It’s a bizarre theory. Twenty Chinese nationals working on a new super-secret stealth technology board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and the plane is never seen again. Ermagod, did Chinese nationals hijack Flight 370?!
Now, sure, you’d expect such a theory from a conspiracy nut (we reported on some of the more popular theories the other day), you wouldn’t expect it to come from official Russian state media.
But there it was on The Voice Russia, a little over a week ago.
“Malaysian Airlines flight 370 was deliberately targeted for hijacking, according to Captain Field McConnell, a retired Delta Airlines pilot and a retired United States Air Force F4 and F16 fighter pilot,” The Voice of Russia breathlessly reported. “Capt. McConnell cites industrial espionage for a cutting edge military technology as the reason behind the airliner’s disappearance. ‘There were 20 Chinese software engineers in the aircraft, riding as passengers…”
Using seemingly-credible foreign sources to promote the preferred propaganda of the day, while Russian media simply “reports” what the foreigners are alleging, was a Soviet specialty back in the day.
“The technology they were working on was a way to make stealthy a non-stealth aircraft,” McConnell added. “In other words, they could take an aircraft that does not have a stealth capability [and make it stealth].”
The thing you have to remember about “state media” anywhere is that no story runs without a reason. There is a political reason for every story: It either has to show Russia in a good light, or Russia’s adversaries in a bad one. And it seems Russia has decided that China is now its adversary.
Interestingly, the story appeared on March 17, 2014. Two days before, on March 15, the United Nations Security Council voted on a draft resolution about Crimea that Russia vetoed, and on which China abstained. China’s abstention was considered a serious blow against Russia.
Two days later, the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin is suggesting that Chinese nationals basically hijacked Flight 370 on behalf of, not “terrorists,” but a “rogue state.”
You do the math.
The Voice of Russia was formerly Radio Moscow, the infamous Soviet propaganda organ. This past December, Russian President Vladimir Putin folded Voice of Russia and print publication RIA Novosti into one entity, Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today).
Rossiya Segodnya is now run by the head of Kremlin propaganda, Dmitry Kiselyov, who recently spoke about Russia’s ability to turn the United States into “radioactive ash.” Last year, Kiselyov also made headlines when he suggested that the hearts of gay car accident victims be burned in order to prevent gays from becoming organ donors.
The Malaysia Air “China did it!” conspiracy theory is particularly galling since two-thirds of the 227 passengers on the plane are (were) Chinese. China has been increasingly incensed over Malaysia’s handling of the search for Flight 370. So for the Russian government to, in essence, blame China for the likely deaths of 150 of its own citizens, is pretty cheeky. And it suggests that tempers might be running hot of late in the Kremlin.