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Jan 18, 2015

MH370: Is it time to investigate the investigators?

A Canadian mathematician, Brock McEwen, says it’s high time to investigate the MH370 inve

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Choose your heist? Gold bullion inside plane, or riches on the plain?

A Canadian mathematician, Brock McEwen, says it’s high time to investigate the MH370 investigators themselves because there are reasons to believe the search is being set up to fail for reasons unknown.

It’s a compelling analysis at a number of levels, but manages to self destruct at a critical point by buying into an unscientific conspiracy theory that the sea floor search has been materially diverted into one seeking ocean floor mineral riches.

Trying to put that really silly part of the paper aside, the balance of McEwen’s thesis raises some very serious matters, including some that have long been flagged here on Plane Talking not on a mathematical basis, but on common sense grounds including unexplained inconsistencies in the narratives of the Australian and Malaysian authorities.

For those who have been following the MH370 saga closely McEwen isn’t part of the Independent Group that includes Duncan Steel (who is well known and respected in this country) but acknowledges their support and advice and cites much of their work in coming to his conclusions.

For those who haven’t followed developments closely, there are some key events so far that have been brushed off or frozen out of frame by the Australian led and managed search that McEwen raises, as well as one that he inexplicably ignores.

Australia assumed the management of the search for MH370 on 18 March 2014, ten days after it disappeared as a transponder identified airliner on ATC screens while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people listed as having been on board.

Between 20-26 March last year a range of satellite images of objects floating on the surface of the southern Indian Ocean west to southwest of Perth were published.  McEwen ignores the possible significance of these images, which may well have included objects from MH370 as well as the more abundant  presence of flotsam off commercial shipping.

However McEwen doesn’t ignore that rather abrupt shifting of the then largely aerial search priority far to the north west, pointing out that this move and a subsequent further shift meant looking in places that MH370 could never have crashed if the communications data, available fuel and likely flight performance data and main southwards turning point assumptions were being taken seriously.

In short, McEwen is leading us to ask if the search priorities were swiftly moved away from any risk that floating debris would actually be found.

It’s a very good question. It has become abundantly clear that Australia was dealing with a dishonest and incompetent Malaysian government when it came to disclosures about MH370 not to mention alleged dishonest dealings that we are forbidden to mention in another matter widely publicized throughout SE Asia because the Abbott government is muzzling the Australian media over a serious additional matter that makes its Je suis Charlie posturing about freedom of the press look shallow and shabby.

These doubts about the integrity of the ‘story’ coming from the Malaysian and Australian authorities have been championed in no uncertain manner by the president and CEO of Emirates, Tim Clark, as also widely reported in Plane Talking  and foreign media, rather than the cowed Australian general media.

McEwen also catches the feeble excuses that the chief commissioner of the ATSB Martin Dolan made for the decision to rush away from what looked like the best leads we have had so far when it came to the fate of MH370.

However like the Independent Group, McEwen seems to misunderstand Dolan and the ATSB in their constant criticism of him for not answering their questions in full or in satisfactory detail.

Dolan wouldn’t (on the basis of his various embarrassing press conferences) even understand their questions. He is a discredited civil servant whose integrity was called into doubt in no uncertain manner by the all party Australian Senate inquiry into the ATSB’s disgraceful crash investigation of the Pel-Air ditching near Norfolk Island in 2009.

The last time the Prime Minister of Australia or his deputy, and the transport minister, Warren Truss, were even referring to Mr Dolan by name was back when a television reporter asked the chief commissioner to explain the difference between a great circle route and a straight line, resulting in one of the most cringe worthy and embarrassing performances even given by an aviation administrator on live national television.

The ATSB has itself been found seriously wanting by a peer review of their procedures in producing that report by the Transport Safety Board of Canada, and the responsible Minister, when he can bring himself to focus on this humiliation, continues to amaze the aviation sector by his inability to resolve the compromised position the ATSB, and the regulator CASA, have been put in by the Pel-Air matters.

If the Independent Group was street smart, as well as scientifically incredibly smart,  it would be pursuing the parties advising the ATSB on the management of the search,  that is, grilling the chefs, not the waiters.

McEwen asks some very pertinent questions about the early April ‘we have pings’ embarrassment for Australia, and in particular, its supposedly expert Naval underwater acoustics laboratory, which lead to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, humiliating the country by very publicly declaring to the people and government of China in particular, that Australia was on the verge of locating MH370, in a place where with dispassionate analysis of the then known facts, it couldn’t have possibly been anyhow.

It also led to this reporter publishing the most cringe worthy post ever on Plane Talking  saying that the voices of the missing on MH370 were being heard from the deep.

While the writer can’t talk for the PM, we share the mortification.

