Top U.S. Air Defense Commander: Turkey’s Shootdown of Russian Jet “Had to Be PRE-PLANNED”

George Washington's picture

Lt. General Tom McInerney is an expert on handling threats from fighter jets.

McInerney served as:

  • Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) – the military agency responsible for protecting the United States and Canada from foreign jet attacks – for the Alaska region
  • Commander of the Alaskan Air Command
  • Commander of 11th Air Force in Alaska
  • Commander of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Clark Air Base, Philippines
  • Commander of the 313th Air Division, Kadena Air Base, Japan
  • Commander of 3rd Air Force, Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, England
  • Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force
  • A command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, including 407 combat missions

In his role as Norad commander for Alaska, McInerney dealt with more Russian fighter jet incursions (which he calls “bear penetrations”) than anyone else in the world.

So McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets, standard rules of engagement of foreign fighter jets, how to read radar tracks, and the other things he would need to know to form an informed opinion about the shootdown of a foreign jet.

Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn’t threatening Turkey, and that Turkey’s shoot down of the Russian jet “had to be pre-planned”, as the jet wasn’t in Turkish air space long enough for anything other than a premeditated attack to have brought it down:

McInerney is right … especially given that a U.S. official told Reuters that the Russian jet was inside of Syria when it was shot down:

The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.


But even if Turkey is right that the Russian jet was shot down over Turkey, the shootdown was still a war crime.

Specifically, as McInerney notes in the interview above, Russia was in no way threatening Turkey. It was on a bombing run against ISIS.

International law expert Francis Boyle - Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, who was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989  – said by email:

The Russian bombing of Syria is technically legal because they have the explicit permission of the Syrian government, but of course Putin will ultimately act in accord with his interests, not what is best for the Syrian people.




As the International Court of Justice ruled in the seminal Nicaragua case (1986), any use of force even in alleged self-defense must also fulfill the basic customary international law requirements of (1) necessity and (2) proportionality. Even accepting the government of Turkey's version of events, it does not appear that there was any "necessity" for Turkey to destroy the Russian jet.

Washington's Blog asked Boyle whether this is analogous to the "use of force" by someone with a gun who claims he was threatened by someone else. He answered affirmatively, explaining:

Necessity and Proportionality are each separate requirements for the use of force in self-defense.

From another [International Court of Justice] case, the basic test for “necessity” is that the necessity of self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation. Clearly, that was not the case here.

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NoBillsOfCredit's picture

"And Even If It Wasn't, It Was An Illegal War Crime" it was not a war crime as Turkey and Russia are not at war with each other. It was in fact an "act of war" and a murder.

gcjohns1971's picture


So who's willing to accept the idea of foreign bombers overhead, who are probably not - but might be - hostile?

Anyone willing to accept the same doctrine for their homes?  That an armed foreigner can enter without permission, and you can do nothing until he displays an intent to shoot someone?

I expect Turkey did shoot down the plane on purpose, and premeditatedly.   And I think it was a stupid thing to do.

But if I accept a version of Law where it is a war crime, then I must accept it when others do the same to me.

I don't expect Russia will calmly accept US B2 Bombers overhead simply because they have NOT YET dropped any bombs.   Nor am I willing to have TU22s overhead.

And I don't expect anyone else to accept it either.

And to the crowd who thinks ALL ACTIONS are acceptable so long as their favorite actor is performing them...these days Putin and Russia, yesterday Bush and the US.... I have a message:

Extinction is okay.

We're going to learn to behave.  Or we're going extinct.  

And many of us are so frustrated by you, the assholes of privilege (to steal, to murder, to invade), that we are more ready to accept a general end of life on this rock, than to accept more assertions of privilege.

Come into my house armed and uninvited, and I am going to shoot your ass, whether you wear a uniform and claim privileges or not.   

NoBillsOfCredit's picture

The US Gov. lies and the Turks lies and Russia lies. So why argue about what one liar says to another?

vheissu's picture

Finally a bit of common sense. Who said that Turkish Air Force decided at that moment when su-24 violate airspace? That is nonsense. There is always fighters jets patrolling those areas, and warnings had been made BEFORE the violation occured. So there is plenty of time to decide whether to shoot down the su-24 or not. If u do not reply to anykind of warning and still get closer and closer to a foreign countries airspace eventually violating it with a bomber jet plane get ready to shot down by them. This applies to any country. 

