Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did This Russian Spy Mastermind MH370 High-Tech Hijack?

Jonathan Vankin

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have been the victim of a technically sophisticated Russian plot, masterminded by a shadowy Russian spy who controls Russia's loyalist rebel forces inside Ukraine -- and who has also been named a suspect in the brazen shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 just three months after Flight MH370 mysteriously vanished.

The elaborate and frightening scenario was put forth this week by Jeff Wise, a science writer and author of the book Extreme Fear: The Science Of Your Mind In Danger, who is also a member of The Independent Group, a loosely affiliated organization of aviation and technical experts who have been carrying out their own investigations into the Malaysia Airlines MH370 mystery since the Boeing 777 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 simply disappeared into thin air.

Wise was also featured in the October PBS NOVA documentary Why Planes Vanish, arguing that the Malaysia Airlines plane was commandeered in a high-tech hijacking.

The full details of Wise's new theory, a scenario he has named "The Spoof" -- because the possible hijackers would have needed to falsify, or "spoof," satellite data from the Malaysia Airlines plane -- can be read in a lengthy, six-part article on Wise's blog at this link.

While his case for Russian involvement in a high-tech hijacking is far too complex to fully explain in this space, the bottom line is that Wise believes that Flight MH370 may have been deliberately flown to Russia in a plot potentially masterminded by Igor Strelkov -- a Moscow native whose real name is Igor Girkin.

— Jeff Wise (@ManvBrain) December 2, 2014

The Times describes the mysterious Strelkov as "an ultranationalist and reactionary... with a contempt for the 'decadent' West, while yearning for the re-establishment of a czarist empire."

Estimates of Strelkov's age range from early 40s to mid 50s and he is said to be veteran of both the Soviet Union's and Russia's armed forces, as well as an intelligence agent.

Earlier this year, Strelkov, pictured above, is said to have assumed control of the Russia-backed rebel forces in the eastern Ukraine region of Donetsk, and declared himself "Minister of Defense" for the so-called Donestk People's Republic.

Just hours after the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Strelkov posted a social media message which was quickly deleted, stating, "We did warn you -- do not fly in our sky."

Wise points out that there were two Ukranians and one Russian national aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, and though he says "there is no evidence that any of these men hijacked the plane," he notes that in March when Malaysia asked other governments to run background checks on their citizens who were on the plane, only Russia and Ukraine failed to do so.

He also points to the fact that on March 6, U.S. President Barack Obama enacted new economic sanctions against Russia. On March 7, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov threatened that the sanctions would "boomerang."

The following day, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished from the skies, leaving no evidence that searchers have been able to find.

Flight MH17 was blown out of the sky the next day.

According to Wise, Malaysia Airlines operated just 15 of the 19,000 Boeing 777 aircraft in the worldwide fleet. One flew Flight MH370, another flew Flight MH17. The odds of that coincidence, Wise calculates, are worse than one in a thousand.