McEwen’s analysis develops the need to examine the investigators, the real ones reporting directly to Kuala Lumpur, in a persuasive manner, yet there is a second very disappointing blemish in relation to the claimed call to a co-pilot’s cell phone after the 777 diverted from its filed flight path.  McEwen even relies on a CNN report in relation to this, which is more than appalling given that CNN couldn’t even find Canberra on a map of Australia and briefly managed to locate Perth in Tasmania.

The phone calls that were referred to in a media conference in Australia were to a company satphone, not a cell phone, so his analysis as to how a cell phone call couldn’t have been connected via a ground tower  to a 777 flying above a certain altitude is beside the point. McEwen seems to have put undue reliance on unconfirmed media ‘myths’ about MH370, which is unnecessary given the self-incriminating flaws in the information directly released by the authorities themselves.

With blemishes like these, this report destroys much of its credibility.  If it was redone dealing only with the mathematical problems, and the credibility or otherwise of the satellite images, and the unanswered satphone issues, it might be a much more convincing document.

It might even lead to pressure to search more realistic locations on or near the seventh arc than might presently be the case.

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51 thoughts on “MH370: Is it time to investigate the investigators?

  1. Deano DD

    Bla Bla Bla

    They have already found MH730
    It was shot down over the Ukraine

  2. Rais

    When the investigators might have something to lose or gain from the results of the investigation you always need to keep an eye on them, as you have pointed out many times Ben. Are we stuck? Who will investigate them?

  3. Simon Gunson

    The search investigation has been Misled from the very first week. From 8-11th March RMAF General Rodzali Daud denied point blank that MH370 was seen by military radar in the Malaka Straits.

    Then under pressure from INMARSAT who used the UK AAIB to investigate their data, Malaysia backtracked. On 11 March Daud said MH370 was seen by Butterworth radar flying from IGARI direct to VAMPI then turned north to GIVAL and disappearing at IGREX. First of all Butterworth lacked the range to see a target at IGREX.

    General Daud also said it passed close to Pelau Perak at 18:40 UTC, yet in an image claimed to be a radar image shown at the Lido Hotel, Beijing Malaysia issued a different claim that MH370 passed directly over Pelau Perak at 18:02 UTC.

    The new Lido Hotel image asserted MH370 flew from Penang to VAMPI then MEKAR where it disappeared at 18:22 UTC. The story changed so often.

    On 4th April the Director General of Civil Aviation Azharrudin Abdul Rahman dismissed the images shown at the Lido Hotel as untrue because they were just prepared as a presentation for relatives, not to be accurate. Yet it is this Lido Hotel image which the Malaysian Government itself attacked as an untrue image which is now treated as the gospel version of an alleged flight which likely never took place.

    Indonesian radar directly across the Straits at Lhokseumwae never saw this alleged flight, yet satellite analysts have since taken MEKAR to be the last confirmed position of MH370.

    What this really is, is a study in the psychology of Chinese whispers how rumours and false claims coalesce into orthodox doctrine.

    What is absolutely disgusting to my mind is how sheepishly the ATSB have been indoctinated and slavishly follow everything Malaysia says without question.

    It is bad enough the Martin Dolan is implicated in total incompetence over the Pel-Air disaster off Norfolk Island, but that he has also lead this latest dimwitted charge of the Light Brigade into the valley of ignorance over MH370.

    How much more more Australian taxpayer money will this man be allowed to waste before someone questions their competence?

  4. Simon Gunson

    On a very simple level on 16 March satellites detected a 75ft long floating object (22.5m) near 44S,90E. Two days later, another object the size of a Boeing 777 wing ie 80ft long (24m) was detected drifting 64nm away.

    Close to this on 20 March, first French satellites using both photography and radar detected 122 floating objects to the south of these two wings. Then as weather cleared a Thai satellite called Thaichote photographed 300 floating objects with minimum resolution of 2m (6ft).

    China reverse calculated the drift pattern of these objects back to their point of origin (MH370’s impact) on 8th March as 45.30S, 85.30E on 24 March 2014.

    Then the JIT team in Malaysia headed by MAS pilot Lim Jit Koon and senior civil aviation official Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar demanded the JACC abandon efforts to recover or examine objects from that debris field. HMAS success was recalled north, search aircraft were grounded and redeployed.

    Only one aircraft overflew the location where satellites spotted a 24m long object. That flight by a Chinese PLAAF transport plane took place 6 days after the object drifted 150nm south of that location. By the time the 22.5m long object was sighted again it was well outside the search box.

    Except for the Chinese aircraft which did so 6 days too late, not one single aircraft ever overflew where debris were actually sighted by satellite.

    ATSB were manipulated and led by the Malaysian Government in all their decisions and one can only reasonably conclude that Malaysia did its best to sabotage the search.