I really dont understand the rational behind russian fan boys. And about the ' oh ok there was a violation but russia is no threat to turkey" nonsense, tell me how anyone can identify a foreign airplane that does not respond to your calls. You can not know what countries aircraft that is. It might be russia or north korea how should they know? IFF (Identification of friend or foe) tells you only if it is ally or not. It doesnt provide any information about which country owns that aircraft.

Turkey is 100% right in this event, and it is 100% legit response. Matter of fact, behavior of the leaders tells you everything. Russia acts like a little kid, not answering calls, implementing stupid sanctions while turkish government tries to establish a healthy communication to find a common ground and trying to lower the tension in every chance. Russia will be the loser if tension goes up, Turkey does not need to control foreign terrories or governments, she stands on her feet only with domestic interest. But russia on the other hand, needs to reach her puppet countries eg. syria. What if turkey decide to ban russian ships from bosphorus ? What then? It doesnt sound like banning export chicken from Turkey does it?

Analog's picture

"Brig. Gen. Celepo?lu was arrested on charges of “attempting to destroy or prevent the government of the Republic of Turkey from functioning; founding or leading an armed terrorist organization.”

vheissu's picture

that is funny, todayszaman is not a news source. it has a agenda to overthrow turkish governent and only thing that is true in todayszaman is the date, else is incredibly absurd lies. Everybody knows that, it is funny people referance to this BS.

Milton Keynes's picture

The Turks really amped up the tension here.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Tension is amped up to the degree that NATO countries could be dragged into an insane war by Turkey:

Reassessing NATO: Canada shouldn't let itself be 'Article Fived' into a war by Turkey's president
conscious being's picture

Thanks Radical and I just want to add, to this gcjohns and the other character following this, Turkish fighter jets violate tense borders all the time. 2,000 times last year they crossed over into Greece airspace and some large number of times into Armenia as well.

Crocodile's picture

Turkey has played both sides of the fence and now made their choice.  Time will tell if that was a mistake; usually countries that play two sides end up with both sides seeing them as disposable and they are.

Moribundus's picture

Eventualy. Who said that it was Turkey's plane and pilot who downed SU-24? Turkish government not military. Turkey's military distance itself from it. They said: We did not make the map as was draw where Russian plane crossed Turkey's airspace. The map was made by CABINET. Actualy it was US plane and pilot and missile just Turkey's government took responsibility because there is inner conflict between sultan Erdogan and military so sultan Erdogan needs conflict in Turkey and USA hoped this accident will provoke Russia and so on.

Here is Mr Pyakin

frankly scarlet's picture

While the Turkish actions, sanctioned and promoted by the U.S.-NATO-Central Bnakers, in the downing and murder of the Russian pilot(s) and rescue member(s) was a true act of premeditated treachery by Turkey and its western backers; I get the sneeking feeling and obvious preception that Russia has come out the winner for very little sacrifice. Now Russia has righteously deployed its advanced air defense systems and has in effect declared a no fly zone over Syria for other than Russian approved flights. Remember the old Roman question, "cui bono?" And the answer to that one is only Russia who now has a free hand over the skies of Syria and a major diplomatic and propaganda win with sanctions on Erdogan and his crew with the aim of his evventual removal.  The Russians continue to think six moves ahead while the west can barely think two or three ahead. While the dumb turds at the Pentagon and Langley slap each other on the back over the shoot down their Russian counterparts cover their smirking mouths with their hands so no one can see. Fucking brilliant! And one I didn't see coming as to how Russia would stop NATO from just plain overwhelming the Syrian airspace with all manner of NATO nationals air forces.

rapetrain's picture

What bolsters your assessment is the speed with which Russia escalated with sanctions.

Sanctions hurt both sides. If Russia was concerned with the finances and wealth of its country, it would seek compensation from Turkey in the form of reparations.

Instead of working within well-defined international law, Russia quickly and unilaterally imposed sanctions that hurt people on both sides of the border. People who want to trade, be at peace with each other, and prosper.

At the cost of a 50-year-old obsolete aircraft and some other military assets, Russia has purchased metric tons of patriotism and nationalism inside the Russian Federation, along with a pretext for more aggression. It's such a well-known concept and so obvious when USSA does it that we should all be surprised that it's widely ignored when Russia does it.

highwaytoserfdom's picture

I'm ready for BRIC bonds backed by gold and shuffle the .1% with paper kindling...    Now that would put and end to  craziness..  

