Now as the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 continues we have the revelation that at least two travellers on that flight were flying on stolen identities. Now while the report from the Guardian is very quick to down play the the possibility that the plane was deliberately brought down by an act of terrorism. personally I think that at this point in time its a better than evens chance that the loss of the aircraft is the result of an act of Jihad.
The Malaysia Airlines flight missing with 239 on board may have turned around just before it vanished from radar screens, the country’s air force chief said on Sunday as the government said it had contacted counter-terrorism agencies around the world following concerns over unidentified passengers.
Transport and defence minister Hishamuddin Hussein said officials were considering all possible explanations for the disappearance of flight MH370, adding: “We cannot jump the gun. Our focus now is to find the plane.”
The airline warned families to prepare for the worst as the search widened amid inconclusive reports that debris had been spotted floating in the sea between Vietnam and Malaysia.
At least two people on the plane were travelling together on stolen passports, fuelling concerns about the Boeing-777’s abrupt disappearance in the early hours of Saturday. However, experts said there were many possible reasons for why it vanished and for people to travel on false documents.
Malaysian officials said they were looking at four suspect identities and were examining the entire passenger manifest. Interpol confirmed that at least two passports were listed in its database as stolen and that it was examining other documents.
The international police agency’s secretary general, Ronald Noble, said it had spent years urging countries to screen all passports systematically. “Now, we have a real case where the world is speculating whether the stolen passport holders were terrorists, while Interpol is asking why only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights,” he said.
The fact that Malaysia is an Islamic country may well have made its national carrier think that it would be very low on the possible targets list but with the very acrimonious schisms within Islam I don’t think that we canmake assumptions like that, besides which the next world superiority over this may have made the possible death of Muslims logistically acceptable.
Secondly despite my utter aversion to flying I do appreciate that modern planes do not just suddenly disappear off radar screens without some sort of communication to ground informing the air controllers that they have a problem. The there and then gone aspect of this disappearance suggest at the very least a sudden catastrophic failure of the aircraft. With a sudden disappearance AND two passengers using stolen documents to travel on the plane its not looking good for those who want to make excuses for the religion of peace.
Coincidentally My lovely wife organised for us to go on a date to the movies yesterday and the film she picked was , of all things “Non Stop” which is a film about terrorists on an airliner. Not a bad flick really with lots of twists and turns to the plot, every possible passenger stereotype from the virtuous Muslim doctor, a to the scared unaccompanied little girl, an off duty NYPD cop, a plucky stewardess. There was echoes of 911 in the reactions of the passengers and at the end a good exploitation of brinkmanship and, as you would expect from an American film an uplifting resolution of the plot. I could not help thinking about MH370 though and that happy endings are easier to find in the reel world. No matter what the reasons for this tragic loss may prove to be, the families and friends of the compliment of MH370 are going to be grief stricken. I for one hope that the cause is found sooner rather than later but I expect with the crash site as yet undiscovered its going to be a rather long wait for answers.
The de-facto spokesman for Islamic Affairs, GD, is very silent on this issue.
Richard, give him time he is after all a Muso which means he is probably still recovering from his busking for falafel
Or from his shellacking on the other thread? Anyway, I’m surprised you’ve called “Islamic terrorists” so early here, Iain. If this were a terrorist act then it seems the main target was China, which is not the usual M.O. of ‘Jihadists’.
Ray I would be very surprised indeed if it turns out to be any other brand of nutter
iain, there are a number of points that suggest it may not have even been a terrorist attack that brought the plane down. Sure, there were two people travelling on stolen passports but:
* Both were stolen from Phuket, Thailand. Not a lot of jihadists there.
* The Chinese govt is suggesting the two were illegal immigrants, not terrorists
* The two had also booked ongoing flights from Beijing to Europe, hardly any point if they intended to blow the plane (and themselves) up on route to Beijing.
*According to radar the plane was turning back to Malaysia before it disappeared, suggesting mechanical problems of some kind
Then there’s the question of how explosives would have got through the security checks of luggage. We just don’t know enough yet. If the black box is recovered that might shed some more light on it. Finally, if it were a terrorist attack don’t you think someone would have claimed credit for it by now? I’m open minded on this.