  5. Simon Gunson

    I am reading my way through the report by Brock McEwen. Your readers may be interested in some conclusions from that report at page 20 which says:

    Even in isolation, the conduct of top officials in the search for 370 since March 18, 2014 – by the folks who took
    over the investigation from Malaysian authorities – is nothing short of appalling:

    – moving the search 600nmi NE on Mar.28, for reasons other than were claimed

    – modeling 370’s range at 7% below original estimates, with no disclosed or discernible justification

    – searching for 2 months at a location to which a fuel-feasible, signal data-fitting path is not possible

    – hailing as authentic acoustic pings sonar experts would know 370’s black box could not have emitted

    – confirming (planting?) reports the co-pilot’s cell phone pinged a tower, when primary radar rules this out

    – bathy surveying areas that are unlikely 370 search sites (but promising future resource extraction sites)

    – issuing surface debris directives drift experts should have known were irresponsible and misleading

    – misrepresentation of 370’s performance limit of a subtlety which invites suspicion of intent to deceive

    In other words just days after satellites detected drifting debris in the Southern Indian Ocean, investigators issued new fuel consumption figures to falsely justify abandoning the search for those debris.

    There was a political decision made not just by Malaysians but also by the United States and Australia to ignore China’s conclusion that MH370 impacted around 45.30 South, 85.30 East.

    This means the current search was a deliberate fraud against taxpayers by the Government of Tony Abbott.

  6. WindSk

    Question from a Yank.

    Do you not have freedom of the press in Australia?

    I always thought you did.

  7. Allan Moyes


    Alas, about 80% of the print media is owned by a certain Rupert Murdoch. You can draw your own conclusions.

    There is certainly nothing in our Constitution (a boring document and very much in need of amendment to bring it into the 21st century) which guarantees it. To my knowledge (and I’m not a lawyer) it is implied via convention rather than guaranteed by law, but I note a recent survey on freedom of the press rates it 33rd in world rankings alongside France and just ahead of the UK.

    So far as I can see, the only “freedom” mentioned in the Constitution is that of worship. We have no Bill of Rights, for example, like the US. It has been a much debated topic as to whether we should have one but has unfortunately become more of a political football than something which may actually benefit the citizens.

  8. Ben Sandilands

    Press freedom in Australia is as much compromised by recent crackdowns on whistle blowers here as it is in the US.

    A common thread in trying to sell this is to invoke ‘national security’ or ‘keeping track of terrorists’, which in both America and Australia seems to mean ‘critics’.

    The broad spectrum of the Australian media, from Murdoch on the right to Fairfax, in the middle, has taken issue with similar laws to those being discussed or enacted or used variously in the US and the UK.

    So far without much success. It’s a serious issue, but mindful of the purpose of Plane Talking, I try to confine my editorialising on this to comments in passing.

  9. Confirmed Sceptic

    Well, we sort of do. Right up until we don’t, like in the recent case where a government business did something corrupt involving someone in a nearby country and the high court agreed to a gag order preventing anyone from writing about it. So yeah, we have the same freedoms as enjoyed by freedom loving people in gulags everywhere.

    We also have some freedom of speech, unless it offends someone of a minority race., in which case we don’t.

    We have the right to keep and bear arms, as long as they are the ones dangling from our shoulders (this “right” isn’t much missed, to be honest)

    There are quite a few disconnects between the rights we think that we enjoy, and the rights that we actually do, lacking a Bill Of Rights or a Jefferson in our past.

  10. Magoo

    I’m still yet to see any reasonable explanation for why the Malaysian Govt, either in collusion with others or not, has to sabotage the search for 370.

  11. Ben Sandilands

    Agree. The need to explain the actions and deceptions drives speculation as to the motives, yet every single scenario that has been proposed involves implausible even fantastical constructions. Sooner or later, there has to be a leak as to what various intelligence agencies have found or concluded.

    Even when we get some wreckage, that additional information is I think going to be of critical importance.

  12. Ricardo

    To Allan Moyes – as much as I hate to intrude on your great story of Murdoch owning 80% of the print media in Australia, I always believe that a few facts can be helpful. To paraphrase a great man, whilst you are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts.

    In Australia, News owns 23% of the print media by title – source – FactCheck 2014 and the Finklestein enquiry 2011.

    The fact that News make up a significantly larger proportion of the total circulation is a matter for a different point of conjecture as to why that may be so.

    I also believe that News is a widely traded, publicly listed company, so also have a small suspicion that Rupert might not own it all. Last time I checked Australia has a few corporate governance requirements (independent boards and all of that inconvenient stuff).

  13. WindSk

    Thanks for several informative answers. it was “…because the Abbott government is muzzling the Australian media over a serious additional matter that makes its Je suis Charlie posturing about freedom of the press look shallow and shabby.” That got me interested.

    If the “muzzle” was justified by “national security ” or some such, it’s indeed no different in the US.

