Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Aviation Update

Re MH17, the whole black box transfer thing was bizarre, almost something one would see in a James Bond movie where thugs hand over the boxes to the third world government rep...

According to a Kiev paper (if it can be believed), part of the deal was that Malaysian officials would give the boxes to an entity that Russia favored:
As part of the deal brokered by Borodai and a Malaysia delegation that included at least one member of the country's national security council, Malaysia must in turn hand over the black boxes to aviation experts favored by Russia to examine them.
Where is Steven Segal when ya need him? 

Meanwhile, the bodies are being sent somewhere in non-rebel Ukraine for identification.  No word on whether there will be autopsies to check for explosive residue and foreign objects common to missiles, which seems a necessary part of any investigation.  Then again, this isn't anything close to any usual investigation.

The US plans to release data supporting its missile theory sometime today, which will probably line up with summary views of some of the aircraft parts that seem consistent with missile damage.  The FDR/CVR probably won't show anything but a sudden loss of data anyway.  Everybody knows this was a missile. 

God be with those poor families having to go through this nightmare.


Further south in another war zone, word is out this morning that Delta has canceled all flights in and out of Tel Aviv Ben Gurion due a a HAMAS rocket that landed nearby.  US Airways also canceled today's flight.  And United as well.  Not surprising considering what happened in Ukraine, but also a huge victory for the terrorists.  Keeping commercial US flights--and the cargo they carry--out of Tel Aviv is both an economic and symbolic victory that can put pressure on Bibi's government.  No doubt they will try to land a few more rockets there if they can after such a swift retreat.    

BOTH WAYS   7/23/14

Is it just a simple public safety reason that compelled airlines and now FAA to ban commercial air carrier operations into Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv or something more?   Impossible to say.   Seems the decision as to whether to fly or not could have been made by the airlines.   Having it made by the government brings into play politics.

For instance, the interesting part of today's State Dept press conference was the spoxgirl's reaction to questions about it the ban.  She was pre-emptively defensive, lecturing reporters that there were no American tanks in Baghdad they were entitled to their opinions but not their own facts.   Her main talking point was that the ban would end should Israel agree to a cease-fire.

When pressed by Fox for a comment about Senator Cruz' allegation that it was 'economic blackmail' the spoxgirl mocked Cruz and urged him to check the facts, which are basically unknowable without access to internal inter-agency deliberations.

One could speculate that the administration saw and opening and took it, ie, they realized they could justify the ban due to the HAMAS rocket (despite Iron Dome), knowing it would hurt Israel in the pocketbook and possible given them leverage into forcing a cease fire.  They've been running cover on Operation Sharp Edge (or whatever its called) for weeks, puppeting the line about Israel's right to self defense while simultaneously trying to appease angry Palestinians with weasel talk in the process.  But John Kerry's alleged faux pax on Fox, where he complained about "a helluva pinpoint operation", ie, that's what was agreed to between the two, strongly suggests this ban is a retaliation.  At least one could speculate as much.    

GOOD GRIEF 7/24/14

Stories abound that the missing Algerian MD-83 has been found crashed, yet several observers are not convinced. The search resumes at first light.   There was weather in the area and reports are that the aircraft deviated, but without more info its pointless to speculate.  The area it supposedly crashed in is another war zone, this time with AQIM fighters.

As to the Israel-FAA flight ban, yet another brouhaha.  The president was asked about the safety of the area today by a CNBC reporter and proceeded to immediately defend himself over the political angle without even being attacked.   The State Dept admitted today that the decision was inter-agency, meaning it could have been political.  But it's impossible to prove.   Netanyahu was reportedly outraged, so Cruz has that going for him.   It seems to be one of those events where all parties can spin a political rationale and their opponents can't prove them wrong.

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