Tag Archives: The Malaysian Government responsibility

MH370 – Control: More Important Than One Airplane and a Handful of People

I will never forget MH370
On March 9, 2014, I along with so many others wrote the following lead-in for the MH370 story: “Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, 777-200ER registered 9M-MRO, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was reported missing today. Air Traffic Control’s last reported coordinates for the aircraft were over the South China Sea at 6ᵒ55’15”N 103ᵒ34’43”E – A search for the aircraft began approximately four hours after it disappeared.”

June 8 2014 marks 3 months since that was written, and what is remarkable is that the aforementioned paragraph, approximately twelve weeks or 90 days old, to date is still the most reliable information the general public has on the missing flight. The incident summary still reads “missing” and the site still reads “unknown.” The information authorities are choosing to share with the public conveys the message that after analysis of all available satellite data, it is assumed “beyond reasonable doubt” that the plane was lost and there were no survivors. “Assumed” because, 3 months on not a shred of evidence has turned up to indicate otherwise. Incredible, but apparently true.

If the analysis of satellite “hand-shakes” initiated by the aircraft on an automated basis to an Inmarsat satellite is correct, MH370 flew South from a point North-West of the Strait of Malacca into the Indian Ocean, and somewhere to the West or North-West of Perth, its fuel ran out and it crashed some 2000 miles out to sea. We know the ensuing and unprecedented international search involved dozens of planes and boats scouring search areas that constantly shifted as new information, hypotheses and analysis came in. In spite of that the search was unsuccessful.

Yes “somehow” a Boeing 777-200 (currently worth around 260MM a piece) with a wing span almost as wide as its 64m length, somehow crashed into the deep Indian Ocean and left behind no evidence. Isn’t that just amazing?

After the strongest lead in the search, the early April acoustic pings detected off the coast of Western Australia, turned out to be a dead end, the search area was redefined to a vast 40,000sq mile arc of the Southern Indian Ocean approximately as large as the land mass of Tasmania.

Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer from the University of NSW, specialising in the waters surrounding Australia, has said the underwater search for MH370 will be incredibly difficult — and he is not optimistic of a successful outcome given where the effort currently stands. “It’s virtually impossible to find that plane if there’s not an extra lead,” Dr Van Sebille said.“If there’s no other lead…then I think we are in a pretty dire situation.”

By contrast, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston told a special Four Corners report, “Over the next eight to 12 months, we will find the aircraft; we’ll find its final resting place.”

Meanwhile, in the land down-under, the Abbott government remains “committed to the search” for MH370 and understands the importance of trying to “resolve the mystery for the sake of the families and friends of those who have been lost.”

The opposition has offered bi-partisan support, with Labour Leader Bill Shorten adding that the mission was not being helped by the running commentary on the fate of the flight. “We’ve all been touched by the tragedy and the disappearance of MH370,” he told reporters. “What I think we need to do is have less running commentary and more letting the professionals get on with the job of trying to answer this terrible question.”

What Bill Shorten suggests is colorfully ambivalent and vaguely disturbing. It reminds people like me who have been following the MH370 story since day 1 why, 3 months down the track, so many questions remain unanswered.

The real reason to have “less of a running commentary” on MH370 is to preserve the system, of which Bill Shorten definitely subscribes to.

It has little to do with hindering what is certainly a criminal investigation. The architects of the crime are surely dead and will never be brought to justice. Any partners in said crime not aboard MH370 would have played aiding and abetting type of roles, and whether any case against them would be affected by answering questions and making information public is doubtful.

With-holding information has nothing to do with Malaysian law. There exist international agreements that automatically over-ride local laws, especially in the case of an international aviation incident.

Granted, revealing security arrangements or military secrets are another matter: All military is paranoid. Everything from satellite orbits, to image capture format to telemetry information is when discussing military space hardware classified. Same thing with military radar – no, not the concepts which are readily available in any modern radar textbook, I’m talking about the implementation specifics, deployment specifics and operating characteristics. For better or for worse, all that information is classified. Whether that status is justifiable is a debatable point, and one that won’t be resolved because of the disappearance of MH370.