I am not by any stretch 100% on this being the Jihadists work, I just think that the odds are pretty high that it is.
On your points:
Well there is trouble form the Islamic minority in Thailand actually,even so in a global world location taht teh passpaorts were stolen from does not tell us much either way.
When you consider that only last week the Chinese had that awful sword/knife massacre at a railway station a grain of salt may be advised on what they say at this point
Since 911 unusual travel behaviours are noticed so the ongoing tickets could have been part of the subterfuge
Such a derivation on the radar could have been the plane in a death spiral when out of control
Maybe explosives could have been concealed within their bodies by way of surgery
Yes it will take time but think back to what the liquid bomb plotters had planned they were going to try to destroy aircraft in flight over the deep ocean so that the forensic investigators would have the most trouble working out how they did it and therefore it would be far more difficult to devise counter measures. As for claiming responsibility by now well there is nothing to beat a well timed silence to increase DRAMATIC EFFECT.
Iain, the area in Phuket where the passports were stolen is notorious for such theft. There have been 5,000 stolen in recent years and there’s a strong criminal trade in them. To criminals, not terrorists.
The ongoing bookings to Europe meant the pair did not need a visa to enter China. That is why China is suggesting they were potential illegal immigrants, not terrorists. Think about it – if they were intending to suicide bomb the plan en route to Beijing why would they bother to book those tickets?
I’m sure that those selling stolen passports really don’t care who buys them as long as they pay cold hard cash.
But why would anyone want to emigrate to China?
It’s all speculation, Iain, but there are probably dozens of reasons someone who is not a Chinese citizen would want to enter the country illegally on a stolen passport, including for criminal purposes or even spying. I just think this does not seem like a terrorist attack and that the two on board using stolen passports could easily have been a coincidence. How many people travel the world on stolen or fake passports? Obviously it’s thousands every year – but there are not thousands of planes being blown out of the sky. So the odds favour not terrorism.
That’s hilarious, Iain.
You can blame the Muzzies if it makes you feel better. I think I’ll reserve judgement until there’s some actual evidence. I suspect the reality may end up being much less exciting.
I’m not sure it’s fair to lay blame on anyone at this point, especially given no groups have come forward to claim responsibility
I was not suggesting anything that far out when I talked of suicide bombs inside the bomber
I agree that it could have been anyone of many possibilities, but my money is still on an act of terror
“Accidental shoot-down by a country’s military” seems more likely than a terrorist somehow getting a bomb onboard, Iain. Their luggage was screened. Okay, you say a bomb could have been surgically implanted in their body(s) but somehow I doubt it. I think you’re reading too much into the stolen passports business and assuming only terrorists would do that. Read this from the latest ABC report:
My money’s on either Japan or Nth Korea shooting it down. The plane appears to have ‘disintegrated’ mid air without a trace of wreckage and that’s more likely to happen by being hit by a high-powered rocket than by a bomb inside some jerk’s body (which would surely leave visible wreckage).
There would have been radar evidence if any kind of fighter plane was in the area, Japan? seriously? I might consider north Korea except that I think that the distance from their territory make that almost impossible.
My money would be on either a bomb or catastrophic failure of the air frame
Stealth bomber? As for Japan, they don’t exactly get on with China.
After the WW2 Ray I can not imagine Japan doing such a thing at all and you would need a plane with air to air capability rather than a bomber(see playing PS3 games teaches you a few things 😉 )
China’s recent naval exercise around the Asian area was seen as a show of aggression. China & Japan are at loggerheads over some islands too. It could be retaliation. We’re speculating of course but nothing would surprise me, Iain. And Nth Korea is friends with China, Japan is not, so I’d rule out the nutters from North Korea.
But North Korea is run by a megalomaniac nuttier who believes his own propaganda.
He wouldn’t attack China though. Okay, it was a Malaysian plane but it was carrying mainly Chinese nationals and was heading for Beijing. And striking a Malaysian plane would not be seen as a direct attack on China but gets the message across regardless. Read this Iain:
It wouldn’t be the first time a domestic plane was shot down as a show of strength. Interesting ‘armchair’ theory.
