleheads: Don't try it. If you give me even the slightest reason to suspect that you're headed in that direction, your comment will be deleted on sight.)