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Monday, April 14, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery Day 39 April 15 , 2014 -- MH370 Tragedy: US denies MH370 'cover-up' ..... A SURPRISE ATTACK? China's military newspaper likens missing MH370 to Pearl Harbor ........ The US Embassy here, in an email to the New Straits Times, said claims that MH370 was hidden somewhere in its island military base, Diego Garcia, were also wild allegations ..... Malaysia jet search area too deep for submarine , MH370 Tragedy: Search resumes
Never believe something until it's officially denied .......
RIDICULOUS: It's just baseless conspiracy theories, says US embassy official
KUALA LUMPUR: WASHINGTON has strongly refuted all allegations of a cover-up in the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
As discussions, including on social media, on United States purported role behind the Boeing jetliner going missing continue to swirl, Washington, through its embassy here, said that they were all "baseless conspiracy theories".
The US Embassy here, in an email to the New Straits Times, said claims that MH370 was hidden somewhere in its island military base, Diego Garcia, were also wild allegations.
"This is a baseless conspiracy theory that has already been debunked around the world, and the White House Press Secretary specifically addressed this on March 18," said the embassy's press attaché Harvey Sernovitz.
A popular theory was that American Philip Woods, who was on board the plane, had posted a picture of his whereabouts from his phone, the location of which was later purportedly traced to Diego Garcia.
Washington also addressed allegations that logs at Diego Garcia from March 8 to 10, had been wiped clean.
"These reports are completely false. MH370 did not land in Diego Garcia. This is a baseless conspiracy theory."
Sernovitz said his government also denied that they had withheld information from Kuala Lumpur that could help with investigations. Washington, he said, was in fact among the first to respond to the Kuala Lumpur-led search and rescue mission.
"This is another conspiracy theory, also untrue. US experts, both from the US government and from Boeing and other companies, were the first to arrive, and their contributions have been critical to the search.
"I encourage you to ask the Malaysian government to describe the assistance it has received from the US government and companies.
"In the meantime, we continue to provide all relevant technical, investigative and search and recovery support as requested by the government of Malaysia. We will continue to share information and analyses about MH370."
Commenting on allegations hurled against Malaysia that it had been holding back information, he said, "This is a difficult search and investigation from a technical perspective and, in many ways, is a one-of-a-kind event in aviation history.
"Our focus has always been to work with the Malaysian government to locate the aircraft and provide technical and investigative assistance as requested by the Malaysian government.
"Under the coordinating efforts of Malaysia and Australia, the US Navy's 7th Fleet is working alongside 26 other nations to locate the aircraft based on areas identified by Malaysian and international experts."
The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration vessel ‘Hai Xin 01’ as seen on Sunday from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean as the search continues for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
PERTH: Up to nine military aircraft, two civil aircraft and 11 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 62,063 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2,170 kilometres north west of Perth.
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle deployed last night from ADV Ocean Shield.
After completing around six hours of its mission, Bluefin-21 exceeded its operating depth limit of 4,500 metres and its built in safety feature returned it to the surface.
The six hours of data gathered by the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is currently being extracted and analysed.
Bluefin-21 is planned to redeploy later today when weather conditions permit.
The weather forecast for today is south easterly winds with scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms, sea swells up to two metres and visibility of five kilometres.
The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret'd), will provide further updates if, and when, more information becomes available. -- JACC
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 17:56
A SURPRISE ATTACK? China's military newspaper likens missing MH370 to Pearl Harbor
Throughout the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, commentators have groped for analogies to convey the enigma of how a Boeing 777-200 could disappear without a trace. China’s official military newspaper, the Liberation Army Daily, may well be the first to liken the aircraft’s loss to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
On Tuesday, a commentary in the newspaper sought to draw military lessons from the loss of the plane, which investigators believe went down in the southern Indian Ocean off western Australia with 239 people on board. If even in this age a large aircraft can just vanish, it said, planes could still be used to mount surprise military attacks, like the 1941 strike by Japanese forces on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The commentary said China and other countries could use the search to improve international cooperation for dealing with such incidents. But China’s armed forces, it suggested, needed to learn the importance of vigilance from Malaysia’s failure to respond promptly when the plane veered wildly off course on March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.