What do I know....    eugenicist psychopaths    caught up in a big mess...     Safe Yet?



foxmuldar's picture
No doubt, Barack Hussein Obama gave the go-ahead to the shoot down because Turkish President Erdogan is his best friend among world leaders.

Omen IV's picture

The British had tens of thousands of Australians murdered at Gallipolli for ...nothing - the criminals in DC will do the same with Turks

Moribundus's picture

It was preplaned and coordinated by 2 AWACS. Language is russian for translator

The goal of NATO is, after lost of Crimea, to provoke conflict between Russia and Turkey and close straits for Russian ships.

TheObsoleteMan's picture

The goal is to provoke war between Russia and Turkey, and to then get Russia to commit as many troops as possible in an invasion of Turkey, where they can then be easily cut off and destroyed by NATO forces invading Russia through the Ukraine.

Winston Smith 2009's picture

OF COURSE it was pre-planned! Why? Because of THIS:

...this was not the first time Russian planes breached into the Turkish airspace. On Oct. 3 and 4 a Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft violated Ankara’s sovereign airspace in the Hatay region. NATO said that the Russian combat planes entered Turkish airspace despite Turkish authorities’ “clear, timely and repeated warnings.” In that case, TuAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace. Nevertheless, as if violating the airspace of a NATO member was not enough, the Russian Su-30SM maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds. According the Russians, the violation was due to a “navigation error.” Following the incident Ankara said it would shot down any aircraft violating their sovereign airspace as done in the past with the Syrian Mig-23 and Mi-17.

theyjustcantstop's picture

bye-bye, e.u., turkey's in charge of the visitors to your host country, they'll just change Syria, to turkey, on the passports.

it worked for Castro, he emptied his jails, and prisons out.



MeBizarro's picture

No he didn't and that has become common myth in large part among Americans due to Scarface. Yeah there were some criminals who came over but a lot more of them were imprisoned dissenters against the state, imprisoned homosexuals, and those with mental/health issues. Even then that was about 10% of the overall Muriel boatlift with some putting that figure as low as 2%. Overwhelming majority of people were just people who had a marginal subsistence existence doing heavily manual labor (mostly agriculture at that time in Cuba) & long hours and gambled on any chance at something better. 

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Well that general must not be seeking promotions....

xavi1951's picture

I am good with the article until you get to the war-crime part.  Act of idiots (Turkish Gov), or act of idiots (U.S. backed (Moderates?)) ?

Boubou's picture

Come ON !  Where are Woodward and Bernstein

TheObsoleteMan's picture

They worked for the other team. A story like this would have never interested them.

Reaper's picture

Investigative MSM reporters protecting America was and is a fantasy. Bernstein and Woodward were tools of the acting head of the FBI, aka Deep Throat, seeking revenge against Nixon.

moman's picture

Gen Westley Clark laid out the Zionist neocon stepping stones that was to be completed in 08, didn't work out too well, now they are throwing Turkey under the bus as Putin plays chess with morons, btw,  McInerney had no choice but to concede NATO has been caught with their pants down.

moman's picture

Gen Westley Clark laid out the Zionist neocon stepping stones that was to be completed in 08, didn't work out too well, now they are throwing Turkey under the bus as Putin plays chess with morons, btw,  McInerney had no choice but to concede NATO has been caught with their pants down.

roadhazard's picture

I think we all agreed it was planed the other day. So what, Pootin had been warned several times before. I guess he didn't believe Turkey would stand up to him. Wrong guess.

dogismycopilot's picture

So this is Murder is basically what the Good General is telling us. Fox news anchor didn't look like that was what she wanted to hear.

Johnny Horscaulk's picture
Johnny Horscaulk (not verified) Nov 28, 2015 4:51 AM

Development of Revolutionary Technique
Archibald Maule Ramsay

(from "The Nameless War")

Elliptico's picture

Shedding tears over cluster bombers?

Still Losing Money's picture

Another idiot article from GW

Rhal's picture

I'm always in an awkward place when a high ranking US official tells the truth. I'm not used to this.

He just burnt his chances of any political office. I could almost salute McInerney

Boubou's picture

Me too. If I hear the truth from an official I feel a kind of shock, as in

' how come he was allowed to say that?" that's how far our governments have fallen.

I thought, when Bush2 got caught out in the fabrication of evidence for iraq invasion 2,  only to get re-elected.