    Alas, we are all to familiar with Murdock and his “news” outlets.

  14. nightflyer

    Since the Chinese apparently (according to this report) had reason to believe the aircraft came down in a particular location and given that the majority of passengers were their own nationals, why did they not mount an independent search there, at least for the floating debris. As I remember, at the time they had ships and aircraft in the area and it’s not as if they’d care a hoot about protocol or treading on other country’s sensibilities. In fact finding it by themselves would be a triumph.

  15. Simon Gunson

    @WindSk since you mention US National security as well, then take into consideration a controversial self promoting US Attorney waded in and made an FOIA request to the NSA for information held on MH370. She was rebuffed by the NSA citing Executive Order 13526. Why MH370 should be so important is itself a mystery.

    @Ben Sandilands I wholeheartedly agree that this only makes it more important not less important not to give up the search for MH370 in May.I do not even need to read the script to predict the seabed search will not find it. However despite all my claims of cover up I do not subscribe to all the bizarre claims involving Diego Garcia, shoot down, suicide or hijackings etc. My belief is that this was a bizarre accident from an otherwise mundane cause. I do not believe the flight though the Straits of Malacca actually happened and I think that was a false construct to sabotage the search.

  16. Simon Gunson

    @nightflyer Yes China published it’s prediction on MH370’s point of impact on 24 March 2014 by careful analysis of satellite imagery, wave and wind patterns to reverse calculate the drift of a large debris field seen in March back to a location at 45.30 South, 85.30 East.

    Malaysia suddenly objected to China’s location and the JIT team in Malaysia constructed the alteration of the alleged flight path 600 miles to the NW creating a false pretext to argue that MH370 suffered fuel exhaustion at 00:08 UTC.

    It was for this reason on 28 March that Tony Abbott shifted the search north to Zenith plateau. It was a political decision to prevent MH370 ever being found.

    Australians in Particular need to wake up to this fact that the current search is actually an act of high fraud against the taxpayer by the Abbott Government and the seabed search is nothing more than a $400m drama production so they can say they tried. Now the wheels are falling off because people are questioning their decisions.

  17. Lockie Ematt

    Searching for a long time in an irrelevant place suggests there is some other object of search now with a convenient cover story.

    Never waste a crisis!

  18. Moss

    Ben (sorry if you have addressed this previously), what about JORN? Surely we should have been tracking a flight like this? Otherwise what is the point of such an expansive and expensive over the horizon radar network?

    WindSK, Press freedom isn’t something that just “comes from above” (ie govt interference), it’s also about “freedom from within” (how journos censor themselves due to external influence). Watch ex-journo Dr. Udo Ulfkotte’s RT interview on youtube.

  19. Glen

    With due respect, this is a crock of shit:

    Concern #1a: No reduction in available fuel could possibly necessitate – nor even suggest – moving from the original to the Mar.28 search area. Therefore, the search did not move on Mar.28 for the reason given.

    So there was another reason we are not to be told — perhaps US surveillance (satellite or sub-sea) or JORN. Apparently it was erroneous. Presumably these things are, sometimes. So the matter is adequately explained as a stuff-up. No conspiracy is required.

    Concern #1b: The current (Oct.8) estimated post-radar range is 7% less than its Mar.17 counterpart – officials are challenged to explain this difference.

    So you say, based on correlation with claimed extratropical A320 performance (not “jumbo jet”). Really? At least JACC presumably aren’t guessing or relying on crude correlations.

    Concern #2: The location (s21, e104) moved to on Apr.2 could not possibly be the terminus of a direct path which respects all signal data, and reaches the 7th arc before fuel exhaustion.

    Ain’t hindsight wonderful. You try doing it in the heat of the moment, with incomplete information and analysis.

    Concern #3: Immediately upon moving the search to a place they should have known 370 lacked the fuel to reach, officials hailed as authentic acoustic pings they should have known 370’s black box could not possibly have emitted.

    Hindsight again; and not even obviously correct. Particularly the dispersion argument appears weak.

    Concern #4: “US Officials” who confirmed to CNN Apr.14 the co-pilot’s cellphone connected with a tower (directly contradicting the primary radar track, whose speeds force an altitude at which cellphone service is nil)

    As Ben has said, a crap premise therefore a nonsense conclusion.

    Concern #5: The Jun-Aug search site was the terminus of a path requiring either circuity near Sumatra (ruled out by current search site) or 400-knot speeds (nonsensical under any (auto-)pilot scenario). Officials are challenged to justify this logic, to dispel concerns the 7th arc’s “shallows” were surveyed for reasons unrelated to the search.

    Another absurd implication. Why would we bother? An elaborate ruse to obtain a survey we could (and have, recently – the law-of-the-sea surveys) simply have paid for directly.