“The most famous surprise attack was when the Japanese forces attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor,” the commentary said.
“It has been widely believed that so long as you establish a relatively comprehensive defensive system of three-dimensional information monitoring, then it would be very difficult for traditional surprises to succeed,” the commentary said. The author’s name was given as Fang Xing, but his or her identity was not described, and the name may be a pseudonym.
“But the fact that the Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared is a warning to us that surprise attacks can still happen on this planet,” the commentary said. “It may well be that the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane could serve as a model for warmongers and terrorists.”
About two-thirds of the 227 passengers on the missing aircraft were Chinese citizens, prompting intense public interest in the tragedy and expectations that the government would act. Indeed, China has taken a prominent role in the search, but its contribution has also brought some skepticism as to whether its capabilities have matched its sheer numbers of search planes and ships.
On April 5, Chinese state media outlets reported that a Chinese search vessel, the Haixun 01, had detected what might be signals from the missing plane’s flight recorders. But the reports gave few details, and pictures of the search equipment appeared to show gear unlikely to work for searching at such depths. Investigators have discounted the signals as a false lead, Angus Houston, the Australian overseeing the search in the southern Indian Ocean, said on Monday.
The Liberation Army Daily did not dwell on that episode, which involved a civilian maritime administration ship. But the newspaper argued that the media coverage of the search was also a “war for public opinion.”
“The war for opinion throughout the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane must not be underestimated,” it said. “This could be called a classic example of war for opinion in a nonwarfare military operation.” -sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 07:39
'US MILITARY HAND' tops list of CONSPIRACY THEORIES surrounding MH370's disappearance
The search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has now entered its 38th day.
Search teams are now focusing their attention on an area in the southern Indian Ocean after several pings were detected, suspected to be from the stricken jet's black box data recorders.
Later today a sophisticated underwater search vehicle called Bluefin 21 will plunge into the depths to try and locate any debris.
Despite mounting evidence the missing plane crashed into the ocean, there are still many a conspiracy theorist out there who has other ideas.
From a US military cover up or an insurance scam, to an Afghan hijacking or even alien abduction there are hundreds of theories flying around.
Follow all the latest news and reaction from Malaysia as it happens in our live blog
Here's our guide to some of the best - and craziest - conspiracy theories.
US military conspiracy
The United States have been forced to flatly deny claims that the plane landed at its military base on the remote island of Diego Garcia.
There were strong rumours that the jetliner could have headed for the small coral atoll in the Indian Ocean, which sits around 3,500km from Malaysia.
However, a spokesman for the US embassy in the Malaysian capital said there was no truth in this speculation.
He told Malaysia's Star newspaper by email: "There was no indication that MH370 flew anywhere near the Maldives or Diego Garcia.
"MH370 did not land in Diego Garcia."
Conspiracy? A Russian intelligence source has claimed the aircraft landed near Kandahar
A Russian newspaper claimed MH370 has been hijacked and flown to Afghanistan, where the crew and passengers are now being held captive.
A military source reportedly told the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper: "Flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines missing on March 8 with 239 passengers was hijacked.
"Pilots are not guilty; the plane was hijacked by unknown terrorists. We know that the name of the terrorist who gave instructions to pilots is "Hitch.
"The plane is in Afghanistan not far from Kandahar near the border with Pakistan."
Others have since gone on to indicate that the passengers have been divided into seven groups and are living in mud huts with almost no food.
Social media users have jumped on the possibility of extraterrestrial life having something to do with the missing plane.
One user wrote: "After an extensive conversation with my father & his partner, we have come to the conclusion that the only explanation is #aliens mh370."
Another added: "I secretly believe that plane is abducted by aliens.. I know I’m not the only one.."
And one user even said there were only two possibilities for its disappearance, aliens or a DB Cooper-style heist.
