Dropping from 33,000 feet above Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed yesterday, detonating into a dark plume of smoke upon impact with a field of bloomed wheat. The second tragedy to befall Malaysia Airlines this year, following the unresolved vanishing of flight 370, dude, it was aliens.

OK, maybe it wasn't aliens. It's still too early to answer definitively.

Any rational observer will tell you, though, that it is an eerie coincidence that yet another Malaysia Airlines flight has met its catastrophic end on the world stage.

As the New York Times reports, Ukrainian and American officials are currently attributing the disaster to "a Russian-made antiaircraft missile" emanating specifically from an SA-17 missile system, also known as a Buk surface-to-air launcher, or its NATO reporting name, Grizzly. Both the Ukrainian military and Pro-Russian forces have access to Buks, according to analysts quoted in the Boston Globe. So, that's one version.

This morning an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, requested by Britain's UN Mission, will convene with the hope of initiating plans for "a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident." In the interest of helping to further a comprehensive inquiry (it was aliens), an assessment of several unofficial, alternative explanations for the MH17 crash (aliens) will be presented below.

Scenario 01: Aliens Crashed Flight MH17.

When Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 unexpectedly disappeared after leaving Kuala Lumpur last March, observers writing for the websites Forbidden Knowledge TV and Illuminati Watcher, as well as YouTube vlogger Charles Walton, all concluded that the wreckage could not be found because a massive mile-long UFO had abducted the entire plane with all of its 239 passengers. Their confidence in this theory is high, Illuminati Watcher in particular:

I followed the previous Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (exhaustively) and concluded that it must've been aliens; one of the first conspiracy theories to surface, and until we hear otherwise I'm sticking with it.

Did a UFO abduct MH370? Could a botched mass-abduction have caused the downing of flight MH17? Is it reasonable to ask this simply because both planes were owned and operated by Malaysian Airlines? Let's examine this one question at a time.

The case that MH370 was abducted centers around three tenuous pieces of evidence. First, that radar data from Flightradar24 allegedly shows an anomalous craft in the vicinity of flight MH370, that suddenly begins to move much faster than any of the other planes, and then hovers over the open ocean. Second, that massive unidentified flying objects have been reported before, most famously in the 1997 Phoenix Lights incident, but also just south of Kuala Lumpur in 1995. And, finally, that Malaysia had seen a rash of UFO sightings in the period before the disappearance of flight 370, according to UFO Hunters.

Do these facts, or factoids, credibly imply that MH370 was swallowed whole by an alien spacecraft? Opinions will vary.

What evidence could possibly exist linking these two Malaysian airline disasters together as a pair of UFO abduction cases? As Illuminati Watcher points out:

Theorists claim that there are vortex points around the globe that harness energy and the Illuminati and/or ancient aliens know how to utilize it. The Ancient Astronaut Theory claims that aliens of the past used energy vortex points to travel around the globe, or potentially make mapping points (e.g. the Pyramids of Giza).

Black Bag is proud to reveal, in an exclusive first, that a map of this energy grid and its vortex nodal points are indeed consistent with the theory that aliens were involved in both incidents:

Did a UFO emerge from a vortex nodal point in this alleged free energy grid, somehow damaging flight MH17? And, if so, was this damage premeditated or accidental?

It would be inappropriate to weigh in decisively on this issue, at least until the UN's independent investigation has gathered all of the available facts. However, the UFO scenario benefits from being the only option which could lead to a peaceful, net positive resolution of the Ukrainian conflict, if widely adopted as true.

Rational humanitarian actors should swallow their pride and immediately begin championing this theory, advocating as a consequence for greater cooperation between sovereign regional powers and renewed funding for advanced research in energy and space travel. It is a difficult version of events to endorse, admittedly, because it sounds so truly idiotic on its face.

Embarrassment can be mitigated, however, by pushing rapidly toward consensus: Aliens did this. Our old differences no longer matter. Aliens did this.

Scenario 02: A Boeing 777, Flight MH17 Was Downed in an Illuminati Ritual Linked to Rihanna's "777" Tour.

Forums run by David Icke, the man most famous for believing the planet is ruled by shape-shifting inter-dimensional lizard beings, are saying that there may be some Occult symbolism to the downing of both flights MH17 and MH370, because both planes were Boeing 777s and because 777 is a number of huge significance in the writings of Aleister Crowley.

Like-minded individuals have proposed a related symbolic relationship with Rihanna's "777" Tour, which was ostensibly so-named because it took place across seven countries, over seven days, and was comprised of seven shows.

If you need evidence more substantial than numerology to find this convincing, or to connect it to the Illuminati, then this is not the scenario for you.

