Russian spy plane flies over Boston area

Alex Jafarzadeh looked up this morning and saw an odd jet with unusual markings flying overhead. He looked it up on one of those flight-tracker flights and, sure enough, it was a Russian military Tupolev-154. It headed northeast over Taunton, Brockton and Randolph before heading northwest over Boston Harbor and then heading south over Dorchester and Mattapan.

Don't worry, we weren't about to get our hair mussed or anything. In fact, there were Americans on the plane, which was conducting a surveillance flight under a 1992 treaty that opens each country's skies to the other. Of course, this being 2017, the Russians did a little trolling with the current series of flights.

Photo of the plane, by Mark Garfinkel, taken from South Boston.

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        Comments

        Based On That Flight Path.....

        They could easily see Mike Eruzione's house in Winthrop and Jack O'Callahan's house in Charlestown.

        Sorry, old man here for whom Miracle On Ice is 1B to the 2004 Red Sox's 1A in terms of my favorite sports moments of all time.

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        Gathering information

        They're just gathering information for The Donald on our hellhole, since he doesn't listen to our intelligence services.

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        So that means I should not be

        By on

        So that means I should not be warming up the AA guns while shouting WOLVERINES!!!!?

        Oops.

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        Classic movie from Ronald Reagan's first term

        By on

        I watched it at a theatre in Woburn, and when the line "that's because you're dealing with Americans, man" was uttered the place erupted in cheers.

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        It may be under Trump, but it

        By on

        It may be under Trump, but it is thanks to a long series of presidents before him. Thanks to them, Trump is the one in charge when we can no longer kick the can further down the road.

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        Wut?

        What situation demands that we go to war? North Korea has nukes but unless Trump attacks them they aren't about to attack anyone else -- nukes or not, the country will be quickly overtaken should they launch an attack and they know it. They want nukes only in so far as it gives them protection from a preemptive attack. (Which people in US have been proposing for decades.)

        War is not enviable unless Trump thinks it's the only way to salvage his approval rating and/or become the dictator he longs to be.

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        It is a nation led by a mad

        By on

        It is a nation led by a mad man that is on the cusp of being able to target American cities.

        The equation is dire because of the past 25 years of presidents. This is as close to a major war we have been since Cuba.

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        War

        It is a nation led by a mad man that is on the cusp of being able to target American cities.

        Which country are you talking about? Of the two, Trump is the one who seems more unhinged.

        Kim Jong Un will be killed within hours if he actually starts a war. He knows this. North Korea can kill a lot of people with their few nukes but they'll never be able to overthrow any other nation.

        But if Kim Jong Un thinks the US is about to launch a strike then he'll launch whatever he's got against his neighbors in hopes of taking as many people with him.

        If anyone starts a war, it's going to be Trump. Kim Jong Un is a threat but it's unlikely he's going strike first unless Trump threatens him into doing so. The other superpowers (China, etc) would rather trade than fight, at least with the US.

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        Are you actually justifying

        By on

        Are you actually justifying the fact that we have allowed NK to get nukes?

        A first strike to remove the nukes is entirely possible at this point and dare I say it rational. Especially before the program is mature. The past 25 years of presidents have given us these wonderful options.

        Allowing NK to target American cities is unacceptable.

        Aint it grand?

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        Not so easy

        Don't you think if it was as simple as launching a few scud missiles it would have already happened? There are no easy answers now and there wasn't easy answers for Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, or Reagan.

        The only thing worse then the North Korean policy for the past 30 years would be if we were to actually go to war. We're not beyond the point in which more lives would be lost compared to those saved.

        The right policy is a level head, not tweeting threats like some idiot high school thug.

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        Eliminating the NK nuclear

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        Eliminating the NK nuclear capacity could be quite readily done with relatively low risk (to the men flying the mission)

        The consequences of that action are the true fear.

        The door to this option is rapidly closing.

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        Not many agree

        While there's a range of opinions, every article I've read on the subject (which is many) refutes the low risk, high reward theory. If either country attempts to launch an attack, tens or hundreds of thousands will be killed. That's not morally justifiable.

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        But the equation only gets

        By on

        But the equation only gets worse as you wait. What happens when NK can nuke Tokyo? Or worse LA?

        The risk is as low as it will ever be and we have the capacity to achieve the goal.

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        Call me a peacenik

        I'm not willing to kill masses of people unless there is absolutely no choice and even if North Korea gains the ability to launch an attack that is not grounds to strike them first. With that logic the cold war would have turned hot.

        If North Korea actually launches an attack against another country (not just firing into the water), I would be willing to go to war. But I will never support preemptive war. I would rather be killed than kill an innocent man.

