Emergencies Ministry members gather at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region
I’m not sure what I make of the current conspiracy theories regarding the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 in the Ukraine. There are a host of them, many centering on the event being a False Flag operation; an engineered ‘Pearl Harbour’ or 9/11 type event designed to placate Vladmir Putin and Russia and act as a catalyst for war.
One of the most engaging theories so far is that MH17 and the missing MH370 from March are in fact the same plane.

Both Malaysian Airlines planes and both Boeing 777s, the hypothesis is that the vanishing MH370 was hidden in some unknown location for the passed three months, where it was being prepared for this staged ‘event’. MH370 was rebranded, re-fitted and re-marked to appear a different plane, and then sent into dangerous Ukrainian airspace to be shot out of the sky in a staged international incident that might be used to help turn the international community against Vladmir Putin and Russia. Being a writer, I do find this theory compelling – it’d make a great novel plot; whether it rings true or not is another matter.

The reason this theory has proven popular is because (1) we still don’t know what happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-370 and (2) we are instinctively mistrustful of coincidences and it does seem extraordinary that in the space of just a few months there have been two utterly astonoshing incidents involving the same airline.

On the one hand my instinctive reaction is to be doubtful of that hypothesis; it’s just too extraordinary, too fantastical. But then a commercial passenger plane with 239 people aboard disappearing from existence without trace is also extraordinary, is also fantastical – and we still don’t know for certain what happened to Flight 370 even after all these months of concerted multi-national investigation.

Crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

In terms of additional theories that this has all been a plot to set off a major conflict with Russia, I’m doubtful of that explanation, at least as far as actual war is concerned: not because I don’t think there are powers, agencies and governments logistically and ethically capable of that kind of plotting (and yes, ‘False Flag’ events are a fact of history, pre-dating events like 9/11 by centuries, even if the term itself is relatively new), but because I’m not convinced any of the nations involved are ready for a serious armed conflict on the kind of scale we’d be talking about. The notion of an armed conflict between Russia and the USA is utterly, utterly unthinkable. Even through the decades of the Cold War that direct sort of confrontation never occurred, but the conflict was limited to client states and proxy wars (and some might argue the same thing is happening in the 21st century).

I’m not sure that what just happened in the Ukraine – as horrific as it is – is on the same level as the Cuban Missile Crisis in terms of the danger of a direct confrontation between the two superpowers. It could be, however, that it is one element among many in a chain of events that may lead, given time, to a broader international conflict. And it’s this prospect that troubles me deeply, as it should also trouble everyone in the world.

Incidentally the theory that most made sense to me in the first instance was that it was a failed Zia ul-Haq style assassination attempt on Vladmir Putin by the Ukrainian militants, who might’ve mistaken the passenger plane for Putin’s own aircraft. But that suggestion seems to have evaporated very quickly after Thursday, no one giving it much credence. Another frequently cited element to the story at this stage is that dozens of intact, undamaged Malaysian passports were found amid the scene of the crash, which some believe to have been planted.

I’m not sure its unreasonable that a number of passports might survive the crash intact, given that numerous other objects – suitcases and their content, for example – have likewise been discovered intact; but the similarity to the instance of hijackers passports being discovered unscathed at the site of the World Trade Center after 9/11 no doubt prompted a number of theorists to double-take. The suspicion is understandable. In the case of the 9/11 hijackers’ passports, that convenient discovery reeked of falseness; in this Ukrainian incident, I’m not sure.

While I’m not convinced this was an orchestrated plot to incite war, it nevertheless continues to be the case – and I’ve been thinking it for a number of years now – that numerous ingredients are either in place or moving into place more and more for the advent of a major global conflict or indeed a Third World War. Whether this is due to a carefully orchestrated global conspiracy or simply due to various unfortunate elements happening to come together entirely by the impropriety of fate, the signs have become more and more worrying and urgent as the last few years have unfolded post 9/11.

Even if we completely ignore the ‘9/11 was an Inside Job designed to facilitate global conflict’ school of thought and steer clear of any reference to ‘Illuminati’ global agendas, Rothschild Zionism or similar staples of conspiracy lore, even if we purely look at the facts of the global situation today and the purely surface-level events of the passed decade-plus – the invasion and destabilization of Iraq, the outside interference in the Libyan and Syrian Civil Wars, the Financial Crisis, the creation of ISIS – it is difficult not to wonder if there has been and still is an undisclosed agenda being forwarded stage-by-stage by some powerful party or another (or always more likely – a combination of various powerful parties), that is all directed towards a major world conflict.

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A point to remember about the First and Second World Wars, as destructive as they were, is that they were both transformative events in history. The First World War in particular – which began 100 years ago this year – literally altered the map of the Middle East and can be said in fact to have created the Middle East that we have today (and many of its problematic situations). It also utterly transformed the political structure and social fabric of Europe forever.

Conflicts on that scale are transformative – socially, politically, culturally, even geographically. The vast alterations to the status quo that can be achieved through war on that scale is utterly incomparable to the scale or speed of change in ‘normal’, steady peace-time eras. In the latter, great change and political and social evolution happens very slowly, over decades or more, with populations usually resistant to any radical change. But through the melting pot of war – and in post-war environments – the situation is very different.

Could that be the underlying and hidden motivation behind some of what has been going on globally for some time now? Or was the invasion of Iraq, for example, simply a massive exercise in incompetence and ill judgement rather than a calculated misadventure?

It might be more optimistic to vote for the former – situations unfolding purely due to a mixture of social and political conditions, misjudgements and human error. But in our post-9/11, post-Iraq War (or perhaps even further back, post-Vietnam and post-Lee Harvey Oswald) collective consciousness, it is so often more instinctive to be suspicious and to distrust our global powers and institutions and to distrust the mainstream news narrative of what’s happening in the world and to suspect that there is a great deal we are not being told.

Is there a concerted program unfolding to orchestrate or incite a global conflict? Many writers and theorists believe so. Someone like David Icke has been saying so for decades, in fact. While I don’t always hold to everything Icke says, he is someone I never tire of listening to; and he has been a major, major speaker for many years now on the origins and purposes of the alleged global conspiracy and agenda (many other so-called ‘authorities’ on the matter have been less credible and less cogent).

Whether that global secret agenda exists or not is something I’m not qualified to comment on so I won’t; what I can say, however, through simple observation of global affairs is that there are now so many powder-kegs and flashpoints across the globe – more even than in the lead-up to the First World War – and any one of them could at any time set off a potentially devastating conflict.

Just this week alone we’ve had the shooting down of the Flight MH-17 over the Ukraine and the Israeli Army’s ground invasion of Gaza. Those events, though unrelated, were virtually simultaneous. In the space of a day or two we had two major international incidents, both of which could have – or may still have – even bigger, worse, repercussions.

Add to this the advent and growth of ISIS in Iraq and the threat it poses not just to Iraq, but to Syria and even Iran. The war in Syria is still going on. Earlier in the year the international community was on the brink of taking military action against President Bashar Assad in Syria; a conflict that would’ve involved Iran and had already involved a major fall-out between Russia and the US. Add to this the generally dire, medieval situation in much of Pakistan – a nation with both a cancerous spread of extremist ideologies and adherents and a nuclear weapon – and now the situation in the Ukraine, and we have an international climate that is more delicate, more dangerous, more flammable, than even the most pessimistic of forecasters would’ve predicted as little as fifteen years ago.

Fifteen years ago the world, politically speaking, seemed like such a different prospect. It’s cliched to say it, but we really are in a post-9/11 world. And frankly I miss the days when the biggest international news story was whether or not Bill Clinton got a blow-job from that highly unattractive woman behind his desk.

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