He wrote: "This Malaysian airlines flight has the potential to be either the greatest heist since DB Cooper, or alien abduction. I vote aliens."
A life insurance scam
The Malaysian police chief refused to rule out the possibility of the missing plane being an elaborate insurance scam.
Khalid Abu Bakar addressed the world last month to provide an update on the investigation and revealed authorities were exploring every single avenue - no matter how remote.
"Maybe somebody on the flight has bought a huge sum of insurance, who wants family to gain from it or somebody who has owed somebody so much money, you know, we are looking at all possibilities," he said.
The authorities' investigations extend to examining every detail of the passengers for any clues as to what may have happened.
"We are looking very closely at the video footage taken at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), we are studying the behavioural pattern of all the passengers," he added.
Reddit users have seemingly taken a keen interest in the disappearance.
One, known only as i-am-SHER-locked apparently uncovered that the Boeing 777 in question was the 404th such aircraft to be produced.
"An HTTP 404 error means not found," they wrote. "Which in this case is oddly appropriate for the status of the aircraft, or just a coincidence.
"Coincidence, I think not."
In on it? Whistleblower Edward Snowden could be central to the disappearance. Or not
There were early suggestions 20 employees from the Texas-based Freescale Semiconductor were on board the flight.
So Reddit user Dark_Spectre has put two and two together and come up with, well, you decide.
"So we have the American IBM Technical Storage Executive for Malaysia, a man working in mass storage aggregation for the company implicated by the Snowden papers for providing their services to assist the National Security Agency in surveilling the Chinese," he wrote.
"And now this bunch of US chip guys working for a global leader in embedded processing solutions (embedded smart phone tech and defense contracting) all together..on a plane..And disappeared.. Coincidence??"
He goes on to that the plane itself was kidnapped by Chinese authorities to uncover more about Snowden's revelations.
Electronic warfare experiment
A theory suggesting the plane was hidden as part of an experiment has circulated.
Citizens news site Beforeitsnews.com reported: "It is conceivable that the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane is 'cloaked', hiding with hi-tech electronic warfare weaponry that exists and is used.
"In fact, this type of technology is precisely the expertise of Freescale, that has 20 employees on board the missing flight."
It also sparked theories the plane could have been taken by North Korea for similarly unknown purposes.
A reddit user wrote: “There’s no telling what crazy logic they [North Korea] might have for taking a plane. They literally have no grasp of reality and have been caught red handed kidnapping foreigners, making s**t up and generally being d****es.”
One of the most widely held theories is that there was a fire on board that killed all on board but burned out before damaging the exterior of the plane.
This would explain why the aircraft, on auto-pilot, would fly such a long distance off course.
An aviation source said that if this was the case, it would have hit the water at around 600mph after gliding down from 35,000ft.
The source said: “The plane would not have dropped like a stone, it would have glided down from 35,000ft for around 10-12 minutes after it had exhausted its fuel.
“It would have hit the water with a massive impact - as though the plane had landed on concrete. Nobody could have survived that.
“There would have been a huge explosion with the wings ripped off and the fuselage would probably have plummeted straight down.”
A military take out or secret weapon at work
Conspiracy theory and scientific site Natural News, run by Mike Adams, has another theory.
Adams said: “If we never find the debris, it means some entirely new, mysterious and powerful force is at work on our planet, which can pluck airplanes out of the sky without leaving behind even a shred of evidence."
He added: “If there does exist a weapon with such capabilities, whoever controls it already has the ability to dominate all of Earth's nations with a fearsome military weapon of unimaginable power."
He believes the plane fell into an area "outside the search zone" and could lead to a very dark end for Earth.
Devastated: Families still don't know for sure what happened to MH370 and those on board
One explanation for the sudden disappearance, according to some, could be pilot suicide.
But so far no evidence has come to light to suggest either captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah or co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid had such intentions.
John Brennan, head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), told the Daily Mail, when asked if it was a possibility: "I think you cannot discount any theory."
Malaysian police have attempted to investigate whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said at a news conference: "We are looking at all possibilities."