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        NK is and has always been the

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        NK is and has always been the bad actor spurred on by the communists in the USSR and China.

        NK is hardly innocent. NK launched the war because SK was weak.

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        Irrelevant

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        It's not up to the US government but rather the UN as a whole to deal with such. The US government's history of attempted and even successful regime change has been disastrous.

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        lol.

        By on

        lol.

        The US should not pursue regime change, just separation of the regime from their nukes.

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        Sure, the UN has such a stella record

        By on

        I don't believe the U.S should continue being the world's policeman like we've been in the post WW2 era. Unfortunately, our choices are:

        1) The U.S. , U.S./NATO, U.S./Australia/N.Z./U.S./ Asian allies

        2) People's Republic of China (communist/fascist mainland China)

        3) Russian Federation

        Our rich Euro and Asian allies have shown no desire to pick up any slack and prefer the U.S. do the heavy lifting, while they take credit when things go ok, and blame the U.S. when they don't, all the while pretending they're a 'superpower' while spending tiny amounts of GDP on defense.

        Something has to give. This shit can't go on forever....or can it?

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        Bad Actor

        Are you talking about Reagan?

        That said, you probably still *believe* the whole "yellowcake" story as justification for invading Iraq and killing hundreds of thousands of people as a "good actor".

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        Bullshit

        I'll cite NBC News (credited to the AP, would they lie?) to call your statement false:

        http://www.nbcnews.com/id/25546334/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/secr...

        " The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

        The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions."

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        Yes, you've given us bullshit

        According to Snopes:

        False
        . . .
        The yellowcake removed from Iraq in 2008 was material that had long since been identified, documented, and stored in sealed containers under the supervision of U.N. inspectors. It was not a “secret” cache that was recently “discovered” by the U.S, nor had the yellowcake been purchased by Iraq in the years immediately preceding the 2003 invasion. The uranium was the remnants of decades-old nuclear reactor projects that had put out of commission many years earlier: One reactor at Al Tuwaitha was bombed by Israel in 1981, and another was bombed and disabled during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Moreover, the fact that the yellowcake had been in Iraq since before the 1991 Gulf War was plainly stated in the Associated Press article cited in the example above
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        Mutually assured destruction

        By on

        is actually still a thing. No country in their right minds is going to launch a nuclear weapon at the US. We have over 5000 warheads, and while yeah, a sleeping military officer has to wake up and dust off an old floppy disk and boot up an Apple IIE to launch most of them, we can still send the earth spiraling into the sun in relatively short order.
        All the Sabre Rattling is just that. People are freaking out over nothing. Developing nukes is basically saying to the rest of the world "STAY OUT OF OUR BUSINESS" which to be honest, I cannot argue with. The US, China, and Russia all trounce around the globe installing governments and pushing people around for their resources and it is total bullshit. I do not support NK or their crazy government but if you are gonna isolate yourself like they have, keeping a few nukes pointed at the sky is a good way to keep the rest of the world's bullies off your back. I can't fault them there....

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        So we are willingly letting

        By on

        So we are willingly letting another country into the MAD game?

        Talk about the height of foolishness.

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        Pretty much

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        Every country with nukes gets in the club. The rub is that once you are in the club, others leave you alone.
        Why do you think there is such a push by the Iranians to develop nuclear technology? THEY WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE. They want to be self sufficient, they want to be free of outside influence. You can agree or disagree with their culture. If China was installing a puppet gov't in the US (or COUGH Russia COUGH), limiting how many children we could have, whittling down our endless choices in political parties to ONE (that right folks we are just barely doing better than an authoritarian one party system), and shutting down all independent media outlets that weren't owned by the state, you'd be totally cool with that right? Of course not.So if the only way to prevent China from doing just that is to have an array of weapons waiting to defend ourselves then why WOULDN'T a country pursue that?

        The alternative to "letting" North Korea into the MAD club as you put it (news flash, they are already there), is war, possible ground invasion, or use of a ton of far reaching firepower, resulting in a boatload of death and destruction. Mind you, all these things cost INORDINATE amounts of money. Tax money.

        Given the options I'd rather just point nukes at each other for the rest of time.
        This is all a distraction. All warmongering in the nuclear age is.

        People like you are, frankly, cowards scared of their own shadows. You personally cannot stop any of this from happening, nor can I. A meteor could strike Boston tomorrow and we'd all be fried to death, no axis of evil aggression needed. Lets just try to enjoy ourselves and whistle past the graveyard shall we?