I for one am starting to wonder about the lack of information. It is almost impossible that in this day of satellite tracking, GPS, beacons and what not that a plane could vanish without trace. I suspect governments and possibly the airline do indeed know something but it is being held back from the press. If that’s true then the bookies’ odds for an accidental or intentional shoot down, either by jet or SAM, will improve significantly. But would Japan shoot down a civilian airliner? Would the Chinese shoot one down as their own Gulf of Tonkin? Could the North Koreans, being so far away? Any US, Chinese or Taiwanese ships in the area?
So many questions, so little information.
This is interesting..
Perhaps they are all in another dimension, a la The Philadelphia Experiment.
Iain, the latest reports all but rule out this as being a terrorist act. The men that ‘Mr Ali’ bought tickets for are believed to be Iranians seeking illegal entry into Europe via Beijing. The chances they blew up the plane (instead of continuing their main purpose) appear to be fairly remote, if not non existant.
I’m picking death by pilot.
If the old adage of looking for who profited from a tragedy is true; rumblings in the Crimea has been dropped down the reporting order on the 24 houd news cycle. Also Qantas might be seen as a safer option for future travellers in the growing Asian market.
Looks like one of the pilots like to entertain the fairer sex in the (ahem) cockpit.
I agree, it doesn’t sound like terrorists.
Suicide by pilot? If so, was it a sudden death dive into the ocean and would that explain the complete radar blackout? If so, why no wreckage or debris? Is it possible for a plane to crash into the ocean and not show any signs on the surface?
Are the mobile phones still ringing? If so, it’s more likely the crash was on land.
So why no wreckage?
Nah Jeff, that’s not a cockpit, it’s the Cockpit Bar in Phuket. 🙂 But I do like your suggestion of the Philadelphia Experiment..
There’s other pics too of the pilot with girlies in the cockpit of a plane. I wonder if he’s been to ‘Four Floors of Whores’ in Singers. No evidence that he is or might have been suicidal. Sometimes you never know, of course, but usually there are warning signs.
Given that they haven’t found this plane (or say they haven’t) then it seems to have crashed or been smoked/blown up/shot down well off its original course. But if so, why wasn’t it tracked, and why didn’t the pilot notify the change of course and give a reason? Too many questions unanswered and too many unconvincing “we don’t knows”. The whole thing is starting to smell decidedly fishy.
The suggestion that the two users of stolen passports were most likely not terrorists but illegal immigrants appears to have some legs, however that does not mean that we can rule out terrorism as the cause of the plane’s disappearance, any of the other people on board could have brought the plane down as could a bomb placed on the plane by a saboteur as was the case with the recently mentioned Lockabie bombing. Likewise what do we know about the crew? Simon makes a reasonable assumption that the pilot could have been the cause of the crash which once again could be down to our favourite religion of peace.
The mobile phones thing that is circulating around is interesting and some would have us believe that this should be a way that they plane could be located, or that the fact that numbers dialled ring out rather than go straight to message suggests that any wreckage must be on land.
Its a mystery all right and one that I am following with great interest.
The photo was taken on a flight in 2011. The co-pilot approached the two Sth African girls before they boarded and invited them to spend the whole flight in the cockpit. At the very least, this suggests the pilot and/or the co-pilot were a bit on the irresponsible side and might have just not been paying enough attention to the controls. Transponder was turned off at some stage and that’s why the plane disappeared from normal radar. However, military radar says they turned west and flew for a further 500 kms after last contact. Maybe they crashed well outside the search area and that’s why no wreckage has been found yet? It gets weirder & weirder all the time.
It certainly is , as Alice might say “curiouser and curiouser”
I think Malaysian Airways is going to need some slick PR after this. Just by share association with the Malaysian authorities poorly managing the recovery efforts. I wont ever be flying with them after this.
Latest from the ABC:
I reckon the ‘taken by aliens’ theory is as good as any.
Odds are shortening on a Dalek invasion or a zombie apocalypse.
On the other hand, you will get very short odds on the Malaysians being f*** incompetent.