    Concern #6: Officials are challenged to publish the starting coordinates of drift model scenarios driving the Oct.22 claim that debris should hit Indonesian shores first, and – if those coordinates (as widely expected) conflict sharply with those of the current deep sea search zone – how such a basic error was allowed to misdirect the shore search.

    What shore search would that be? Irrelevant.

    Concern #7: Officials should immediately rectify the performance limit misrepresentation in Fig.2 of the ATSB’s Oct.8 report, extend the high priority search zone to E84 accordingly, and explain how these errors – which bear the hallmarks of having been deliberately inserted – were allowed to misdirect the current deep-sea search.

    Based on your correlation with A320 performance? According to Sagan, extraordinary claims required extraordinary evidence. Where’s yours?

  20. Allan Moyes


    Obviously a Murdoch fan, but personally I don’t give an RA whether it is 1% or 99% control. The fact stands that he has far too much influence and control over print media in this country and in others.

    He wants to be a kingmaker and influence governments. You only have to read the garbage printed in his papers to realise that, particularly the screaming headlines which is what many people look at before turning to the sports pages.

    Also his wonderful acting at the Leveson inquiry was worthy of an Academy Award, but you keep on apologising for him – that’s your right.

    Anyway, this is not the thread to discuss this so if Ben thinks I’m out of line, I apologise (to Ben, not to you) and he can moderate my post.

  21. nightflyer

    SG#16 – I understand; my point is, if the Chinese had good reason to believe the aircraft came down at a particular location, why did they not search further there themselves and ignore Malaysian and/or Australian obfuscation. If the Zenith area was always a furphy, why did China play along ?

  22. malcolmdbmunro

    We can only be grateful to you, Ben, for keeping this enigma alive. With regard to your post 11, no, the truth may never out. Depends on what is at stake for those who need to suppress it. The relevant records can be destroyed and no trace remain. Happened before.

    No wonder conspiracy theories abound. There are gaps in the story that a thousand aliens could do cartwheels in.

    This is no AF 447 where a relatively straightforward government and a reasonably competent investigation agency were from the same country. Here we have, amongst other things, a patently dishonest government pulling the strings of the distant Australians.

    At the risk of hanging on a drum already sounded, what about the gap in the manifold? And was there any follow up on the Indonesian official who stated along the lines of “We know what happened to MH730 but we are not going to say”?

    In response to an earlier comment, Ben, isn’t there an agreement that Australians and Malaysians share the cost of the search?

    Few stories are followed with this level of persistence and the number of eyes this one has, so maybe the gaps will be found. The wreckage, perhaps not.

  23. Tango

    “Another absurd implication. Why would we bother? An elaborate ruse to obtain a survey we could (and have, recently – the law-of-the-sea surveys) simply have paid for directly.”

    The logic above is missing, who is going to pay for a in depth (pun intended) sea floor search out in the middle of no where without a reason.

    If I wanted to do a search I would seize on this excuse.

    I don’t think its the least bit true, but at least the logic tracks to some conspiracy degree.

    I also think Malaysia is criminal, not anything else. No government has said that and they should.

  24. Brock McEwen

    Thanks for covering my paper, Ben, and for the constructive critique.

    I floated the oil/mining idea for the same reason you float the idea that debris was deliberately left unfound: when the official story is full of holes, the mind seeks to fill them in. But agree focus should be on the holes.

    I think you may be confusing the 18:40 sat phone call (which hit the news at end-August) with the “co-pilot cell phone connection” (big news in mid-April). My paper dealt strictly with the latter.

    I agree with you 100%, Ben, that the ATSB is not “the bad guy”, here. To be clear: the rank and file searchers (and analysts, etc.) are HEROES in my book, and ARE searching in good faith. It is those at the very top – well above Mr. Dolan’s pay grade – who I think may have something in their pocketses.

    If this report helps spur public demand that the Joint Investigation Team be (identified and) held to account, then it has accomplished its purpose.

    A fine-tuned version of the paper was released today:

  25. Simon Gunson

    @Glen The ATSB report 26 June said this redefinition of fuel exhaustion was precisely the reason the search was switched north to Zenith Plateau (search area “S5”)

    The report states at Page 6:

    “On 27 March (D20), the JIT advised they now had more confidence in the increased speeds provided by primary radar near Malaysia. This increased the aircraft fuel burn and the most probable track moved north to the S3 area. The JIT additionally had more confidence that a 7th arc was a fuel exhaustion point. Two new search areas designated S4 and S5 were defined.”

    Sorry old son. Better cast off you ignorance

  26. James O'Neill

    Three points: (1) I have yet to see an even halfway plausible explanation as to why the responsible governments named in the article should be so deliberately deceitful, and as a corollary, why aren’t the Chinese making a fuss as most of the dead were their citizens.

