Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Malaysia flight 370 Mystery May 8 , 2014 - a new conspiracy theory floated by Dr Steve Piecznik - "The Americans have put up a good show. First diverting all the attention and search effort in the South China Sea while the plane made their way to Indian Ocean. Then they came out with some conflicting statement and evidence to confuse the world. The Australians are the co-actor." Could this incident actually be centered on the Us preventing China from obtaining a stolen command and control system stolen during the Afghanistan withdrawal ? This theory actually reinforces the plane being taken to Diego Garcia .....
Friday, 09 May 2014 09:24
PRE-PLANNED & TIMED? Two months on, missing MH370 jet story is off the radar
Exactly two months ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am for Beijing, but vanished mid-air with 239 people on board.
No trace of Flight MH370 has been found despite the most intensive search in commercial aviation history.
The mystery over the March 8 disappearance of MH370 remains unsolved; all that there is to show are hundreds of conspiracy theories and endless speculation.
When MH370 talk dominated internet
Almost for a month after the aircraft vanished, news searches on MH370 dominated internet traffic.
Even a shred of information on the missing plane, credible or not, became a hot topic instantly in the digital world. People shared whatever information was being put out immediately.
When government agencies posted satellite pictures of suspected MH370 debris in the public domain, they got shared around the world in a matter of minutes.
Almost all websites constantly updated latest news on the aircraft, using live blogs and Twitter streams. There was no dearth of stories.
MH370 is still missing and the story count is down.
The last time searches on MH370 peaked was on March 24, the day Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak went on air and said the plane may have crashed in the Indian Ocean.
After that there is a gradual drop in the search graph.
Even in the social media space, discussion around MH370 has waned.
Below is the tweet graph for the last 30 days.
Earlier this week, Razak expressed Malaysia's resolve to continue the search for MH370. "Although we have yet to come up with results until now, the government is determined to continue with the search with the co-operation of friendly countries, particularly Australia which has shown extraordinary commitment to help Malaysia find our aircraft," he said.
Malaysia has also released a preliminary report on the disappearance of the plane. According to the report, air traffic controllers failed to notice for 17 minutes that the jet had gone off the radar and did not activate a rescue operation for nearly four hours.
Friday, 09 May 2014 09:22
Geopolitics of MH370 & why M'sia was called a 'LYING BASTARD' for 9 weeks
THERE will be no let-up in the efforts to find the missing Malaysian Airlines jet Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, vowed on May 5th. Despite his promise, however, there is growing acceptance that it will take months even years to find any trace of flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8th. Hopes that any of its passengers might still be alive must also be cast aside. The new search area in the Indian Ocean will alone cover 60,000 square kilometres (23,000 square miles)—and that is on top of the 4,600,000 square kilometres already scoured. Because the focus of the search-and-rescue mission has now moved to the west coast of Australia, Malaysians have some breathing space to reflect on a traumatic two months in the glare of the world’s attention. The country has taken a battering, but the longer-term damage is another matter. The saga has emphasised how much Malaysia matters in the geopolitics of the region: the two Pacific superpowers, America and China, have both come to play big roles in the search for the missing plane, if in very different ways.
In any reckoning, Malaysia’s handling of the loss of MH370 has been a public-relations disaster. The tone was set during the first week by the authorities’ confusion, stonewalling and contradictory messages. One of the gravest flaws has been a deep reluctance to release information, however innocuous. This antagonised the victims’ families. And the problem persists. On May 1st the Malaysian government published a much-heralded report on the disappearance of the plane. This turned out to consist of just five pages, containing little new information. But, as one government adviser admitted: “If we had got this out there in the first week, there wouldn’t have been a nine-week drumbeat of everyone calling us lying bastards.”
Opposition politicians and critics of the government say that the damage to Malaysia’s reputation is a result of the country’s poor governance. Malaysia, the argument goes, is more authoritarian than democratic, with little transparency or accountability in government.