Reports on “the world today” that the Chinese satellite have spotted wreckage south of Vietnam
oops, hang on, isn’t that racist?
The Moral of the story, No f%cking in the cock-pit, during flight.
or or keep your cock zipped in trousers, when in the cock-pit.
Was referring to the specific Malaysians in charge of this search and investigation, GD, so not intended to be racist.
Something like this would have been a different story:
It’ll probably be found exactly (or close to) where it went off the radar. Yes f*cking incompetent is right and no, GD, it’s not racist to call a country’s search efforts incompetent.
Jeff G. and Ray, you’re so caught up in the PC racist bullshit that you thought I was serious? FFS.
GD, you’re always serious. Any more theories on the whereabouts of the plane? I think they need to search Western Australia – it could have landed in the outback.
The thing that occurs to me is if the plane was hijacked and not blown up where could it possibly have landed without being detected? it must need a fair sized runway and they would not that common.
No one seems to have mentioned this theory yet: http://humanbeingsfirst.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/osama-bin-laden-on-his-flying-carpet.jpg
You have to wonder though, perhaps its safer having passengers leave their cellphones on / not switched to ‘airplane’ mode. My understanding is there has never been a recorded incidence of a mobile phone interfering with the shielded components of a plane’s communications, and in an instance like this having them fully functioning may have helped with location if a pilot, or someone with the proposed level of experienced took over and switched off the components of the plane.
Seeing as its looking likely the plane did double back I wonder if they’ve suffered a loss of cabin pressure / oxygen and also a possible fire (fitting in with the kiwi’s observation on the oil rig, the pilots have attempted to return but succumbed before being able to contact KL of their return, it has flown on automatic pilot until fuel ran out and crashed at sea. Its the switching off of the transponder, unless whatever they’ve it, or been hit with, or malfunctioned, also affected in.
In all fairness mate you huff and puff so much over the top “the Left is evil” bollocks here that it’s hard to know if any of your comments are serious. You do sound like a Simpsons parody of Joe McCarthy.
Latest word on the plane is that the US has now certain that it was hijacked, either by the pilots or someone else. Hence the changes in altitude and direction. But the Payne Stewart theory (i.e. decompressed cabin sending everyone to sleep) is still on the table I think.
Yes i too had wondered about cabin depressurization and flight until fuel ran out, there was a famous case of a plane that went right across this country until that happened and there was nothing that could be done to save those on board.
Mr Sri Najib named two possible “corridors’’ thousands of kilometres from the original search locations, in official statements that serve to further deepen the mystery surrounding the disappearance of MH370.
And flagging the possibility of some form of terrorist act, Mr Najib said: “In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board.”
Mr Najib described how ‘‘primary radar data’’ showed how the plane turned from its north-easterly course, flew west back over Malaysia, then turned north west after reaching the Straits of Malacca on the country’s west coast.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Photo: AFP
‘‘These movements are consistent with deliberate actions by someone on the plane,’’ Mr Najib said.
He added: ‘‘The aircraft could now be in one of two possible corridors. A northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand.
‘‘Or, a southern corridor stretching approximately from Indonesia to southern Indian ocean.’’
Given the new locations, Mr Najib said Malaysia was ending its search operations in the South China sea, and reassessing the search operation, which has involved 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircraft.
Despite the deliberate nature of the flight’s movements, Mr Najib stopped short of confirming an AP media report citing Malaysian officials who said a hijacking was ‘‘conclusive’’.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/missing-malaysia-airlines-planes-systems-deliberately-disabled-says-pm-20140315-34ts4.html#ixzz2w1RgInNd
From The Age: Radar signals recorded by the Malaysian military appear to show the plane climbing to 45,000 feet, which is above the approved altitude, and making a sharp turn to the right not long after it disappeared from civilian radar
This suggests to me that they were preparing to fly over the Himalayan Mountains. Why else would they go that high? I’d be looking around Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
I don’t think India would miss a radar signature of an aircraft in its air space Ray, my money is still on it being in the sea courtesy of the religion of peace
This article is very good Ray
Yes it is, Iain. And from reading that it seems almost certain that one (or both) pilots hijacked their own plane. And there’s also a good chance the plane is in (or crashed near) Australia rather than Kazakhstan :
Time to send a search party out to WA?