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        "THEY WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE"

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        "THEY WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE"

        It is too bad they did not feel that way when the started this war.

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        Ask any elementary school teacher

        BUT THEY STARTED IT is rarely an acceptable excuse for aggression.

        Then again, we are dealing with people who received very low marks for behavior in kindergarten.

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        LOL, please...

        "BUT THEY STARTED IT is rarely an acceptable excuse for aggression."

        IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/RZKugVA.jpg)

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        What could possibly go wrong?

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        1.) We don't know where all the weapons are. They could be buried deep in the mountains or set up to be moved around..

        2.) How do you destroy a nuclear facility without releasing large amounts of radiation? Do we write off South Korea?

        3.) Even if they can't really retaliate against us, North Korea has the capability to deliver poison gas to Seoul and Tokyo.

        4.) North Korea has a close alliance with China. If the "first strike" leads to casualties in
        China itself, they may join in on North Korea's side. There are 2-3 million people in
        the area around Dandong, the largest border city.

        That presidents from Nixon on found themselves paralyzed by the problem of Korea speaks to their assessment of it's difficulty. Trump's outburst may be emotionally satisfying and feel like "cutting the Gordian Knot", but it could lead to a much worse situation.

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        Your comment hits on valid points.

        1.) We don't know where all the weapons are. They could be buried deep in the mountains or set up to be moved around..

        This isn't a problem with ICBM. The trajectories are easily calculated, knowing the target, they are not really a problem, ironically, the longer the distance, the easier it is to calculate the flight path. Real question is if he's really saying "I'm gonna hit Guam" does he mean it? I say it's simple...hit every missile out of DPRK. Over the ocean to avoid land based casualties. All missiles. Every shot. This sends the message that not only can we do it, we will do it. It also assures our allies that we can do it and will do it.
        It also deprives their engineers of any telemetry they might gain.

        2.) How do you destroy a nuclear facility without releasing large amounts of radiation? Do we write off South Korea?

        You don't and you don't. They need missiles. Without a delivery system, they're hamstrung. Ox carts? Without missiles, the nukes are useless. The ROKs are tough, will fight back on any conventional attack. Don't sell them short.

        3.) Even if they can't really retaliate against us, North Korea has the capability to deliver poison gas to Seoul and Tokyo.

        Um...yes. Probably to some parts of Seoul, definitely not Tokyo. Poison gas is a game changer, like nukes. It means the destruction of the political base of the north. Also, what if the wind, a fickle thing, shifts? Stuff blows north, maybe? There's a reason no one used it in WWll.

        4.) North Korea has a close alliance with China. If the "first strike" leads to casualties in
        China itself, they may join in on North Korea's side. There are 2-3 million people in
        the area around Dandong, the largest border city.

        China is definitely NOT going to jump in. They will preserve DPRK as a communist system, we can't stop that, but that can be done by, um, selectively selecting the new ruler of the country, say maybe a general that's willing to put it all on the line. Then something strange happens, like US suddenly causes (pays for) a million tons of rice to show up in ROK for shipment north.
        A bargain. Oh, southern Koreans intermingle with north Koreans...interesting conversations happen...

        That presidents from Nixon on found themselves paralyzed by the problem of Korea speaks to their assessment of it's difficulty. Trump's outburst may be emotionally satisfying and feel like "cutting the Gordian Knot", but it could lead to a much worse situation.

        Or, kicking the can down the road just ended. Kim will either shut up, fire off some non-nuke missiles to Guam (I'm betting that doesn't happen) or get pneumonia.

        As I (and Douglas Adams) say...don't panic.

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        Fatboy can kill 25 million

        By on

        Fatboy can kill 25 million South Koreans within an hour with all the conventional artillery he has aimed at their country. His arsenal of 60+ nukes can hit every major city in Japan and the coastal megalopolises of China. He also has biological and chemical weapons.

        North Korea has been killing and kidnapping foreign citizens abroad, has sunk RoK ships, and generally not given a damn about anything for 20+ years.

        You are seriously deluded if you think North Korea is a rational regime. The state has turned Dear Leader into a demi-god and purged any with even the slightest hint of disloyalty. You have an unhinged madman pointing a gun at the free world attempting to extort billions of dollars who now has, or soon will, the ability to destroy any global population center if his extortion demands aren't met. Not taking that capability or the threat seriously would be criminally negligent.

        Remember this country has starved its own people to death in pursuit of such weapons and capabilities. They don't give a damn about anything except power. Allowing them to obtain it is a very bad idea.

