MH370: Day 6…. Shot down? flew on for 4 hours? The Malaysian muddle continues.

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The muddle continues.

The New York Times questions why the military did not react:

Military radar then detected an unidentified aircraft at several points, apparently headed west across the Malaysian peninsula and out into the Indian Ocean, the head of the country’s air force told reporters. The last detected location was hundreds of miles to the west of where search and rescue efforts were initially focused. The military took no immediate action on Saturday to investigate the unidentified blips, whose path appeared to take the aircraft near the heavily populated island of Penang, and only later realized the significance of the radar readings.

Or did they react in some crazy knee-jerk fashion …?

There is something not quite right about the military story. It could just be incompetence or it could be something else.

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Malaysia’s defence and acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein (a cousin of the Prime Minister) just stated at the press conference that crew members homes were not “raided”. Now the Home Minister (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) has announced that police did indeed visit their homes and families of crew members have indeed been questioned in a “search for clues”!!!!

The lack of command and control structure is apparent.

Reuters carries an analysis of the systemic ills in Malaysia.

The ruling United Malays National Organisation has long been criticized, including by some of its own members, for cronyism, an authoritarian streak and breeding a political culture in which loyalty is prized over talent. Majority ethnic Malays have benefited from a system of economic and social privileges that has steadily alienated ethnic Chinese and Indians, who make up large minorities in the nation of 29 million people.

…. Malaysia’s response has been overseen personally by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who put his cousin – the defense and acting transport minister Hishamuddin Hussein – in charge of day-to-day operations and interaction with the media. …… 

It goes on to warn that China may well fill the vacuum left by the lackadaisical approach to maritime awareness:

Bowers, the Southeast Asia specialist, said Malaysia’s apparent mishandling of the situation could have long-term strategic consequences in a region where China’s economic and military might is growing rapidly. “They have no maritime domain awareness and it doesn’t look like they have a strong command and control structure and they’re not well coordinated with friends. Sadly, that’s what the MH370 situation demonstrates,” he said of Malaysia.

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A new press conference is under way:

  • Day 6, 12 countries searching, 40+ships, 40+aircraft >>> nothing new
  • search continues – both eastwards and westwards
  • Rolls Royce and Boeing received no information from the plane after 1.07am on Saturday morning.
  • police had not raided the homes of crew members (but it is implied that some kind of investigation is ongoing)
  • the Chinese satellite images were “released by mistake” and without authorisation says Chinese Ambassador statement
  • The report of 4 hours of continued flying is “inaccurate” — is just the reported time duration inaccurate?

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Was the plane shot down by mistake? If the military picked up the plane on radar how was it determined to be “friendly”? Seems incredible but it is day 6 and ……….

CCTV Twitter stream

CCTV 1

CCTV 1

CCTV 2

CCTV 2

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The WSJ says that data automatically downloaded for maintenance from the B777 engines suggest that the plane was in the air for 4 hours

Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, according to two people familiar with the details, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky.

Four hours could have taken the plane to India or to the North-Western coast of Australia.

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They are not compelling but the proximity of the suspected crash site from the Chinese satellite images to the location reported by an oil rig worker who saw a burning aircraft adds some credibility to the theory that the plane went down along its projected flight path. Probably soon after the last reported contact. But why there is so little surface wreckage remains unanswered.

The above image shows the approximate coordinates given by a New Zealand oil rig worker who believes he may have seen flight MH370 crash. The lower image plots the coordinates given by Chinese authorities of the large pieces of debris spotted by satellite on Sunday March 9. Photograph: /Map data : AutoNavi, Google, Kingway, MapIT, ZENRIN (via The Guardian)

The above image shows the approximate coordinates given by a New Zealand oil rig worker who believes he may have seen flight MH370 crash. The lower image plots the coordinates given by Chinese authorities of the large pieces of debris spotted by satellite on Sunday March 9. Photograph: /Map data : AutoNavi, Google, Kingway, MapIT, ZENRIN (via The Guardian)

The Chinese satellite images are from Sunday but there is no wreckage at the location now.

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Further examples of the “incompetence” of the Malaysian authorities comes from this Washington Post article showing doctored pictures of the two Iranians who travelled on false passports. It is said to be a photocopying error and nothing malicious by the Malaysian police. maybe not malicious  but pretty incompetent.

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