That said, this paranoia behind “classified information” is the same paranoia that motivates all champions of the system to remain tight-lipped, and to encourage their constituency to do the same. Do your job, live your life and don’t ask questions. The system is in control. In the case of MH370, the 239 souls aboard and related family, clearly the system failed them. The secrecy surrounding the incident has everything to do with members of various establishments protecting their interests and maintaining the status quo. Regardless of the degree of incompetence and negligence on the part of Malaysia or the airline, withholding evidence sends a clear message: “We are in charge. You are underlings.” It is a provocation; go away and bury your head in the sand.

From a distance, gazing upon the lofty perspective of the system, it is plain to see that the issue of maintaining the appearance of control is of far greater importance than the loss of one airplane and a handful of people.

Three months on, it is abundantly clear now that a person or persons deliberately flew MH370 somewhere it was not supposed to go. As each day passes, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the authorities of the system to pretend they don’t know exactly who those persons were.

…maintain the rage….

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MH370 – The Malaysian Government’s Responsibility

Lose Yourself Malaysian AirlinesWe now know multiple authorities watched MH370 disappear. Despite the inaction and the repeated failures by those in charge on the evening of March 8 2014, no one in Malaysia has taken responsibility for the loss of MH370, and this is the real conspiracy behind the disappearance. This course was charted from the first official press conference, and since then it has become increasingly evident that a litany of embarrassing failures by multiple authorities in Malaysia to take the action they should have taken, has been covered up and dumbed down.

“It is a conspiracy,” said former Chief Pilot for Malaysia Airlines, Nik Huzlan, “merely to protect the people who have not done the job they were supposed to do…all the people that were on duty that night.”

The world knows what happened to MH370. Not definitively, perhaps, but based on the official evidence available it all points to one thing: human interference. Whether that onboard human interference was initiated by the Boeing 777 pilots, members of the crew, the passengers or a combination of all, the disappearance almost certainly began in the mind of a human. The task was carried out by people with vast aviation experience.

A catastrophic accident can be effectively ruled out. If there was a fire and/or explosion aboard MH370 that knocked out the transponder and the ACARS communication system, could the plane have kept flying? “It is beyond the bounds of probability,” said retired Boeing 777 Pilot Steve Buzdygan. “No mechanical malfunction would destroy an aircraft communication system while enabling said aircraft to fly on – in the case of MH370 – for several hours.”

It is true, a passenger jet can deviate from its proposed course because of bad weather or some control requirement prompted by Air Traffic Control, but none of these are a factor in the case of MH370. So until further notice it is safe to assume human interference is the root cause for the mystery.

Referring to the “grey-zone” where Malaysian air space crosses over into Vietnamese air space, yet another retired Boeing 777 pilot, John Lindsay, agreed that, “If I was going to take the aircraft over and make the aircraft disappear this is exactly when I would do it.”

Nik Huzlan backed up this claim: “When a plane crosses over from one air space into another, I tell you, it is all done in one fair swoop: Malaysian 370, good-night…over to Ho Chi Minh CLICK…Ho Chi Minh, Malaysian 370, good-morning. – That’s all it takes. Exactly that long. That did not happen.”

And while the mid-air human interference was occurring, human incompetence was working in tandem at a ground level to create a synergy of error that would ultimately make the disappearance of MH370 absolute.

The following is part of an interview conducted by ABC news with The Minister of Malaysian Transport, Hishammuddan Hussein.

ABC: Did DCA [Dept of Civil Aviation] contact the military?

HH: Yes they did.

ABC: What time?

HH: You have to ask the DCA. And it will come out the details, the dates…because I do not want to be trapped by…from my experience in the last four weeks…by dates, by numbers, by names, by rank.

ABC: You have conceded earlier that on the morning the plane was missing, there was four and a half hours time in which to respond. So why wasn’t a jet sent up?

HH: It was not hostile, it was commercial, it was from our airspace, and we’re not at war with anybody. Even if we sent [a jet] up are you going to say that we are going to shoot it down?

ABC: Well you said that, not me.