There is some truth to that. But government officials are justified in feeling frustrated that the failures of communication have overshadowed their success in efficiently putting together an extraordinary coalition of countries to look for the plane. On the technical side, many acknowledge that Malaysia has done an adequate job with the relatively limited means at its disposal. It has also gone beyond the call of duty in opening up to its search partners, sharing sensitive details of its military radar system, for example, with the Chinese.
One person who has stood up for Malaysia over MH370 is Barack Obama. During a recent long-scheduled visit to Malaysia, the American president went out of his way to laud the country’s leadership of the search operation. America has contributed a vast amount of equipment, man-hours and money to the search for the missing plane, out of all proportion to the three Americans (out of 227 passengers) lost on the flight. This has brought the two countries closer, at a time when America is searching for new and reinvigorated alliances in the region. Historically, there has been a good deal of anti-Americanism in Muslim-majority Malaysia, but for the time being that seems to have been stilled. Mr Obama got a hero’s welcome from everyone.
That in turn may help account for the zigzag course of China in the MH370 affair. The flight was en route to Beijing, and over half the passengers were Chinese. But rather than support the Malaysian government in the first month or so, China seemed to incite the distraught families into ever fiercer, often histrionic, criticism of Malaysian officialdom, perhaps to deflect attention from the possibility that the plane might have been downed by home-grown terrorists. The Chinese did nothing to dispel some of the alternative, wilder conspiracy theories circulating in Beijing.
In recent weeks, however, the tone has changed. The Chinese ambassador to Malaysia has told the Chinese-language press in Kuala Lumpur that his country accepts that the disappearance of MH370 was not some dark conspiracy and that Chinese-Malaysian relations are unaffected. The wave of criticism in the official Chinese press has largely abated. Perhaps China feels, in the regional battle of wills with America, that it needs good relations with Malaysia and that these were threatened by its attacks. Malaysia is China’s largest trade partner in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). It also has a large ethnic-Chinese population, and thus could be helpful in its disputes in the South China Sea with other ASEAN countries, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, both firmly backed by America.
Mr Najib makes an official visit to China at the end of this month, marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, initiated by Malaysia’s then prime minister, Abdul Razak, Mr Najib’s late father. With power so finely balanced in the region, China will strive to make the visit go smoothly, including keeping angry families at a face-saving distance.
Thursday, 08 May 2014 06:28
MASS MURDER ON BOARD MH370? A US plot with Australia, M'sia its cover-up co-stars
May 7, 2014 marked the end of a chapter in the search for missing Malaysian flight MH370, as the airline and government signaled their intention to move away from the tragedy with the closure of support centres opened 2 months ago for the families of the passengers and crew.
While the move may take some of the heat, especially off Prime Minister Najib Razak's beleaguered regime which has been panned for bungling and mishandling search efforts, it is unlikely to douse the deep interest global citizens have in the mystery.
Instead, more details are likely to emerge paving the way for a clearer picture to be formed, with the red herrings and wild goose chases hatched by the US and executed by the Malaysian and Australian authorities subsiding and cancelling each other out.
Murder most foul
Chances are high MH370 will never be found. That there has been a devious conspiracy at the very highest levels and extending even to shocking mass murder of those on board can no longer be dismissed.
Conspiracy theories will flourish and rule as it will be in one of these that the truth will lie hidden.
One of the more plausible theories, buzzing around the coffee shops in Malaysia and China for weeks now, appears to have finally made it to the news portals. This is the version from Australia's International Business Times:
On May 5, officials from Malaysia, Australia and China decided to expand the search for the missing MH370 beyond a remote area of the Indian Ocean off Western Australia. MH370's flight path will be re-examined, going back to step 1.
All efforts unsuccessful, yet there is full confidence in the search area
All data obtained from fruitless search will be re-analysed by Wednesday.
"We've got to this stage of the process where it's very sensible to go back and have a look at all of the data that has been gathered, all of the analysis that has been done and make sure there's no flaws in it, the assumptions are right, the analysis is right and the deductions and conclusions are right," Mr Angus Houston, head of the search operation, said in a press conference in Canberra.