1) OK you got away with that because the electorate is

over- brainwashed by the media and is now brain dead.

2) No One will EVER believe a word government speaks again.

I now think 'Pity Obama carried on the great tradition of the PNAC and the Wall Street coup and avoids the truth on every occasion"

If we'd elected Karl Rove it wouldn't have made much difference.

DonutBoy's picture

That's one possibility.  The other is that the administration wants to distance itself from the shootdown - but doesn't want to use an official channel because Turkey is a NATO ally and we're flying planes out of Incirlik.

felix2's picture

The net result of this, is the EU masters have doubled down on the side of Turkey

From Breitbart:

A European Union draft document is expected to be released on November 29, with some of the following terms:

  • October 2016 will be set as a target date for visa exemption for Turkish citizens. (I believe that this means that Turkish citizens will be able to enter the EU without a visa, which makes sense when you consider that a million or so migrants this year have entered the EU without a visa.)
  • Turkey will control the flow of refugees from Turkey into Europe.
  • The EU will supply 3 billion euros at the start, to be increased later, to help Turkey support the 2 million refugees that Turkey is currently hosting, mostly from Syria.
  • For the first time, Greek and Turkish Cyprus will be merged, and Turkey will recognize Greek Cyprus.


Point 1, Turkey has been exporting the 'refugees' into the EU the same way they have been exporting ISIS oil. Erdogan also wants caliphate. Giving Turks EU visas simply explodes the islamic flow into the EU


Point 2, Turkey is already controlling the flow of refugees to advantage the caliphate


Point 3 The EU gains nothing new, except it will now pay for an additional 2 million hosted by Turkey, under the threat Turkey will send them too. The longer the 2 million remain either in Turkey or in EU, the less likely they will be repatriated - except - at some point Turkey will release them into the EU anyway


Point 4 In return, Turkey admits there are Greeks in the failed nation of Cyprus.  However, Turkey controls the flow of muslims to Cyprus, so Turkey will conquer Cyprus by flooding it with muslims


The jihadist movement was recreated by neocons, to take down the Soviet empire. This strategy hasnt changed. When the neocons targeted Assad, they were really targeting Putin. When the Soviets fell, the bankster thought they now owned Russia. But Russia still owns Russia.


The EU (and the Obama-US) are actually fighting what they consider the cancer of nationalism. Until all powerful self determining nations are crushed, the EUBamacons will sell their children into dhimmi if that is what it takes to end the great nation states threatening globalization

Optimusprime's picture

White Europeans arise!  Fight the race replacemnt agenda!  Maybe it will give some Americans hope...

windcatcher's picture

In reply to felix2, Let me add: Including the retaliation to the United States of America State Governors if they refuse the toltalitarian fascist (merger of monopoly corporations with government) Washington Empire mandates to destroy American sovereignty and independence with open borders to ISIS terrorist that the Washington Empire created.

Rhal's picture


Good points to think about. Thanks.

jcdenton's picture

People, when all of a sudden names like Lt. General Tom McInerney and Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely pop up on the big press, beware of the true motive here .. -Keynote Speech, Damascus Terror Conference - Paul Vallely Riding Shotgun / America's role in the roots of ISIS

People, these two retired U.S. generals are international war criminals at best. Traitors to the U.S. Constitution at worst.

Once again, hats off to ZH for their intrepid "We Report, You Decide" motif. Thanks for keeping us all so well informed on these matters. Thanks for presenting all views concerned .. (especially those with authentic open-source HUMINT)

Further supplemental material .. (I comment further as bolo451) (Read Me First)

chunga's picture

I like how the bimbo kept trying to interrupt the guy. It seemed to me like she was wanting to steer him in to bash the Russians.

"We report you decide" my ass. Either her own personal bias was showing or she got the memo to blame everything on Russia no matter what.

joego1's picture

War is an illegal war crime. What the fuck was Putin thinking anyway? He is playing in snakepit of the worst imaginable kind.. Of course he is going to eat some shit.

DogOfSinope's picture

He doesn't care any more. He doesn't give a shit what Western media or bureaucrats say. He is aware that West MSM and politicians painted themselves in the corner - even their own populace doesn't trust them a word.

GRDguy's picture

Lie, steal and murder. That's all these leaders (agents of The Great Red Dragon) can do.  

It's a shame the 99% (anywhere) put up with this.