My money wold be on the Indian ocean Ray, where there is nothing or little likely hood that it will be found.
Well it took them the better part of 60 years to find HMAS Sydney in the Indian Ocean so I won’t be holding my breath for a quick turn around on this one. Looks fairly certain it was “death by pilot” but the reasons are as yet unclear.
Only because you want it to be, confirmation bias is a powerful thing.
The Daily Mail (UK) have come up with an interesting hypothesis, and all things being considered might need to be considered as motivation. To bring political pressure on the Malaysian Govt. under international scrutiny: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581817/Doomed-airliner-pilot-political-fanatic-Hours-taking-control-flight-MH370-attended-trial-jailed-opposition-leader-sodomite.html
The only problem with the ‘pilot did it to make a religious or political point’ theory is that he hasn’t actually made any point. Surely if you were doing it to free Ibrahim or in the name of Allah, you’d go out with or at least leave some kind of statement. Not turn off the transponders, sneak out of air traffic control, fly another 6-7 hours and ditch in some unknown corner of the ocean, leaving everyone guessing. More likely that he was just cracked in the head and spent his last hours chuckling about leaving thousands of people going “WTF??”
I do appreachiate the graphic they’ve come up with of how soon the events run together of the last known radio communication, leaving civilian radar, transponder switched off and the rapid climb in altitude mixed with a possible depressurised cabin could knock out the passengers and rest of the crew. They dont mention it would be lethal – but I’m guessing it would be, especially to the infants and those in poor health if not to all.
Question is, which pilot and the motivation. Sounds like the work of the more senior pilot; perhaps politically motivated, perhaps solely for the life insurance and ditching the plane where it might never be found so blame could not be levelled. He just hasnt factored in the “non-communication” communication the aircraft and its engines were giving off.
The younger co-pilot, perhaps ideology? Though if the proposed flight path is correct a 9/11 attack on the Petronas Towers in KL looks unlikely. So does just quitely ditching it at sea. Surely a flight in to the badlands of Pakistan or Afghanistan is also too far fetched. As Iain points out India will have a sophisticated radar system itself.
China is the last big question. Just coincidence and unfortunate that it was that particular route with so many of their nationals on board, or a good reason to have a greater military presence in the area for the protection of their citizens.
Doing a bit of reading about cabin pressurisation and the Greek crash of 2005 when the controls were set to manual and they all succumbed and the plane continued to fly until it ran out of fuel and crashed, I’d say they were all dead before the plane got to 45,000, and the ‘uneven’ levelling back is the autopilot retaking control. Continues to fly and drops in to the Indian Ocean.
Perhaps the pilot was depressed over the trial verdict?
The thing about destroying an aircraft for political purposes is that it may well suit the perps to make no claim of responsibility until the world has been putting a great deal of effort into finding the missing plane the strategic pause can really make the catharsis of the reveal much greater.
I don’t think so, Iain. Terrorists are all about the big shock – ie the instant impact of an explosion or a plane crashing into a building. If it was ‘death by pilot’ and Islam-inspired he’d have flown it into that God awful twin tower building in KL (and done us a favour by ridding the world of some ugly architecture).
When it comes to terrorists always expect a change n the script between incidents.
Oh okay, Iain, I won’t spoil your day by saying you’re actually really hoping this turns out to be an act of Jihad rather than the more likely scenario that the pilot was driven by personal demons. What else can we blame on Islamists?
It is nice to be vindicated when you make an early call in an event such as this but I really hope that they find the plane has landed some where and the passengers and crew are fine. I don’t expect this to be the case but that is what I wish for.
I don’t get the cartoons, Iain, but you might like this from my Facebook page:
Tintin connection: In his comic book Flight 714, published in 1968, Belgian cartoonist Hergé penned a plot which resembles some aspects of the Malaysian mystery.
In the plot, set in the Far East, Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus are offered a lift in a millionaire’s private jet. As event unfold (panel 1 above), the aircraft is hijacked by the pilots and brought to a deserted volcanic island; (2) the jet manages to make a rough landing on a makeshift roll-out runway; and (3) gunmen surround the plane and Tintin’s dog Snowy makes a run for it.
