Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Day 26 , 2014 --What do you mean by flight MH370 'ENDED' in the ocean, Pakistan asks Najib to CLARIFY ....... M'SIA BREAKS UNDER STRESS: Minister now lashes out at Boeing, Rolls-Royce as MH370 search remains FRUITLESS ..... And Enemies list being drawn up by Malaysian Authorities also demonstrates strange defensiveness..... ..... No signs of debris linked to Flight 370 on the surface found to date , Submarine joins hunt ..... The investigation into Malaysia Airlines' flight 370's disappearance may never find the true cause, the country's police chief warned on Wednesday......
PERTH: The protracted search for missing Flight MH370 was boosted by the arrival of a British submarine in the Indian Ocean ahead of a visit to Australia by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak
The personal jet of Oscar-winning New Zealand movie director Peter Jackson is also now reportedly being used in the multinational hunt for the plane that vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Despite extensive scouring of remote Indian Ocean waters by planes and ships southwest of Perth where Malaysia believes the plane went down, nothing has been found so far that would indicate a crash site.
“No significant developments to report,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority tweeted after 10 planes returned from flying sorties on Tuesday evening in a now familiar update on drawing a blank.
But in a boost to the search effort, Britain’s Royal Navy said submarine HMS Tireless has arrived in the area and “with her advanced underwater search capability will be able to contribute to the attempts to locate the missing plane”.
While planes, ships and helicopters have all been deployed, it is the first submarine to be drafted in.
Britain’s HMS Echo is also due in the search zone shortly to assist Australia’s Ocean Shield naval vessel, which is fitted with a US-supplied “black box” detector and is expected to arrive on Friday.
The battery-powered signal from the black box — which records flight data and cockpit voice communications that could indicate what happened to the plane — usually lasts only about 30 days, with time fast running out to find it.
Australia has warned against expectations of quick success in the difficult task of recovering the black box from the deep and vast seas.
Retired Australian air chief marshal Angus Houston, who is heading a new coordination centre in Perth, reiterated Wednesday that the odds were stacked against them.
“The reality is it’s the most complex and challenging search and recovery operation I’ve ever seen,” he told national radio.
“If we don’t find anything on the surface, we’ll have to think about what we do next.”
Najib is due in Perth on this evening to tour the air base being used as a staging post and meet with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott, as well as Houston.
Despite this, Houston said: “The cooperation with Malaysia has been first class.” In an effort to appease angry relatives, a closed-door briefing is scheduled for Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur with families of those who were on board the plane to hear from technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia.
On Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines finally revealed the full radio communications with the pilots of the missing flight, but the routine exchanges shed no light on the mystery.
The previously unreleased conversations between MH370’s pilots and air traffic controllers had been the subject of much speculation as suspicions have focused on whether one or both of the pilots deliberately diverted the plane.
But they revealed nothing about what happened aboard the ill-fated jet.
“There is no indication of anything abnormal in the transcript,” a Malaysian government statement said of the 43 separate transmissions over nearly 54 minutes, which were thick with air-traffic and navigational jargon.
Malaysia’s authoritarian government — which muzzles its own pliant mainstream press — revealed it was compiling a dossier of “false” media reports over the crisis and would consider filing lawsuits.
Transport and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said on his Twitter feed that the country’s attorney general had been instructed to “compile evidence and advise” on possible legal action --AFP
File pic of The British nuclear submarine HMS Tireless approaches the port of Gibraltar. The protracted search for missing Flight MH370 was boosted with the arrival of British nuclear submarine HMS Tireless in the Indian Ocean. AFP PHOTO
KUALA LUMPUR: France today assured Malaysia of continued assistance in the form of expertise in the search for a missing Malaysian airliner.
French Ambassador to Malaysia Martine Dorance gave the assurance when she called on Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia at his office at Parliament House. This was disclosed by Pandikar Amin after the meeting.
He said Dorance expressed her country's sympathy over the incident and said Paris best understood the feelings of Malaysian leaders as France had also been in such a situation during the Air France 447 tragedy in 2009.
"France pledged to support Malaysia's efforts and hoped that the aircraft will be found soon.
"We discussed France's experience during the Air France tragedy and their expertise will be used to help search for MH370," he told reporters.