He added that the underwater search will continue on for up to another year.
Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss admitted all efforts made were unsuccessful.
"Unfortunately, all of that effort has found nothing. We've been confident on the basis of the information provided that the search area was the right one, but in practice, that confidence has not been converted into us discovering any trace of the aircraft."
US put-up show with Australia AND M'sia the co-stars in cover-up
As the nations searching for the missing plane were back to square one, one theory traced back all theorists surrounding MH370, sewing them all together.
For Dr Steve Pieczenik, one of the world's most experienced international crisis managers and hostage negotiators, the Americans have put up a good show with MH370, with Australians as its co-actors.
Pieczenik had 20 years of experience handling international crises for five US administrations - as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Bush Sr. and was a Senior Policy Planner under president Reagan; worked directly with, and reported directly to, Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, George Schultz and James Baker, as well as the respective White Houses.
"The Americans have put up a good show. First diverting all the attention and search effort in the South China Sea while the plane made their way to Indian Ocean. Then they came out with some conflicting statement and evidence to confuse the world. The Australians are the co-actor," he wrote in his blog.
Taliban stole US control system & sold to the Chinese
Pieczenik noted an incident in Feb 2014 where while Americans were withdrawing from Afghanistan, Talibans hijacked and ambushed their convoy and seized the command and control system which weighed about 20 tons and packed into 6 crates.
The Talibans planned to sell the American control system to the Russians and the Chinese. While Russia was busy in its own crisis, China took the opportunity to negotiate for the control system which could render all American drones futile. China sent its 8 most reputable scientists to check for the system before paying.
Malaysia's co-operation essential for China to be able to transport system home
Pieczenik alleged that on March 2014, these 8 scientists and the 6 crates went to Malaysia where they kept the cargo in the Embassy under diplomatic protection. To safely transport the cargo, they had it via a civilian aircraft - MH370 - thinking Americans will not likely hijack a civilian flight.
America, on the other hand, asked for Israeli intelligence to have the cargo back in its custody. The country then sent five Americans and two Israeli agents on board the Malaysian plane. As remembered, MH370 had 2 "Iranian" with stolen passports.
"When MH370 is about to leave the Malaysian air space and reporting to Vietnamese air control, one American AWAC jammed their signal, disabled the pilot control system and switched over to remote control mode. That was when the plane suddenly lost altitude momentarily," Pieczenik wrote.
Diego Garcia: Only dead people will not talk
He said that AWAC were all installed with a remote control system following the 911 tragedy.
At this point, American/Israeli agents switched off the transponder and other communication system -- changed course and flew westwards.
"The plane flew over North Sumatra, Anambas, South India and then landed at Maldives (some villagers saw the aircraft landing), refueled and continued its flight to Diego Garcia, the American Air Base in the middle of Indian Ocean. The cargo and the black box box were removed. The passengers were silenced via natural means, lack of oxygen. They believe only dead people will not talk. The MH370 with dead passengers were air borne again via remote control and crashed into South Indian Ocean, make it to believe that the plane eventually ran out of fuel and crashed, and blame the defiant captain and co-pilot," Pieczenik said, weaving all popular theories on MH370 all together. - Malaysia Chronicle
Published: Thursday May 8, 2014 MYT 7:19:00 PM Updated: Thursday May 8, 2014 MYT 7:21:53 PM
MH370: Malaysian life insurance companies pay over RM14mil to next of kin
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian life insurers have paid over RM14.2mil in compensation payouts to the family members of passengers with life insurance onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.
Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) president, Vincent Kwo said life insurance companies in Malaysia had taken a consolidated and proactive approach in expediting the claims process of compensation payouts to the next of kin.
He said payments had been and were being made to several next of kin over the past few weeks without having to go through the normal process.
“The total amount of claims paid to the next of kin to date stands at approximately RM14.2mil out of a total exposure of RM18.7mil. A total of 184 policies were issued by life insurance companies in Malaysia.