Other theorists have claimed the pilot or crew could have hijacked the plane themselves.
But Hugh Dunleavy, the commercial director of Malaysia Airlines, said the captain in charge of the flight was a very seasoned pilot with an excellent record.
"There have been absolutely no implications that we are aware of that there was anything untoward in either his behaviour or attitude," Dunleavy told Reuters in an interview.
"We have no reason to believe that there was anything, any actions, internally by the crew that caused the disappearance of this aircraft."
Cracks in the aircraft
Six months before the plane went down, the U.S. aviation watchdog warned airlines of a problem with cracks in Boeing 777s that could lead to a mid-air break up or a catastrophic drop in pressure.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued an alert in September last year giving airlines until April 9 to detect and correct cracking in the fuselage skin on Boeing 777s.
The FAA warned that failure to do so would leave the aircraft vulnerable to ‘a rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity’.
The organisation issued a final directive just two days before the Malaysia Airlines plane took off and said one airline had found a 16-in crack in the fuselage skin of a 14-year-old plane.
However, Boeing said that the FAA alert did not apply to the missing jet because it did not have the same antenna as the rest of the Boeing 777s.
It's in an Asian Bermuda triangle
The idea there could be a second Bermuda Triangle seems a popular one on social media.
Its sudden and unexplained disappearance from radar could have several explanations, whether it be a sudden explosion or mid-air disintegration, or even a mechanical failure.
But some theorists believe it simply means the plane has entered another Devil's Triangle.
Boats and planes have been known to disappear in the patch of sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, known as the Bermuda Triangle, including Flight 19 in 1945, when five torpedo bombers mysteriously vanished.
But could there really be another one?
One Twitter user wrote: "So...what is up with this Malaysian airplane thing? Is there an Asian version of the Bermuda Triangle?"
Another added: "Maybe there's such thing as Asian bermuda triangle. #Malaysia #MalaysiaAirlines."
Terrorists crashed it into the sea
So far no terrorist groups have claimed responsibility for the missing flight, but that hasn't stopped theorists claiming it's the only explanation.
The two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports really triggered this possibility, with many believing they must be part of a huge cover up to sink the plane.
Pilot David Learmount, who is operations and safety editor of Flight Global magazine, said: “Something happened and the pilots did not tell anyone. Why? It’s a good question.
“It’s extraordinary the pilots failed to call because they had plenty of time to. Unless there was a bomb on board but there has been no evidence of that.”
Other groups, however, have claimed responsibility over the last few days, including an unknown Chinese group.
An email was sent to various journalists in China, saying: “You kill one of our clan, we will kill 100 of you as payback.”
But officials in Malaysia have said they believe the group's claim could be a hoax.
The email did not explain what had happened to the plane. -Mirror.co.uk
Malaysia jet search area too deep for submarine
By MARGIE MASON, Associated Press | April 13, 2014 | Updated: April 14, 2014 8:47pm
FILE - In this April 1, 2014 file photo, provided by the U.S. Navy, the Bluefin 21 autonomous sub is hoisted back on board the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield after successful buoyancy testing in the Indian Ocean, as search efforts continue for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Search crews will send the sub deep into the Indian Ocean on Monday, April 14, 2014, for the first time to try to determine whether signals detected by sound-locating equipment are from the missing Malaysian plane's black boxes, the Australian head of the search said. Angus Houston said the crew on board the Ocean Shield will launch the underwater vehicle sometime Monday evening.
PERTH, Australia (AP) — The search area for the missing Malaysian jet has proved too deep for a robotic submarine which was hauled back to the surface of the Indian Ocean less than half way through its first seabed hunt for wreckage and the all-important black boxes, authorities said on Tuesday.
Search crews sent the Bluefin 21 deep into the Indian Ocean on Monday to begin scouring the seabed for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 after failing for six days to detect any signals believed to be from its black boxes.