Pandikar Amin said Dorance expressed disappointment at the inaccurate media reports on Malaysia's handling of the search operation for the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 that went missing over the South China Sea.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.
A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors - the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of Boeing 777-200 aircraft, that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean".
The search continues there, having entered its 26th day today. -- BERNAMA
The MH 370 Boeing 777 had advanced “emergency locator equipment” which was emitting signals, which should have facilitated its location. It was subsequently established that the MH 370 flight had gone Southbound towards the Indian Ocean.
Located in the Indian Ocean, the US Diego Garcia military and intelligence base –described by defense observers as the “best-kept secret in the navy”– has a gamut of advanced observation and detection equipment which should have facilitated the search of the Malaysian airlines plane.
According to Reuters (28th March, 2014, quoted by Matthias Chang):
Ultimately, the only country with the technical resources to recover the plane – or at least its black box recorder, which could lie in water several miles deep – may be the United States. Its deep-sea vehicles ultimately hauled up the wreckage of Air France 447 after its 2009 crash into a remote region of the South Atlantic.
The US has a state of the art spy satellite system, with very precise capabilities of monitoring the earth’s surface, including moving objects. These technologies are part of the United States Space Surveillance Network. The Diego Garcia base “is one of only a handful of locations equipped with a Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance system for tracking objects in deep space”. Given the levels of sophistication of these observation technologies, it is highly unlikely that the MH370 flight could have travelled unnoticed over a large span of the Indian Ocean.
Another Indian Ocean Disaster: The December 2004 Tsunami
The recent stance of the US military and its failure to act in relation to flight MH 370 bears a canny resemblance to that adopted by Washington in relation to the Indian Ocean tsunami tragedy in December 2004.
Both events pertain to advanced observation and tracking technologies located at Diego Garcia. In both cases the US military remained mum.
In the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami hitting the coastline of Sri Lanka and Thailand on December 26, 2004, “a spokesman for the US national weather service confirmed … that the Hawaii centre, part of America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had alerted the Diego Garcia base. He did not know if American military personnel at the base alerted anyone else in the region to the danger.” (The Guardian, January 6, 2005, emphasis added)
The Weather Service alerts the Military? The presumption was that the people at the Diego Garcia military facility were totally unaware of what was going on and had no information concerning the tsunami and its deadly trajectory. An absurd proposition.
Known and documented, the US military at Diego Garcia had advanced systems which enabled it to monitor in a very precise way the movement of the seismic wave in real time as well as the precise trajectory of the Tsunami. Yet they chose not send out an emergency warning which would have saved hundreds of lives in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia.
Who informs whom? While the Hawaii Centre had formally notified Washington and the Military at Diego Garcia, the US government already knew, because the seismic data pertaining to the tsunami (transmitted out of the Diego Garcia facility) had been processed within minutes by an agency under the jurisdiction of the US Department of the Interior, namely the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) based in Golden, Colorado.
Metallic Debris on the Ocean Floor
The search for the debris of the Malaysian Boeing 777 and its blackbox has terminated without obtaining relevant evidence on the causes of the accident.
The key question: does the US military know where these debris are?
The Diego Garcia base also has advanced technologies which enable it to undertake detection of metal objects on the Indian Ocean floor. Why are these technologies not being applied?
Let me state from the outset that I totally agree with the press statements by Malaysia’s Defence Minister and Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that “we have conducted ourselves fairly, responsibly and history will judge us for that.”
And to a mischievous and presumptuous question from a correspondent of the Financial Times, Datuk Seri with confidence and integrity rightly said without any fear of contradiction that, “I don’t think we could have done anything different from what we have already done.” Well done!
The Financial Times, CNN and other foreign media ought to pose similar questions to the US and its intelligence services and stop insinuating that Malaysia has not been transparent and/or engaged in a cover-up. Foreign media should stop engaging in dirty politics!
It is my hope that following the publication of this article, Malaysian mass media will focus on questioning the integrity of the US’s assistance to Malaysia in the first three weeks of the SAR mission, notwithstanding its recent offer of more assistance.