HH: No, I’m asking you.

ABC: I could not possibly answer; I’m not a military expert…

HH: So if we’re not going to shoot it down what’s the point of sending it up?

ABC: To see where it’s going.

HH: Well, to see where it’s going…you need a fighter for that? You are talking now about military procedures. And if I did shoot it down, you’d be the first to say how can you shoot down a commercial airline with 14 nationals, half of them Chinese…I’d be in a worse position, probably.

ABC: Why shoot it down if it’s not hostile?

HH: Well, the Americans would.

It is far from uncommon for officials attempting to cover-up details of an incident to put the blame on a subordinate. However, in this interview, Hishammuddan Hussein used a different approach. Relying on his skills in public deception, Mr. Hussein tried to create the impression that nothing improper had occurred, that faced with horrendous choices a sharp military crew had done the right thing. They had behaved in a manner that would surely shame the leaders of the free world.

Asked why a jet wasn’t sent up, Mr. Hussein replies: “…are you going to say that we are going to shoot it down?” Firstly, the original question should have included the word intercept; I believe this is what the interviewer intended: the question should have been clearer – Why wasn’t a jet sent up to intercept MH370? Perhaps then Mr. Hussein might have been less predisposed to introduce the concept of blowing the plane out of the sky. The word “intercept” is clearly different than the phrase “shoot it down.”

Air Traffic Controllers request military jets to intercept commercial aircraft on a routine basis. Sometimes the purpose is to tell a commercial pilot their plane has gone off course; other times the interceptor is sent to observe a situation directly – for example, to see who is flying the plane. None of this requires political approval. It is not uncommon for ATC to request military jets to intercept a commercial aircraft in response to any serious problem which ATC cannot resolve thru radio contact. Furthermore, the most common problem is that a commercial jet has deviated from its authorised flight path. Given what is known about the behaviour of MH370 post 01:19 this would have been a completely appropriate response.

Yet Mr. Hussein frames his response as “You are talking now about military procedures” as though interceptions are 1) unusual, and 2) as something that automatically means a seek and destroy mission. Mr. Hussein believes no interception was necessary because “It was not hostile, it was commercial, it was from our airspace, we’re not at war with anybody.”

The fact that Malaysia is not at war with anybody should not alter the fact that anyone at any time might decided to initiate an act of war against you. That is what military radar is for, early detection. “It was not hostile” – who decided it was “not hostile” might have been an appropriate follow up question. That or, how was the “non hostile” status arrived at? “It was commercial, it was from our airspace” – how did Malaysian military know that given that transponders and ACARS data transmitters aboard MH370 had been switched off? In the 40 minutes that MH370 blipped across Malaysian military radar, and to the best of public knowledge, that aircraft was unidentified.

Again, when a plane deviates from its flight plan, ATC will contact the pilot. If ATC cannot establish contact, a military jet can be scrambled to fly up to the aircraft and check out the situation. This normal procedure is called “interception” and it is not an aggressive act. Almost always it is requested because routine communication has become impossible.

Furthermore, Mr. Hussein’s implied argument – that there is no point in sending up an interceptor unless there is an intention to shoot it down – is obtuse. Why would such a decision have to be made in advance of scrambling an interception? Even if an airliner has been taken over by terrorists with a suicide mission, no one could predict how the hijacker(s) might respond to an interception. Both police and the military routinely respond to a hijack situation in this manner: they mobilise a potentially overwhelming force in the hope of getting the hijacker to surrender?

Here is just one example amongst the many that demonstrates Hishammuddan Hussein and the Malaysian authority’s reluctance to discuss their failure to intercept MH370. It adds to a full list of fallibility peppered with half truths peddled as accepted fact, false foundations and a fog of emotional misinformation designed to cover-up plain and simple human fault.

When will The Malaysian Government accept responsibility for the disappearance of MH370?

Roy Pinto, Chief Operations Officer at Inmarsat, said, “In events of this magnitude, everybody has an opinion.” The ongoing and regrettable behaviour of The Malaysian Government has done nothing to minimalise this truth.

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