But after only six hours of its planned 16-hour mission on the sea bed, the autonomous underwater vehicle exceeded its maximum depth limit of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) and its built-in safety feature returned it to the surface, the search coordination center said in a statement on Tuesday.
What if anything it might have discovered during the six-hour search was still being analyzed, it added.
The Bluefin 21 will resume the search Tuesday when weather conditions permit, it said.
Search authorities knew that the primary wreckage from Flight MH370 was likely lying at the limit of the Bluefin's dive capabilities. Deeper diving submersibles have been evaluated, but none is yet available in the search area.
The sub would have been programed to return to the surface once it exceeded the 4,500-meter limit, but a safety margin would also have been included to protect the device from damage if it went a bit deeper, said Stefan Williams, a professor of marine robotics at the University of Sydney.
"Maybe some areas where they are doing the survey are a little bit deeper than they are expecting," he said. "They may not have very reliable prior data for the area, so they have a general idea. But there may be some variability on the sea floor that they also can't see from the surface."
Meanwhile, officials were investigating an oil slick about 5,500 meters (3.4 miles) from the area where the last underwater sounds were detected, said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search off Australia's west coast.
Crews have collected an oil sample and are sending it back to Australia for analysis, a process that will take several days. Houston said it does not appear to be from any of the ships in the area, but cautioned against jumping to conclusions about its source.
The Bluefin 21 can create a three-dimensional sonar map of any debris on the ocean floor. But the search in this area is more challenging because the seabed is covered in silt that could potentially cover part of the plane.
"What they're going to have to be looking for is contrast between hard objects, like bits of a fuselage, and that silty bottom," Williams said. "With the types of sonars they are using, if stuff is sitting up on top of the silt, say a wing was there, you could likely see that ... but small items might sink down into the silt and be covered and then it's going to be a lot more challenging."
The search moved below the surface after crews picked up a series of underwater sounds over the past two weeks that were consistent with signals from an aircraft's black boxes, which record flight data and cockpit conversations. The devices emit "pings" so they can be more easily found, but their batteries only last about a month and are now believed dead.
"Today is day 38 of the search," Houston told a news conference on Monday. "We haven't had a single detection in six days, so I guess it's time to go under water."
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott raised hopes last week when he said authorities were "very confident" the four strong underwater signals that were detected were from the black boxes on Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board, mostly Chinese.
But Houston warned that while the signals are a promising lead, the public needs to be realistic about the challenges facing search crews in the extremely remote, deep patch of ocean — an area he called "new to man."
"I would caution you against raising hopes that the deployment of the autonomous underwater vehicle will result in the detection of the aircraft wreckage. It may not," Houston said. "However, this is the best lead we have, and it must be pursued vigorously. Again, I emphasize that this will be a slow and painstaking process."
Houston, a retired Australian chief air marshal, called the search "one of the largest search and rescue, search and recovery operations that I've seen in my lifetime."
The Ocean Shield had been dragging a U.S. Navy device called a towed pinger locator through the water to listen for any sounds from the black boxes' beacons.
The Bluefin sub takes six times longer to cover the same area as the ping locator, and the two devices can't be used at the same time. Crews had been hoping to detect additional signals before sending down the sub, so they could triangulate the source and zero in on where the black boxes may be.
The submarine takes 24 hours to complete each mission: two hours to dive to the bottom, 16 hours to search the seafloor, two hours to return to the surface, and four hours to download the data, Houston said.
The black boxes could contain the key to unraveling the mystery of what happened to Flight 370. Investigators believe the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean based on a flight path calculated from its contacts with a satellite and an analysis of its speed and fuel capacity. But they still don't know why.
But Houston said the visual search operation will end in the next two to three days. Officials haven't found a single piece of debris confirmed to be from the plane, and he said the chances that any would be found have "greatly diminished."
"We've got no visual objects," he said. "The only thing we have left at this stage is the four transmissions and an oil slick in the same vicinity, so we will investigate those to their conclusion."
Up to 11 planes and as many ships were to join Tuesday's search over 62,000 square kilometers (24,000 square miles), 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) northwest of Perth.