I take comfort that my reservations about the US and its intelligence services as well as other intelligence services closely linked to the US, especially British secret service, have been more than vindicated by Reuters in its news report on 28th March, 2014 entitled Geopolitical games handicap hunt for flight MH370
The search for flight MH370, the Malaysian Airlines jetliner that vanished over the South China Sea on March 8, has involved more than two dozen countries and 60 aircraft and ships but has been bedevilled by regional rivalries.
… With the United States playing a relatively muted role in the sort of exercise that until recently it would have dominated, experts and officials say there was no real central coordination until the search for the plane was confined to the southern Indian Ocean, when Australia largely took charge.
Part of the problem is that Asia has no NATO-style regional defence structure, though several countries have formal alliances with the United States. Commonwealth members Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia also have an arrangement with Britain to discuss defence matters in times of crisis.
As mystery deepened over the fate of the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew, most of them Chinese, it became clear that highly classified military technology might hold the key.
But the investigation became deadlocked over the reluctance of others to share sensitive data, a reticence that appeared to harden as the search area widened.
“This is turning into a spy novel,” said an envoy from a Southeast Asian country, noting it was turning attention to areas and techniques few countries liked to publicly discuss.
Ultimately, the only country with the technical resources to recover the plane – or at least its black box recorder, which could lie in water several miles deep – may be the United States. Its deep-sea vehicles ultimately hauled up the wreckage of Air France 447 after its 2009 crash into a remote region of the South Atlantic.
While Putrajaya has been forced to reveal some of the limits and ranges of its air defences, the reluctance of Malaysia’s neighbours to release sensitive radar data may have obstructed the investigation for days.
At an ambassadorial meeting in the ad hoc crisis centre at an airport hotel on March 16, Malaysia formally appealed to countries on the jet’s possible path for help, but in part met with polite stonewalling, two people close to the talks said.
Some countries asked Malaysia to put its request in writing, triggering a flurry of diplomatic notes and high-level contacts.
‘It became a game of poker in which Malaysia handed out the cards at the table but couldn’t force others to show their hand,“ a person from another country involved in the talks said.
As in the northern Indian Ocean, where Chinese forces operate alongside other nations to combat Somali piracy, current and former officials say all sides are almost certainly quietly spying on and monitoring each other at the same time. (emphasis added)
The United States has taken advantage of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight to test the capabilities of China’s satellites and judge the threat of Chinese missiles against its aircraft carriers, reports our sister paper Want Daily.
Erich Shih, chief reporter at Chinese-language military news monthly Defense International, said the US has more and better satellites but has not taken part in the search for flight MH370, which disappeared about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of March 8 with 239 people on board. Shih claimed that the US held back because it wanted to see what information China’s satellites would provide.
The above is the reality which we have to confront. Therefore, desist any attempt to label the above mainstream media articles as a “conspiracy theory”. Reuters has let the Genie out of the bottle!
Malaysia’s Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Hishammuddin gave hints of Malaysia’s difficulties (as his hands were tied by intelligence protocols and or refusal by the relevant foreign intelligence services and diplomatic reluctance) but our local media failed to appreciate the nuances of his statements by not directing their questions at those parties that have failed Malaysia as their neighbour and in their duties under various defence treaties and arrangements.
Malaysian media, please read at the minimum three times, the sentences in bold AND WAKE UP TO THE REALITY that our country has been badly treated even though our country put all its national security cards on the table so that countries whose nationals are passengers on flight MH 370 could come forward with sincerity to assist in resolving this unfortunate tragedy which is not Malaysia’s making.
Malaysia is but a victim of this tragedy whose plane, MH 370 was used for a hidden agenda for which only time will reveal.
In my previous article posted to the website on the 27th March, 2014, I exposed how Israel is exploiting the tragedy to create public opinion for a war against Iran, a Muslim country that has close ties with Malaysia.
At the outset of the SAR Mission, all concerned stated categorically that every scenario, no matter how unlikely would be examined critically with no stones left unturned – terrorist hijacking, suicide mission, technical failures, inadequate security, criminal actions of the pilot and or co-pilot etc.
Given the above premise, families of the passengers and the crew of MH 370 have every right to ask the following questions of the US and other countries that have sophisticated technologies to track and monitor airplanes and ships in all circumstances.