    (2) Could Crikey commission Simon Gunson to write a longer article based on his obvious knowledge in the area.

    (3) Why does Crikey avoid applying the same forensic analysis to the official story about MH17 which has more holes in it than the proverbial Swiss cheese?

  27. Simon Gunson

    @Nightflyer sorry for not addressing the point you raised. It bothers me too. China was furious with Malaysia in late March and had already steamed naval assets into the Bay of Bengal. There were geopolitical tensions with India trying to prevent Chinese search efforts.

    Obama stepped into the fray and visited Kuala Lumpur in April ostensibly to discuss MH370 but in actual fact he discussed building a US naval base for a US carrier group at Malacca. At this point China appears to have backed off considerably and screwed down the angst of Chinese relatives.

    I guess the simplistic answer is do they have the technology to do it themselves and how will they react come May when the seabed search comes up empty handed?

  28. Simon Gunson

    James O’Neil, Much as I could hazard a guess about motives that would merely serve as a distraction from finding MH370. Find the plane first, worry about why afterwards. Suffice to say Brock McEwen echoes what I believe too. There is a cover up.

  29. Ricardo

    Dear Allan Moyes, thanks for the ad-hominem attack without any rational basis or justification.

    As a lawyer would say “assumes facts not in evidence”.

    As a primary school teacher would say “must try harder”.

    For the record I’m not a fan, but as a tip for you that I am certain you will ignore, you could try being a little less aggressive when someone accurately points out that you are demonstrably wrong, no matter what alternative universe you wished that you lived in.

    Sorry Ben, for the drift, but drivel like that always deserves a put down in my book.

  30. Ben Sandilands

    There are two comments awaiting moderation which associate events involving MH17 with issues in Palestine and other matters.

    These are interesting, provocative and important arguments which are readily aired elsewhere. But the topic at hand is whether or not the MH370 investigators need to be investigated.

    On that point I think Brock McEwen is on strong ground. There are doubts about the modelling, analysis and search management that need to be cleared up. We don’t need to visit the diabolically divisive and troubling issues of Middle East politics in dealing with that. Only by keeping the spotlight firmly on the integrity or conduct of the MH370 search can we contribute to an important public discussion.

  31. Simon Gunson

    @Glen asks:

    “Concern #6: Officials are challenged to publish the starting coordinates of drift model scenarios driving the Oct.22 claim that debris should hit Indonesian shores first, and – if those coordinates (as widely expected) conflict sharply with those of the current deep sea search zone – how such a basic error was allowed to misdirect the shore search.

    What shore search would that be? Irrelevant.”

    Not at all. ATSB confidently predicted debris would wash ashore on Sumatra after 123 days (ie 9 July) When it had not happened they still went ahead and conducted a seabed bathymetric survey in September in the full knowledge that their model and all their underlying assumptions were wrong.

    To commission a seabed search after knowing there was no credible basis for it was an act of fraud against taxpayers.

    Much as Glenn may prefer an authoritarian state where mere peasants don’t question authority we the people believe in accountability.

  32. Simon Gunson

    @Glenn also asks:

    Concern #7: Officials should immediately rectify the performance limit misrepresentation in Fig.2 of the ATSB’s Oct.8 report, extend the high priority search zone to E84 accordingly, and explain how these errors – which bear the hallmarks of having been deliberately inserted – were allowed to misdirect the current deep-sea search.

    Based on your correlation with A320 performance? According to Sagan, extraordinary claims required extraordinary evidence. Where’s yours?

    Put very simply extraordinary evidence includes 300 floating objects sighted by Thai and French satellites including Pléaides 1A and 1B satellites, the high resolution SPOT 5 and 6 satellites and the synthetic aperture radar satellites TerraSAR-X. The fact they were detected by radar satellites proves these were not mere waves.

    Two of these objects were the length of Boeing 777 wings ie 22.5m and 24m. I call that extraordinary proof even if you don’t.

    Investigators used their recalculation of fuel endurance to arbitrarily exclude these debris from consideration.

    The fact is the impact point for these debris was 300nm beyond the nearest part of the seabed search. These debris were an extraordinary opportunity to confirm the fate of MH370 and yet Malaysian and Australian investigators colluded to deliberately ignore this clue.

    The question needs to be asked why?

  33. michael r james

    #12 & #29 Ricardo

    To say that Murdoch owns “only” 23% of print titles is silly. Obviously it is the quantitative factor that matters, and in that regard it is mostly quite simple: Murdoch bought circulation and in several cases he was allowed to purchase monopoly. The worst case is the 100% of print newspapers he has in Brisbane. He achieved this when he bought the Weekly Herald group which he should never have been allowed to (or at the very least, he should have been forced to sell off bits to avoid monopoly in big cities, such as the Courier Mail in Brisbane (which until recently was hugely profitable because of its print-ad monopoly). Instead the politicians gave him exactly what he wanted.