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        This is BS. Take a look at a

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        This is BS. Take a look at a map of NK arty range and Seoul. He could target rich Chinese in the northern suburbs but most arty could not reach.

        Now lets ignore the physical capacity and consider the strategic one. If NK uses arty to bomb Seoul every gun will be gone in a day or two. Now instead of using those guns to target military assets they have killed useless civilians greatly WEAKENING their military might. Not exactly a smart move.

        This gets regurgitated all the time, but it is BS. They lack both the capacity and the scenario in which this would be feasible.

        On the nuke front he still lacks the delivery vehicles, that is why the time is NOW

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        Real Clear

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        See those words? A sign that you are about to get a propaganda washing.

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        I'm not sure what more

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        I'm not sure what more previous presidents could have done. Even if you think we should have invaded North Korea(which is way over the top) we were already stretched thin by Bush's ridiculously expensive and totally unnecessary wars.

        Now we have two crazy, self absorbed, obese trust fund brats with access to nukes. Thanks for that and the trillion dollar price tag for the Iraq war, republicans. Your last words will be, "Thanks Obama!" while Trump gets you killed. Delusional to the very end.

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        I would probably have started

        By on

        I would probably have started with not having Clinton and Carter give NK 4 billion and a reactor.

        Call me crazy.

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        Okay, Crazy

        By on

        Citations needed.

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        How much do you know about nukes?

        The accord calls for a consortium of nations, led by South Korea and Japan, to provide the North with two light-water nuclear reactors, designed in a manner that makes it far more difficult for the North to convert nuclear waste into atomic weapons.

        Certain types and designs are very difficult to convert to producing weapons grade plutonium. That was the point of these reactors.

        Perhaps you should study up on this deal and on the huge differences in nuclear reactor designs rather than just saying OMG CLINTON GAVE THEM NUKES!!!!!!!!1121!!!!

        I'm betting that they don't produce their own plutonium ... and are buying it, perhaps from a certain unstable state run by a dictator who supports any and all for-profit enterprise by his friends??? If they are producing plutonium, it wouldn't be with these facilities.

        A good place to start: http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-weapons

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        Don't you read anything?

        It ain't about nukes. Kim got nukes. It's about engineering. Got to make them small enough to fit on an ICBM, if you want to threaten Uncle. But, in the mean time...

        FTA " Under the accord, North Korea would agree to allow full and continuous inspections of its existing nuclear sites, freeze and then later take apart some of its most important nuclear plants and ultimately ship out of the country fuel rods that could be converted into fuel for weapons.
        But the agreement also allows North Korea to keep those rods for an unspecified number of years. This provision means that the potential that North Korea could break its agreements and quickly produce nuclear weapons will not disappear until the end of the decade."

        In other words..."OMG CLINTON GAVE THEM NUKES!!!!!!!!1121!!!!" is entirely accurate. He let them have the rods they were using for fuel.

        Don't you really know anything about nukes?

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        rediculous

        By on

        Oh, stop.

        . This particular instance may be benign but the stench of war is in the air, no pun intended.

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        Putin is just checking in on

        By on

        Putin is just checking in on his favorite employee. He gives Trump very generous PTO. Is that 50 days at golf courses for Trump in just 7 months I believe?

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        Thanks.

        By on

        Thanks, Adam, for reporting the fact that the flight was due to an agreement with Russia. It's all too common for some panic-inducing news to be reported without this sort of disclaimer.

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        Russian spy plane flights over US "most valuable tool" - Hillary

        By on

        While I appreciate President Trump's bi-partisanship, he may want to rethink this program that was signed in 1992 during the Bill Clinton administration and called a "most valuable tool" by Hillary Clinton, on video. Those facts were dutifully left out of all media today. Really shameless for the media to use this longstanding, peaceful program (originally proposed by President Eisenhower when Trump was a child) to further the fake Trump/Russia meme.

        Adding to the hype, the media claiming today that large jets normally fly at 35,000 feet, so a low-flying jet near Boston was a "shock" to the city, notwithstanding the busy international airport within the city. This must come as a surprise to all of the groups organized against low flying jets in East Boston, South Boston, Milton, Hull and the Irish crowd and boaters near Castle Island who can literally see and wave to the pilots on Aer Lingus. A non-story, going on for decades, but designed by a desperate media to hurt Trump. Pathetic.

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        Ya

        Some places have been reporting it accurately. Funny it hasn't been reported in the last eight years or so...

        The program is obsolete. It's a gimmick. Try flying over Lompoc or China Lake or whatever...

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        Wait

        By on

        In 1992 Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas. George H.W. Bush was President.

        At least you were closer to being on topic. Good job.

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