Such questions should not be shot down by those who have a hidden agenda that such queries amount to “conspiracy theories”. Far from being conspiracy theories, we assert that the questions tabled below and the rationale for asking them are well founded and must be addressed by the relevant parties, failing which an inference ought to be drawn that they are complicit in the disappearance of MH 370.
Lets us begin.
1) Was the plane ordered to turn back, if so who gave the order?
2) Was the plane turned back manually or by remote control?
3) If the latter, which country or countries have the technologies to execute such an operation?
4) Was MH 370 weaponised before its flight to Beijing?
5) If so, what are the likely methods for such a mission – Biological weapons, dirty bombs?
6) Was Beijing / China the target and if so why?
7) Qui Bono?
8) The time sequence of countries identifying the alleged MH 370 debris in the Indian ocean was first made by Australia followed by France, Thailand, Japan, and Britain via Immarsat. Why did US not offer any satellite intelligence till today?
9) Prior to the switch of focus to the Indian ocean, was the SAR mission in the South China seas, used as a cover for the deployment of undersea equipment to track and monitor naval capabilities of all the nations’ navies competing for ownership of disputed territorial waters? Reuters as quoted above seems to have suggested such an outcome.
10) Why was there been no focus, especially by foreign mass media, on the intelligence and surveillance capabilities of Diego Garcia, the strategic naval and air base of the US?
11) Why no questions were asked whether the flight path of MH 370 (if as alleged it crashed in the Indian Ocean), was within the geographical parameters of the Intelligence capabilities of Diego Garcia? Why were no planes deployed from Diego Garcia to intercept the “Unidentified” plane which obviously would pose a threat to the Diego Gracia military base?
12) The outdated capabilities of the Hexagon satellite system deployed by the US in the 1970s has a ground resolution of 0.6 meters; what’s more, the present and latest technologies boast the ability to identify objects much smaller in size. Why have such satellites not provided any images of the alleged debris in the Indian Ocean? Were they deliberately withheld?
13) On April 6th, 2012, the US launched a mission dubbed “NROL-25” (consisting of a spy satellite) from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The NROL-25 satellite was likely rigged with “synthetic aperture radar” a system capable of observing targets around the globe in daylight and darkness, able to penetrate clouds and identify underground structures such as military bunkers. Though the true capabilities of the satellites are not publicly known due to their top-secret classification, some analysts have claimed that the technology allows the authorities to zoom in on items as small as a human fist from hundreds of miles away. How is it that no imagery of MH370 debris was forwarded to Malaysia, as this capability is not classified though other technologies might well remain classified? (Source: Slate.com)
14) Could it be that the above capabilities were not as touted?
15) However, in December, 2013, the USAtlas V rocket was launched carrying the spy satellite NROL-39 for the National Reconnaissance Office, an intelligence agency which is often overshadowed by the notorious National Security Agency (NSA), only it scoops data via spy satellites in outer space. The “NROL-39 emblem” is represented by the Octopus a versatile, adaptive, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide. The emblem boldly states “Nothing is beyond our reach”. This virtually means that the tentacles of America’s World Octopus are spreading across the globe to coil around everything within their grasp, which is, well, everything (Source: Voice of Moscow). Yet, the US with such capabilities remained silent. Why?
It cannot be said that it is not within the realm of probabilities that the US may not want the plane MH 370 to be recovered if rogue intelligence operators were responsible for the disappearance of MH 370.
If the above questions have been posed to the US and other intelligence agencies and answers are not forthcoming, I take the view that the Malaysian government ought to declare publicly that our national sovereignty and security have been jeopardized by the disappearance of MH 370 and that the relevant intelligence agencies have been tacitly complicit in the disappearance of MH370.
By coming out openly to explain the predicament faced by our country, Malaysia may prevent a hostile act against a third country.
I therefore call upon Malaysian mass media to be courageous and initiate such queries as only the US and other intelligence agencies can give definitive answers to the above 15 questions.
It is futile to demand answers from Malaysia as we are not in any position to supply the information as we do not have the capabilities of the global and regional military powers.
Malaysians must unite behind the government so that our leaders need not feel that they are alone shouldering this enormous burden.
Matthias Chang is a prominent Malaysian lawyer and author, who served as political secretary and adviser to former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Khalid Abu Bakar said true cause of vanished flight MH370 may not be found. Photograph: Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media
The investigation into Malaysia Airlines' flight 370's disappearance may never find the true cause, the country's police chief warned on Wednesday.