    Hence his 70%+ control of circulation in print media. They complain about him in the UK where he has 30%. Can an American imagine anyone (let along a non-citizen as Murdoch who is not an Australian citizen) allowed to control anything like that much of the market? The Libs even wanted to give him the Australia Network (in Asia) contract!

  34. Dan B

    I concur with James O’Neill @ 26, point (2).

  35. sparky

    May take on the way the Malaysia Authorities reacted was that they initially thought they had another plane on their primary radar that had shot down MH370. The lack of secondary radar would support this assumption. This would explain why they continued the search in the Gulf of Thailand while they tried to figure out where this mystery plane had come from and flown off to. If this was the case, it is understandable why they keep quite about it.

  36. BugSmasher

    Two of these objects were the length of Boeing 777 wings ie 22.5m and 24m. I call that extraordinary proof even if you don’t.

    Why on earth would the wings float? Any impact severe enough to detach the wings and the engines from them would almost certainly not leave the empty fuel tanks sealed to provide any bouyancy.

  37. Brock McEwen

    @Glen: I will address only the most glaring of your misrepresentations of my conclusions:

    Appendix 1 has nothing – NOTHING – to do with the conclusions driving EITHER of concerns 1b & 7. The gaps in the official story are wholly self-inflicted: each search zone disparity is computed STRICTLY by comparisons among the ATSB’s own published performance limits.

    If that is not clear enough in the text, the fault is mine.

  38. Confirmed Sceptic

    Floating debris:

    There is no impact scenario that leaves wings detached, intact and floating for very long, if at all.

    But that does not matter, because:

    The dimensions of the mystery objects were too wide to be a part of the aircraft. Selectively claiming length as a match while ignoring the impossible width isn’t correlation. It isn’t even rational.

  39. Itsarort

    The Whyalla Airlines crash in 2000 and the aforementioned Pel-Air crash in 2009 pretty much illustrates the potential for chicanery dressed-up as incompetence. And for those of us who have worked in this environment only know too well that the System endeavors to protect the System at all costs and that fitters and pilots are easily replaced.

    A thorough investigation into this iconic accident is likely to turn-up all sorts of unwanted details and not just the usual scapegoats. So, maybe they aren’t that keen to find the plane just yet; especially since MH370 is really easy not to find…

  40. Simon Gunson

    @Confirmed Sceptic the dimensions of the 22.5m long object were misquoted by Hishamuddin Hussein when first mentioned and Hishamuddin Hussein himself corrected that himself which all goes to prove you have a closed mind and paid no attention.

    In the disaster of TWA800 where a Boeing 747 dived head first into the Atlantic one main wing continued to float intact until recovered, therefore you are factually incorrect that there is no scenario by which this could happen.

    If a Boeing 747 diving headlong into the sea could result in a complete wing full of fuel staying afloat then it wld be much more likely for a wing with empty fuel tanks.

    You are not talking from knowledge but from prejudice and ignorance. Thank goodness people don’t listen to you.

  41. Agfox

    @Simon Gunson After quite a bit of online searching, the only reference I could find was to the right wing tip floating, not the entire, intact wing. I’m happy to post the link if you have anything that supports your assertion.

  42. Confirmed Sceptic

    Simon, what can I say? A full wing is more crush resistant than an empty wing due to the incompressibility of fluids. I don’t think that I ever read about an intact wing surviving TWA 800’s impact with the ocean. I don’t feel like digging up any reports to refute your claim.

    The dimensions showing a width of 13 metres are directly from the raw photos with dimensions noted.

    You know what though? If I ever cared about your pet theories I have stopped. You have my best wishes and I sincerely hope that you are vindicated.

  43. Raven Usher

    The theme of Ben’s post here is ‘investigating the investigators’, and perhaps it might be instructive to consider what motive the various nations might have in deflecting attention from the real crash site. (If that is indeed what’s happening, of course.)

    Looking at it on a country-by-country basis, I would suggest such motives might be summarised approximately as follows:

    1) Malaysia
    Whether what happened was plain old incompetence, or a deliberate action taken for political reasons by someone on board, then not finding the plane would seem to be in the country’s interests, to ’save face’.

    2) China
    With so many citizens on board, finding the plane would surely be in its interests.

    3) USA
    If one of its manufacturer’s planes has a design fault, then it certainly needs to identify the cause of the disappearance to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

    4) Australia
    With responsibility for the search, finding the wreck would be good PR, and perhaps help the Federal Government’s image.

    So at least on the face of it, three out of these four nations would want to be locating the crash site, and have no motive for any major deception.

    However, if there is indeed a co-ordinated cover up, the question would be: is there any conceivable scenario in which some, or all, of these nations would agree that it is for the ‘greater good’ that the wreck not be found?