“The balance of RM4.5mil in claims is pending the official submission of documentation by the next of kin,” he said in a statement, here, Thursday.
Kwo said they understood the grief of the family members and were ready to pay out faster and make it easier for them to make their claims.
“We have waived the requirement of death certificates, and setting this as a top priority and we have put in our best efforts to pay out the claims within a week from the receipt of full documentation of the claimants.
"We encourage family members to get in touch with the respective insurance companies and submit your claims. If they are unsure if their family members onboard had purchased life insurance, they may contact the LIAM hotline at 03-26916628 which handles queries on MH370 claims’ procedures,” he said.
Kwo said member companies of LIAM once again would like to express their support in light of the events that unfolded with regard to MH370, the crew and passengers onboard.
“We would also like to commend the Malaysian government, its various agencies, MAS and its international collaborators for their tireless search and rescue efforts,” he added.
On March 8, the Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200ER aircraft with 239 passengers and crew onboard disappeared from radar screens about an hour after leaving the KL International Airport at 12.41am.
Seventeen days later, the flight path of MH370 was believed to have ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
An ongoing massive search for the missing aircraft has found nothing, so far. – Bernama
Published: Thursday May 8, 2014 MYT 6:59:00 PM Updated: Thursday May 8, 2014 MYT 7:06:33 PM
PETALING JAYA: When Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 first went missing, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was a hive of activity.
On March 8 and in the first days and weeks that followed, volunteers, non-governmental organisations, the media and public could be seen swarming the Anjung Tinjau (viewing area) near the departure area in KLIA.
Many were there to give out flowers and pray for the safety of the 239 people on-board the Beijing-bound flight.
It was here that members of the public showed their support by signing the giant “PRAY FOR MH370” boards.
Two months on from the plane’s disappearance however, there does not seem to be much reminder of the incident.
Anjung Tinjau was off-limits except to staff and those wanting to pray at the surau when The Star Online visited on the airport Wednesday.
One entrance to the area was blocked by a stack of tables while the other entrance was manned by auxiliary police.
“No one is allowed to go in unless they are staff or want to pray,” said a policewoman on duty, without explaining why the place was now off limits.
Abdul Rahim Che Puteh, 35, who was at the airport a few times in the early days after MH370 went missing said he noticed the difference in the atmosphere as compared with two months ago.
“I dropped my friends at the airport several times and I remember how difficult it was to even find parking then,” he said.
For Abdul Rahim and many others, the plane’s disappearance is a tragedy.
MH370 left KLIA at 12.41am on March 8 with 14 crew and 227 passengers from 14 different nations. Most of those on-board the flight were Chinese and Malaysians.
The plane lost contact with air traffic control between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace at 1.20am.
The Boeing 777 then turned back towards the Straits of Malacca before making its way to the Andaman Sea. The plane is then believed to have “ended” in the southern part of the Indian Ocean.
For more than a month now, a large-scale search and rescue operation has been ongoing to find the debris of the aircraft.
Media coverage on the tragedy has been scaled down tremendously and many have stopped talking about it altogether.
For staff at the airport, however, the memory of the plane’s disappearance lingers on.
The Star Online spoke to a few of the staff, although none of them wanted to be identified because they were not allowed to speak to the media.
“We at the airport feel it because this was the last place the passengers were seen. The memory of the incident will linger forever,” said a staff in charge of visitors to the airport.
“There are too many unanswered questions. How can a big plane just vanish?” he added.
For many others, though, the tragedy seems to have lost its significance.
Nizam, 72, who was also at the airport on Wednesday said that while the tragedy shocked many and that he felt for the families of the passengers, he admitted that he no longer follows the news updates.
“It has faded from the memories of people, including mine. That’s just human nature,” he said.
Even the tweets with the #MH370 hashtag are few and far between, something noticed by Twitter user Mohammed Hanif.
“8th May. 2 months. Obviously nobody cares anymore. Except the families. Non-stop hoping, non-stop waiting for a miracle,” he tweeted on Thursday.