Khalid Abu Bakar said the case "may go on and on and on" and urged people to be patient as he briefed reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
Investigators believe the Beijing-bound flight was diverted deliberately by someone on board not long after taking off from the Malaysian capital early on 8 March. But with no wreckage from the Boeing 777 yet detected, despite a massive international hunt in the southern Indian Ocean, they have few clues to help them determine who caused the diversion and whether it was malicious.
"At the end of the investigations, we may not even know the real cause. We may not even know the reason for this incident," said Khalid.
He added that officers had conducted more than 170 interviews with relatives of the pilots and 10 other crew members. The investigation is still focused on four possible areas – hijacking, sabotage and personal or psychological problems of those on board – but so far, checks on the crew members and passengers have raised no red flags.
"We must be very thorough and we need all the time … you cannot hurry us," the inspector general said. "We have to clear every little thing."
He said police were also investigating the cargo and even the food served on the plane to eliminate possible sabotage. Airline rules require pilots and co-pilots to eat different meals in case of food poisoning.
Relatives of the 227 passengers, particularly the many Chinese citizens, have criticised the handling of the search and investigation, and confusing or contradictory statements by Malaysian authorities.
Najib Razak, the Malaysian prime minister, is due to arrive in Australia on Wednesday afternoon to meet Tony Abbott, the country's prime minister, and see the headquarters for the Indian Ocean search for himself. Nine ships and nine aircraft are scouring a vast area roughly 930 miles west of Perth.
Abbott told Perth Radio 6iX that the case was "one of the great mysteries of our time".
He added: "It's a terrible tragedy. There are 239 devastated families. We owe it to the world, we owe it to those families to do whatever we reasonably can do get to the bottom of this."
Three more ships – two Australian and one Malaysian – are on their way to the search zone. The British submarine HMS Tireless arrived in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday night to help with the search for flight MH370 and its black box recorder. Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo will also begin search efforts on Wednesday.
With the hunt now in its fourth week, there may only be a few days left before the electronic beacons that help searchers track the flight data and cockpit voice recorders run out of power.
Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who heads the team co-ordinating operations, told ABC Radio: "The reality is it's the most complex and challenging search and recovery operation I've ever seen," he said.
"If we don't find anything on the surface, we'll have to think about what we do next, because clearly it's vitally important for the families, it's vitally important for the governments involved that we find this airplane."
While the new search area enjoys calmer weather than the previous Indian Ocean zone, further off the Australian coast, broken clouds, fog and thunderstorms are likely to hamper crews on Wednesday, Houston's team said.
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 12:52
What do you mean by flight MH370 'ENDED' in the ocean, Pakatan asks Najib to CLARIFY
Pakatan Rakyat leaders have urged the government to explain what it actually meant when Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said that the MH370 flight "ended in the southern Indian Ocean" in a late press conference on Mar 24.
DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang said it was clearly a "mistake" by Najib to make such an announcement and then have acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein assert that Najib never said that the plane crashed.
Lim questioned Najib's move to register a special motion to express sympathy for the families of those on board the ill-fated flight the following day in Parliament, after many national newspapers had paid tribute to the plane with the assumption that the plane had "crashed".
"He could have said there are indications or possibilities. What he said was not conclusive at all," he said during a press conference at Parliament today. - Mkini
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 06:27
M'sia draws up ‘ENEMIES LIST’ in bid to stop criticism against its mishandling of MH370 tragedy
A BRITISH nuclear submarine is set to join the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Malaysia’s Defence and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein revealed the news via Twitter, saying he had just received word from the UK’s secretary of state for Defence, Philip Hammond, that HMS Tireless will join in the search effort.
The Ministry of Defence said the Trafalgar class submarine had arrived in the southern Indian Ocean and would soon be joined by the survey vessel HMS Echo.
Both ships carry advanced underwater search capabilities which will be applied in the search for the ultrasonic ‘pings’ being emitted by the missing aircraft’s black box flight recorders.
It may prove to be one of the last missions for HMS Tireless, which had originally been scheduled to be scrapped in 2013.