  44. Mikal aka The Chaotic Cat

    @ Raven Usher


    1) for using numbers that are NOT from flight MH370, [well~from the MH370 flight in question departing Late evening 3/7/2014 KL]

    2) for disregarding the FACT there is NO Radar that has a Track back Across Malay; Up the Straits; or shows a turn back??

    3) for Picking and Choosing What Data to Use and Not to use to suite a glorified personal viewpoint?

    4) for media malpractice pushing the envelope of misleading information, calling it confirmed and fact, when in FACT its NOT?

    5) for being so close mined as to actually see what happened?

    6) for Maliciously attacking another country [Malaysia] when they was just a confused as everyone else and preying on that confusion?

    7) for individuals to continuosly “say investigate the invstigators” when they are also part of the problem and push the Falsified Data stream further South in the name of truth, actually a Charade to Play a Glorified Bingo Parlor Game, ignoring the Real Evidence?

    8) to continuosly attempt to intimidate others when the real evidence is brought to light, as incorrect as the arrogance and pride is stricken from the so called experts?

    9) to point at the real evidence a say those numbers aren’t any good, you have to use the fake numbers?? What??

    10) I say the motive is down right Ignorance from the investigators to the investigators to the media and editors who allow such crap to be published in the name of the News, when the Media has a Duty NOT to mislead the public, otherwise call it what it is, an Op ED and show that OP ED in BOLD clarified to make everyone know that its just your Glorified Opinion instead of Fact, and Focus on what we DO know as FACT & Evidence!!!!!!!!!

    Ignorance and Arrogance and stuborn Pride Plauge this Investigation and they are ashamed of the wasted 400Million USD$.. The ATSB / IG’s and Peter Foley & Group have stinched this Investigation misleading on glorified False Claims, and that is a matter of FACT, stop blaming Dolan and Dont Blame Houston either!

    Look in the mirror, You bought that crap without checking your own work, without verifying what all that means, and got opinions from people who never really checked themselves as deep as it needs to be checked to verify.. What? Thats right… Falsified; Plagerised and Down Roght IGNORANCE to not to really find the Truth and Correct Model that was designed for all of this Technical wanna be experts and non-self thinking analysed to pursue the materilal that shows the light in the darkness… “Cheaters, Frauds,,. the one peeps your paper in the classroom!!”

    What? Thats right, Wasted!!

    The Chaotic Cat!! ;-)>

  45. Simon Gunson

    @Confirmed Skeptic you clearly do care about what I think because of all the commentators it is me whom you feel the most need to repudiate.

    At the root the chord would stretch to 13m.

    You have no more insight into the various scenarios which may have befallen MH370 than this ant which is crawling across my computer desk. In fact i think I shall ask the ant for an opinion because chances are it knows more than you.

  46. Mikal aka The Chaotic Cat

    BTW… Let me Clear……

    My issue is not directed at Brock although it may appear as it does, but it’s much deeper and goes way back to the start of this misleading Investigation…..

    If you read closley, Brock’s Paper says much more than what is being missed in this charade of blogging…

    The Chaotic Cat ;-)>

  47. Karen

    @Simon Gunson – interesting posts about a “cover up”. The contradictory ways in which the Malaysian authorities appeared to have dealt with the investigation of the MH370 disappearance appears to suggest either incompetence, dishonesty or both.

    However, can you explain why you think the MH370 disappearance was a “bizarre accident” as you have suggested in an earlier post and what the motive for cover-up would be? I can understand why authorities may want to cover up a collision caused by deliberate pilot sabotage, which I understand is still a live theory, but not accidents.

  48. Magoo

    Mikal – I appreciate English may not necessarily be your first language, but I hardly understood a word of what you wrote!

  49. Mikal aka The Chaotic Cat

    Mr / Ms. Magoo ~ Right, English is NOT my first Language ~ Understanding Hasbara ~ Like mum always, “Your Not going to Bull Shit Me” and your Hasbara and BS games and ignorance to accept the real truth is nothing more than a charade to distract from the real issue’s with conspiracies and articles written with enchanted cherry on top… Cheers ;-)>

    If you dont understand plain english, let me be clear so you dont miss anything if you’re a slow…

    1) You’re NOT going to Bull Shit Me
    2) You Obviously “Appear” to be part of the problem..
    3) Find yourself a play toy, Im not the one…
    4) Your sarcasism shows your IQ next to that cracked Egg sizzling and scrambled, so find yourself a play toy while real people show “You” how to Get’er Done…

    Cheers.. ;-)>

    The Chaotic Cat ;-)>

  50. Sean

    Any thoughts about the theory that the plane was accidentally on purpose shot down as part of some sort of joint Thai-US military exercise going on at the time? As per that pilot’s book…

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