While tonight’s release of a ‘factual’ report into the disappearance of MH370 could be seen as box ticking it does underscore the need to find out why the government of Malaysia was so determined to lie about the loss from early on day one on 8 March last year.
That of course isn’t something the Safety Investigation Team for MH370 could do under the protocols of ICAO Annex 13.
It has, as those protocols anticipate, produced what is in effect a second interim report into the accident within a year of its happening. The first, which was due within a month, wasn’t released until 1 May last year, but first interim or preliminary reports are often late.
This report doesn’t appear to add to what is factually known about the loss of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER a year ago on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing that isn’t already one of the many recitals about the mystery which also involved the disappearance, circumstances undetermined, of the 239 people who were on board.
Download it here.
Its 580 odd printed pages may have wrinkles in them, which will be jumped upon probably sooner than later, with the only early point to excite the media so far being the fact that one of the flight recorder pinger batteries had expired a year before MH370 vanished. This isn’t relevant.
But the new factual information report does lay out what Malaysia’s military radar saw of the diversion of the intended flight path of MH370 with a level of clarity and unambiguity that points directly to the inexplicable lying by the government early in the story that it hadn’t seen any such thing.
The authorities segued toward the truth by eventually saying it was possible that something had been seen, and then saying that having shown the data to the US NTSB as it did, it had been told there was something there that merited closer examination.
After that it repudiated its earlier lies and seemed to think that somehow everyone would forget about it.
Among the liars was the acting Minister for transport, Hishammuddin Hussein, but who seemed to forget what he was saying back in March 2014 when on 1 May last year has posted a Facebook entry saying that cabinet knew on the morning of the flight’s disappearance the military had seen MH370 cross the Malay Peninsula after its transponders went off line rendering the flight invisible to civil air traffic control radars.
Yet 12 days later, on March 20, he was still insisting that the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere “arcs” were search areas of equal importance.
That was a serious, material and damaging deception. It spread the assets available at short notice for the search much wider than they should have been. But Why? This was as compellingly dishonest as the PM of Malaysia, Najib Razak, urging that search assets be sent deeper into the South China Sea and further north into Asia, when all along he knew what his military knew.
This fundamentally rotten state of affairs concerning MH370 festers on, unaddressed, by its very nature, by the ICAO Annex 13 conforming investigation of the flight’s disappearance. That wasn’t of course what the UN agency for civil aviation ever intended when the protocols were drawn up after WWII. But the need for independent criminal inquiries to look at situations like MH37o is, unfortunately, a pressing need, and one that could be for entirely different reasons, employed to investigate more thoroughly the MH17 atrocity.