The nuclear-powered submarine was launched in 1984. It carries a crew of 130 and 18 officers.
OFF THE RADAR
The Australian-operated support vessels Ocean Shield and Seahorse Standard have both vanished from ship tracking services as they steam to the search area.
The bright red Ocean Shield was purchased as part of an emergency program to replace the failed Landing Platform (Dock) vessels HMAS Kanimbla and Manoora. These ships, bought second-hand off the United States Navy, were discovered to be in a far worse structural condition than anticipated and were deemed unsafe for operations.
Seahorse Standard has been contracted by the Australian Defence Force for this search mission.
Both have been tasked with carrying towed sensors intended to find missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s black box flight recorders.
The unarmed Ocean Shield is not part of the Royal Australian Navy. It has instead been given the designation “Australian Defence Vessel” instead of “Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS)”.
Its purpose is to assist in disaster relief and defence logistics operations.
Seahorse Standard, which is under lease and has not been given any form of military designation, departed for the search area yesterday.
Ocean Shield is expected to reach the search zone on Friday. Seahorse Standard is likely to arrive shortly after.
China’s government has been less secretive about the movements of its unarmed survey vessel Xue Long. The ship has been observable since it entered the search early last week. It is currently returning to Chinese waters.
Combat vessels are not tracked by civilian maritime movements services.
The several naval vessels China has committed to the search remain unseen. HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba are also not visible on the ship-location websites.
The two Australian support vessels will join the flotilla of three other Australian vessels and more than six Chinese ships in the search zone.
The Malaysian frigate KD Lekiu is also en route.
Civil service ... Ocean Shield docked at naval base HMAS Stirling while being fitted with an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and towed pinger locator to aid in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Picture: Rob GriffithSource: AP
HOUSTON TAKES ON THE CHALLENGE
Head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston has stressed the search for MH370 is one of a kind, but he isn’t putting a timeframe on how long it will continue.
“I can’t think of a set of circumstances in a search and rescue or a search and recovery as demanding and as complex as this,” he told ABC Radio from Perth this morning.
“The reality is it’s the most complex and challenging search and recovery operation now that I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“We have to keep searching and searching with vigour.”
He said it was vital to find debris on the surface of the ocean, to then narrow the search underwater.
Air Chief Marshall Houston claimed there isn’t a “precise” aircraft location for six hours before the plane went down somewhere.
“So we have a very large search area which has to be scoured by aircraft and ships,” he added.
He said the use of visual search techniques take a long time and have been hindered by the weather.
“There is nothing more demanding than trying to find things in a sea with lots of white caps.”
But he refused to put a time on how long the search effort will continue.
“Clearly it’s vitally important for the families, it’s vitally important for the governments involved that we find this.”
“I’m just pointing out it won’t be easy.”
He praised the “truly impressive” work of those conducting the search.
As Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives in Perth today, Air Chief Marshall Houston argued cooperation with the country has been “absolutely first class”.
Task master ... Retired Australian air chief marshall Angus Houston speaks about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at a press conference yesterday. Picture: Greg WoodSource: Getty Images
MALAYSIA ON THE ATTACK
This morning Malaysia revealed it would gather “false’’ media reports over the crisis and consider filing lawsuits.
Mr Hishammuddin said on his Twitter feed the country’s attorney general had been instructed to “compile evidence and advise’’ on possible legal action.
Earlier in the day he was quoted by the Malay Mail newspaper as saying: “We have been compiling all the false reports since day one. When the time is right, the government should sue them.’’
The MH370 saga and resulting world attention has put Malaysia’s long-ruling authoritarian government — which muzzles its own pliant mainstream press — in the unaccustomed position of having to answer tough questions from reporters.
The potential lawsuits emerged as Malaysian officials released the official transcript of the last conversation between the cockpit of flight MH370 and air traffic controllers before it vanished.
However, Mr Hishammuddin said the transcript showed nothing awry before the pilot or copilot delivered the final words: “Good night, Malaysian three seven zero.”
Australian and International Pilots Association president Nathan Safe agreed tonight the transcript appeared “completely benign”.
“There is absolutely nothing in the transcript that even hints at being unusual to me,” he said.
“It all looks normal to me. The whole ‘goodnight’ part is totally innocuous. I’ve said it a hundred times myself.