Scenario 03: A "False Flag" Operation Produced the MH17 Crash, to Justify Further Military Action in Ukraine.

There is at present no concrete evidence to support this version of events, however, it can't yet be completely ruled out. As one forum member at the conspiracy theory site Above Top Secret explained it, "We are dealing with two nations perfectly capable of false flags and disinformation." Fair enough, you know?

This is a bit of a tangent, but: Don't you think that practically every other day during President Ronald Reagan's first term, Jimmy Carter would just viciously sweep everything off of his desk, and bark out something like, "God dammit! Let's tell the public about Argo. They think the Democrats were weak on Iran? Let's tell them about Argo! Fuck this shit." to the piteous wincing of friends, family and staff?

Scenario 04A: Pro-Russian Forces in Ukraine Downed MH17 in a "True Flag" Operation.

Almost immediately after Malaysia Airlines flight 17 had exploded in that wheat field, the Ukrainian government's intelligence service (the State Security Service or S.B.U.) released audio allegedly intercepted from three communications between Pro-Russian separatists and Russian military figures. The Washington Post could not confirm the authenticity of the material, nor could the New York Times, but if valid the S.B.U. audio would confirm — beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty — that flight MH17 was shot down by mistake, in a tragic fuck-up.

Not a single (presumed) Pro-Russian rebel or Russian official expresses anything but shock and distress over the downing of the civilian airliner (well, maybe excluding this guy), in the entirety of the intercepted audio:

Despite this, Ukrainian President Petro O. Poroshenk is calling the MH17 incident, "not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act," according to the Times. Appearing on Charlie Rose last night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed this perspective saying that "there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents," and that the West needed to "put Putin on notice that he has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by."

"Everything we have, and it is not much, says separatists," an unnamed senior Pentagon official — always a reliable source of convenient factoids — told the Times.

And yet, amidst all this consensus, as reported by the BBC, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema told local media today that, "The military told the president after the passenger plane had been shot down that the terrorists did not possess our Buk missile systems" — a statement that might have the most credibility here, simply because it delivers information of zero propaganda utility to NATO, the Ukrainian government, or the United States.

By weight of this contradictory evidence, the likelihood that Pro-Russian forces shot down MH17 seems only slightly more credible than the theory that aliens did it, mostly because it is already an accepted fact that the rebels exist.

Scenario 04B: The CIA and Ukrainian Intelligence Downed MH17 in a "True Flag" Operation, by Mistake, While Trying to Assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Oh, God.

Russian news agency Interfax reported that an anonymous source "who has knowledge of the events" implied that the Malaysian plane was struck by Ukrainian (or other forces) accidentally, in a botched attempt to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin was on route back to Moscow after a six-day BRIC nations summit in Brazil, on board his one jet, Board One. The source reportedly told Interfax:

I can say that Putin's plane and the Malaysian Boeing intersected at the same point and the same echelon. That was close to Warsaw on 330-m echelon at the height of 10,100 meters. The presidential jet was there at 16:21 Moscow time and the Malaysian aircraft - 15:44 Moscow time [...] The contours of the aircrafts are similar, linear dimensions are also very similar, as for the coloring, at a quite remote distance they are almost identical.

The use of a cool word like echelon makes this sound very convincing.

However, Russia Today and Gazeta.ru (a Russian online news portal) are also reporting the contradictory claim that Putin's jet does not and would not fly over the war-torn country. Their source was an also unnamed employee, this time at Vnukovo-3, the Moscow-based airport terminal self-described as "the largest center of business aviation in Russia and Eastern Europe."

If it turned out to be true, or even just plausible, this botched assassination attempt would truly be the worst case scenario. Evidence tying the disaster to such a maneuver would very likely entangle the world's last remaining Superpower — macho man Vladimir Putin — in an all out war with the loose federation of radicalized and increasingly violent states in North America, as well as their allies abroad.

These nominally united American states, hungry for Ukraine's reserves of natural gas, consumed by paranoid fringe beliefs, and anxious to maintain their prestige on the world stage, would not hesitate to fight a costly and protracted war of attrition, if its policies or goals were directly challenged.

As the UN goes forward in its comprehensive investigation, it should be attentive to the dangerous political ramifications of certain as-yet-undiscovered facts — as well as the hilarious and benign elegance of simply believing that MH17 was knocked out of the sky by space aliens.

It was aliens.

[top photos from left to right via Unknown; Kevin Mazur, WireImage; Brooks Kraft, Sygma, Corbis; Mikhail Metzel, AP]

To contact the author, email matthew.phelan@gawker.com, pgp public key.