Monday, March 24, 2014
Malaysian PM: "Flight 370 Crashed With No Survivors" ( And What They're Not Telling You)
Today, Malaya's Prime Minister Najib Razak announced in a press conference today that said that he was briefed by Britain's Air Accident Investigations Branch on data from Inmarsat, the satellite company that provided data used in the search for the missing plane. It showed that Flight 370's last position was in the Indian Ocean, due west of Perth, Australia.
"This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,'' Mr. Najib said. "It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."
A text from the airline to the victim's families put it this way: “We deeply regret that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived.”
Given the fuel capacity, the chances are that they're correct, although as yet no wreckage or debris has been found. And, as Prime Minister Razak himself said, there are still numerous questions about what happened.
The one thing that's clear is how little we know, but that's largely because we're looking not at the facts we know for sure and how they might fit together.
I recently received an e-mail from one of my sources that, combined with a few other known facts, gives us a fairly plausible line of inquiry to follow.
That this was an attempted hijacking of some sort is pretty obvious by now. As I wrote previously, For a modern airliner to simply disappear like this is almost unheard of, because of the modern tracking technology involved. Aside from the routine radar and satellite tracking, every airliner contains a flight recorder and a transponder which emit electronic signals, as well as an emergency location beacon, a highly durable electronic signaling device to enable an airliner to be quickly located if something unexpected occurs.
Apparently, the transponder which identifies the flight and provides heading and altitude data was deliberately switched off shortly after that last known last radio contact with the jet, when co-pilot Fariq Ab Hamid said "all right, good night," to air traffic controllers.
This is totally against procedure. Someone did it for a reason, and that person had to have been in the cockpit at that exact time, which means it was either co-pilot Fariq Ab Hamid, the pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah or an unknown third party.
Not only that, but later on, someone in the cockpit turned off the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). This system sends out electronic pings to satellites and continued to do so after Flight 370 disappeared from the air traffic controller's radar. That's how we know the plane changed course and headed west. If it wasn't turned off, it would have continued to send out signals no matter where the plane was - in the air or on the ground. The last contact came from Thai military radar at 2:15 AM local time.
There are also other signals, from the radar altimeter and weather radar. These could also have been disabled, but a prudent pilot wouldn't have done so, first because they came in handy in certain situations and second because while they send out signals, they're difficult to distinguish from other planes if Flight 370 was on established commercial flight paths. Think of a bunch of cars on the highway at night. They all have their headlights on, but it's hard to pick out an individual auto on a highway, as opposed to one car on a small street at night. There's also the fact that various governments might not want to necessarily reveal any signals they got from these sources because it could reveal their electronic intel collection methods.
My friend Sara Noble over at the Independent Sentinel has a piece worth reading that draws on a story from the UK Independent that the plane slipped under Pakistani radar and is sitting somewhere under Taliban control, covered by radar-absorbent camouflage netting. It could be, although a 777-200 requires a runway length of 3,300 to 5,000 feet or so (1,000 to 1,500 meters) at least to land under most conditions. That's between over half a mile and almost a mile in length, and a decent landing field that covert might have been hard to find but not impossible - unless the Taliban either had help or we're not talking about the Taliban at all. Or even a landing, since as I originally thought, Flight 370 succumbed to a 'work accident' and crashed en route to wherever it was headed.
So let's take this to the next step. Who might have wanted to hijack this particular Boeing 777-200? And why?
While the use of Flight 370 as a terrorist weapon is certainly possible, 9/11 showed that it was just as easy to hijack a plane filled with highly combustible jet fuel, smash it into something and cause a great deal of damage and death. So I rate the motive of hijacking the plane for use as a flying bomb unlikely. Moreover, if the plane did land and is being converted into a terrorist weapon, it might not make it to target since every military in the region is watching for it and the minute it surfaces it will likely attract something like a HellFire missile fairly quickly.
So let's look further at what other reason there might have been to hijack Flight 370,and who might have been involved.
We know that this plane was originally bound for China and was loaded with Chinese nationals.We also know that the pilot (and possibly the co-pilot) were fanatic devotees of Anwar Ibrahim, a hard line Islamist with major ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and who was endorsed when he ran for prime minister in Malaysia by none other than Brotherhood leader Sheikh Youseff Qaradawi. Ibrahim lost the election and was later jailed for 5 years for sodomizing one of his aides (homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia) which infuriated his supporters.
I've already said why I believe hijacking Flight 370 for use as a 'flying bomb' is unlikely. The only way that could have happened is with Pakistan's connivance (the idea of a Boeing 777-200 'slipping under Pakistani radar' is ridiculous), which is certainly possible if somewhat unlikely. But if the plane wasn't hijacked for use as a terrorist bomb, what was the motive for doing it?
Again, remember that Flight 370's passengers were primarily Chinese.
Most of you will be unaware of the low level jihad being waged in Western China by the Uighers, Chinese Muslims who seek to establish a sharia state and who have committed a number of terrorist attacks against Han Chinese nationals.
Given the Islamist orientation of the pilot and co-pilot, I feel fairly certain that the idea here was to fly to Pakistan and ransom the plane and the passengers to China for cash, either to support the Uigher jihad or other Islamist causes. The ransom demanded could easily have been in the tens of millions.
What ultimately happened to Flight 370? Pure speculation on my part, but when the truth comes out if it ever does, I think we'll find that one of these scenarios occurred:
(A) The plane was unable to land as planned and crashed where the authorities are saying it did or somewhere else,either from lack of fuel or from a 'work accident' in midair.
(B) The plane landed successfully, the ransom demands were submitted and the Chinese refused to deal. So the plane was destroyed and the passengers killed, either on the ground or in the air.
(C) The announcement of the crash was a hoax designed to take the spotlight off this story, because ransom negotiations are continuing.
If scenarios B or C are the way things went down, the motivation of the authorities to simply treat this as a mysterious crash and move on are obvious.
My thanks to the Warlord for providing a needed missing piece here.