Beyond the Cusp

March 17, 2014

Random Thoughts Roundup

Let’s start with the mysterious disappearing Malaysian Boeing 777-200ER flight number 370 which dropped off of radar by turning off the transponder beacon and disappeared leaving no trace, or at least none yet discovered despite a massive search. The debate initially was had the aircraft crashed into the seas or been blown into a million small bits at 35,000 feet. Then the question was about whether or not it had been hijacked and the introduction of two Iranian men who boarded the flight using stolen passports and identifications. Now this story has birthed a plethora of different possible scenarios even to include the theory that the plane was hijacked or diverted with the cooperation of the pilot and co-pilot and taken to some location where it may be utilized in a future terror attack. This would leave two huge questions; who stole it and what are they going to do with the over two-hundred passengers and crew that came along with the purloined aircraft. The theory gaining the most credence here has been that the plane was indeed diverted and taken by some terrorist sponsors with ulterior motives all of which are not necessarily terrorist acts. The fear is the terror sponsors who arranged the theft of a plane full of innocent people had more than the future use of it in some form of terror attack and that entity was Iran. The fact that the plane was initially reported to have turned off its transponder but that its engines had continued to search for a Boeing satellite to which it could download flight engine characteristics for use in reporting any malfunction or necessary maintenance for four hours after the plane dropped from flight leads one to pretty much rule out it having experienced a catastrophic malfunction or been destroyed by a terrorist bombing. The latest reports now claim that the plane had continued to fly for approximately seven hours after it dropped from identifiable view and that it initially took one of two regularly utilized flight trajectories one of which would have taken it over Thailand and the other across India. The flight path that would lead to the Bay of Bengal, then aiming for Iran becomes a logical target and seven hours would have placed the plane likely somewhere in or around southeastern Iran. The Iranians, other than being the world’s leading terror sponsoring nation, likely would love to have a couple of modern Boeing engines for reverse-engineering along with the avionics systems and other advanced guidance, control and possibly even the entertainment systems. Then, the utilization of a modern passenger airliner for delivering possibly an EMP or other nuclear device would enable the Iranians to use virtually any size weapon and not need to engineer a missile deployable miniaturized warhead. With an entire Boeing 777-200ER airliner at their disposal, the Iranians could place virtually anything one could dream up onboard and very likely escape most detection systems simply by assigning it a believable or actual transponder sequence and have the aircraft fly along recognized and heavily trafficked flight paths eventually reaching anywhere on the planet after making at most three fueling stops. Reaching the heartlands of the United States would only require a flight from Iran to Libya for the first refueling stop, then flying on to Venezuela for the second fueling stop, and finally straight north across the heartlands of the United States detonating an EMP device at 35,000 ft. over St. Louis fulfilling one of Iran’s main chants at protests, “Death to America.”


Another hot issue is the Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula, Russian troops and Russian President Putin, or as we like to refer to him, Vlad the Invader. There have been rumored reports that Russian troops attempted to enter a region that lies just off the northeast coast of Crimea called the Arabat Spit. This reputed encroachment comes on the same day as the vote by the citizens of Crimea as to whether they desire to remain as part of the Ukraine or if they prefer to be returned to Russian rule. There will be many commentators posturing and posing questions and scenarios no matter what the reported outcome of the vote. What I may think the citizens of the Crimea should decide is irrelevant but what is relevant is who is counting the votes. Does anybody honestly believe a reported outcome of a vote where Vlad the Invader is responsible for counting the votes and validating the totals, honestly? After all, it was a likely hero of Vlad the Invader, Joseph Stalin who said, “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” With the recent past of Russian elections as an indicator, can anybody honestly have any faith when the person who counted the votes granting Vladimir Putin back-to-back victories in elections for Russian President followed by a win for not only Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister, but his able and helpful acolyte and flunky Dmitry Medvedev as Presidential Place Holder who stepped aside at the next election which, of course, Vladimir Putin won back the Presidency. Odds are the world will never know the actual results of the vote from the Crimea and that may be as good as it gets as anything other than their opting for Russian rule would only increase the probability of open warfare breaking out. Don’t even expect that taking the Crimean Peninsula will be the end of this crisis as one can pretty much bet the farm that Vlad the Invader is not yet finished invading. Part of the proof for this conjecture leads to another Ukraine news story.


In Kiev on Sunday, Zalman Hetzklovich and his wife, an Israeli couple, were walking in Independence Square. The initial thought has to be, what were they thinking? As if there is not sufficient excitement and danger available in some places in Israel such as Sderot when the Gaza rockets are launching as they have over one-hundred times just this past week, this couple decided to vacation in Kiev in the Ukraine during a Russian invasion in progress? Well, they got their excitement and then some. The Hetzkloviches were set upon by eight men wearing Ukrainian uniforms and carrying clubs who leapt from a van. The couple disobeyed the call for them to stop reportedly said in Russian and ran jumping into a taxi to make their escape. As reported by Zalman Hetzklovich “I understood that if I didn’t run at that moment it would be the end of us. I stopped a taxi and got in with my wife, asking the driver to get us out of there. The attackers surrounded the car and demanded the driver stop. The driver stepped on the gas and knocked over the rioters, who succeeded in damaging one side of the cab. The driver was able to drive one block away until he reached a traffic jam; we saw the pursuers were back, and had gotten into their car, starting to chase after us.”


The Hetzkloviches were able to flee from the taxi and made it to a nearby synagogue where they took refuge. Chairman of the Kiev Hatzala emergency rescue organization, Rabbi Hillel Cohen, took the initiative and notified the authorities of the situation and then made arrangements to fly the couple back to Israel Sunday night. Rabbi Cohen reported that the authorities “apparently the government in Ukraine is dealing with more pressing problems at the moment.” Rabbi Cohen himself had just been released from the hospital Saturday after recovering from a stabbing wound in his leg he received as he was attacked on Thursday night by an anti-Semitic mob. One interesting anecdote about the situation the Rabbi found himself a victim of was that the medical responders who treated his wounded leg before transporting him to the hospital were volunteers whom had been trained only two weeks ago by the organization Rabbi Cohen runs, the Hatzalah Kiev, an aid organization which provides medical assistance and training as well as other community services using volunteers. There have been numerous reports of gangs of anti-Semites accosting and assaulting Jews in Kiev and in other locations within the Ukraine. Some of these mobs have been reported to be speaking Russian though there have also been reports of uber-nationalists who were among the rebels who recently aided in the overthrow of the Russian backed governance. It is thought that the Russian agitators have chosen to victimize the Jews in order to instigate further violence and force general unrest. There was a report of a synagogue being firebombed and another synagogue in the Crimea was reportedly defaced. This is not completely unexpected as acts of anti-Semitism have been on the increase in the Ukraine just as they have all across Europe and even in the Americas. Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz reported in a recent interview that many Jews he had spoken with have expressed a desire to leave the Ukraine and take up residence in Israel. One cannot blame them as such a move would apparently place them in a safer environment. Let us all hope that the crisis in the Crimea and the Ukraine does not escalate any further thus making it possible for a more significant and violent confrontation to spread even further, a distinct possibility if world history is any indicator.


Beyond the Cusp


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