“Not even 1 per cent of its contents would raise suspicion for me.”
The search is ongoing in the southern Indian Ocean with a number of countries, including Australia, still involved in trying to locate where MH370 ended up.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak will visit Perth today to see the rescue efforts himself and thank international crews involved in the hunt for the missing plane.
Still searching ... Kazuhiko Morisawa looks out of a window of a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream aircraft during the search for wreckage and debris of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.Source: AFP
Mr Hishammuddin, who has run the government’s near-daily briefings on the situation, was also forced to deny various anonymously-sourced reports revealing details of Malaysia’s investigation into the March 8 disappearance of MH370 with 239 people aboard.
He took particular aim on Monday against British tabloid the Daily Mail, which at the weekend quoted a “source close to the family’’ of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah as saying police had learned he was emotionally unstable before the flight amid alleged marital trouble.
“I can confirm to you that the information did not come from the police and you should ask Daily Mail how they get the information,’’ Mr Hishammuddin said tersely when asked about the report.
In a Facebook comment reported by local media, Zaharie’s daughter Aishah Zaharie accused the Daily Mail of “making up’’ the report.
The Daily Mail also reported earlier that Zaharie was said to be a fanatical supporter of Malaysia’s political opposition. Friends and acquaintances have denied that.
Suspicions have fallen on Zaharie, 53, and his copilot Fariq Abdul Hamid after Malaysian officials said the plane was believed to have been deliberately diverted by someone with flying knowledge. But nothing has emerged to suggest either had any motive to go rogue.
The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition — in power since independence in 1957 — has a poor record of transparency, routinely sweeping corruption scandals and other embarrassments under the rug.
Malaysia’s independent web-based news organisations are largely unfettered due to a promise by the government in the 1990s not to censor the internet, but their reporters say they are routinely harassed or blocked from government press briefings.
Power of prayer ... Buddhist monks offer prayers for the passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at a Buddhist temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Source: AP
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 06:43
M'SIA BREAKS UNDER STRESS: Minister now lashes out at Boeing, Rolls-Royce as MH370 search remains FRUITLESS
In a sign of the huge strain in hunting for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has expressed frustration at the failure of international agencies, and the makers of the missing Boeing 777 and its engines, to explain what went wrong.
The acting Transport Minister suggested to Chinese television channel CCTV that it was unfair for Malaysia Airlines to be singled out for criticism in the way they communicated to the families of the missing 227 passengers and 12 crew.
"MAS will have to do a better job in engaging those families.
"But just putting MAS on the witness stand [is not enough] - we also need to bear in mind what is the role and the responsibility of Rolls Royce, of Boeing, of all these expert agencies. Where is their voice?," Hishammuddin said in an interview carried by CCTV yesterday.
The video clip (see below) of the interview was uploaded to CCTV's YouTube video sharing account yesterday.
Flight MH370 was carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early March 8 when it lost contact with air traffic control within an hour of its six-hour flight. It has not been found yet.
Hishammuddin also questioned why the airline sent out a text message in English last week stating there were no survivors but said other agencies will also have to provide answers to the plane's mysterious disappearance.
"It is easy to target people. I'm not defending MAS. They will have to answer about the SMS and how they translate things and how they engage with the families.
"But at the same time I want to see the international agencies also stand out there, because we paid millions of dollars to buy the aeroplanes, fly the engines, pay for their expertise. And now those technology is being questioned by the world," he said in the interview.
Both Boeing and Rolls-Royce, which supplied the engines for the twin-jet, have not made any public statements about the lost aircraft although it is understood that they are cooperating with US air safety investigators.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that American officials and others said Boeing was upset that it took about three hours – much longer than would be typical – for Malaysian authorities to inform company representatives the jet hadn't been heard from.
Boeing's team remains "quite frustrated and doesn't trust the process", according to one person familiar with the company's views.
Hishammuddin also said in the CCTV interview that Malaysia was still looking at a criminal motive for the plane's disappearance due to either terrorism, hijacking, or a crew member with a personal or psychological problem.
He said in a statement today that both the international investigations team and Malaysia were still in agreement that MH370's movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone aboard.
"Up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, MH370's movement were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane," the minister said.