After several close shaves – and even a meeting with aliens – the friends finally make it safely on to Flight 714 and to their original destination, Sydney.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581817/Doomed-airliner-pilot-political-fanatic-Hours-taking-control-flight-MH370-attended-trial-jailed-opposition-leader-sodomite.html#ixzz2wAs5lOpC
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That’s not how terrorists usually operate Iain. They carry out acts of sabotage and violence to make a political point and intimidate the general public. This missing plane does neither because nobody knows who is responsible or why they did it. Not much point in carrying out an act of mass murder and suicide without bragging about it. Well there is the 72 virgins I guess…
I am old enough to remember when the PLO used to hijack planes and they worked on taking them, flying them to a remote airfield and threatening to blow them up on the ground if their demands were ignored.
The Israelis put paid to that MO
then Bin laden realised that a fully fuelled jet is essentially a flying bomb and that changed the tactics but we have made such tactics harder and the response was to just try to blow planes up without warning , hence we had the shoe and underpants bombers and the plot to use liquid explosives to bring down planes. You just can’t say that because they have not done something before that they won’t do it now.
Any predictions for the objects detected by satellite but not yet visualized in the southern ocean? If it is the wreckage of MH370 at that distance then the fuel tanks in the wings would be empty and could conceivably give buoyancy. 24 M would be the right size for a 777 wing.
It sounds like there is actually a debris field in that location that they can see, and if you can see that you can be fairly confident on what the 24 M piece is bobbing up and down ‘awashed’.
I suspect they’re fairly confident, seeing as all available current assets have been deployed to gain confirmation, but access to other planes and ships aren’t being actively requested for the rest of the possible search area.
Yes Simon if that is a wing from the plane it could still be a very long way from where the rest of the plane is and most importantly where the black box my be and with out that part of the puzzle we may not be a great deal closer to knowing what happened. Though a piece of wreckage that big does suggest ditching in the sea of an intact plane
It looks more like a shipping container to me. What wasn’t announced by Tony Abbott when he grabbed world centre stage by interrupting Parliament to make the announcement, is that the satellite imagery was captured on Sunday 16 March by a US sattelite. Four days old. No wonder they haven’t found it yet. A bit of grandstanding, Tony?
Ray shipping containers are not 24m long.
I thought that Abbott’s announcement was fine and his demeanour was anything but a piece of grand standing. Your precious Rudd would have had the government jet over the Indian Ocean with a swag of media on board so that he could personally find the plane and prove to the world what an Uber-PM he was.
Okay, but it doesn’t look like a wing either. Let’s hope it is from the plane, so there’s some closure. I doubt they’ll ever find the black box if it’s in that area, though, as it’s 3000 – 5000 metres deep around there. As for Abbott, I still reckon he was grandstanding. Those announcements should be left to the officials conducting the search but no, he had to hog the international limelight.
This is an amusing aside about the paucity of Fax news on this issue
EVEN if the objects that satellite images show floating in the southern Indian Ocean turn out to be connected to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, actually finding the Boeing 777 could still be months off.
Just getting the required robotic submersibles to the site would take a month, and once they arrive it could be one to six months before they find the missing airliner, says David G. Gallo, director of special projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Still, he expressed confidence that undersea-exploration specialists would succeed.
The remote area of the southern Indian Ocean where Australian-led search operations are focused lies above part of the Southeast India Ridge, which runs east-west and slopes away from a peak roughly 2500 meters (8200 feet) under the surface
This is interesting.
A pilot’s point of view on what could have happened..
Well if the wreckage off the coast of WA turns out to be the plane in question, that theory is out the window. If there was an electrical fire it is unlikely that the plane flew that distance (the limits of its fuel capacity) whether on autopilot or manual.
I’m still sceptical about whether the wreckage is the plane though. For one thing it is 24 metres long, which means it’s got to be the fuselage or a wing. So why is it still floating? And will it still be floating now? And will they find it, given that they are looking for a 24 metre object in an area the size of Victoria?