Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared off the radar on March 8th. It may as well have disappeared off the face of the earth, given that we’ve gotten practically nowhere in finding answers to what happened. The news coverage, naturally, dwindled to a trickle, then finally died away completely. There may have been an occasional report here and there, but if so it was nothing prominent, and therefore came in under my radar, as it were.
So here we are roughly six months later and we still know nothing concrete. However, there was a BBC report last week that the search area was being reconsidered yet again. It seems this time, Australian and Malaysian officials have decided that based on further refinement of satellite data, the plane may have turned south earlier than previously thought, so they’re going to start searching a little more to the south.
Since the search began back in March, nothing has been found of the plane. Not one part of the plane, and not even one speck of debris. Where did it go? Did it crash into the Indian Ocean? Was it hijacked, or was there a problem with the plane? An electrical fire perhaps, that overwhelmed the passengers and crew with smoke? Given the almost complete lack of information about what really happened that night, conspiracy theories have surfaced in abundance in the months following its disappearance.
One such theory has it that the plane landed on the remote island of Diego Garcia at the American military base. Diego Garcia is a small coral atoll in the Indian Ocean that’s about 2,200 miles from Malaysia. Although the island has two parallel 12,000 foot runways at the U. S. Naval Base there, the U. S. flatly denies this happened, and I don’t really think so either. This is one of those theories that doesn’t even sound plausible from the start. If the plane landed there, why? What was the purpose? There are somewhere between 3,000 to 5,000 sailors and civilian support personnel there, as well as a Royal Navy command, so in essence that would make the navies of both Britain and the United States, and therefore the countries themselves, complicit in the theft of a commercial airliner as well as the forcible abduction and detaining of Chinese and Malaysian citizens along with those of other nations who were on that flight. This is plainly a nonstarter, and isn’t worth discussing further.
Another theory that has some credibility to it is that there was some sort of fire aboard the plane; possibly an electrical fire. Perhaps it killed or incapacitated the passengers and crew, but burned out before seriously damaging the plane. Although this would explain why the plane continued to fly for hours before running out of fuel and crashing, it doesn’t explain why the plane suddenly changed course. And more importantly, it doesn’t explain why the transponder was turned off – something that could only have been done manually from the cockpit. This is a reasonable hypothesis but for those two important facts. I’m not inclined to agree with this for those reasons alone.
A third theory postulated says that Flight MH370 was accidentally shot down by U. S. and Thai fighter jets during a live fire exercise that was being conducted. There is even a book about this, Flight MH370: The Mystery, by Nigel Cawthorne. Although my background isn’t in aviation, the first obvious problem I see with this is that during a military exercise – particularly one where there was to be live fire – it’s obvious that all civilian and commercial air traffic would be rerouted well away from the area. The book states, “Say a participant accidentally shot down Flight MH370. Such things do happen. No one wants another Lockerbie, so those involved would have every reason to keep quiet about it.”
What? Keep quiet about it? Because no one wants another Lockerbie? Lockerbie had nothing to do with a joint military exercise; it was a terrorist act. This statement from the book was nothing short of asinine. A quick look online confirmed my suspicion when I found a television interview with the author, who did nothing but display his ignorance during the three minute excerpt I viewed. We can unceremoniously rule out this theory.
One of the more… what’s the word I’m looking for? I was going to say outlandish, but I want to get this right so I don’t step on anyone’s toes. Unusual. That’s it! One of the more unusual stories I’ve come across isn’t really a theory of what happened to Flight MH370, but instead was a prediction that it would happen. Hell, we may even want to just come right out and elevate this to the next level; it was foretold. We don’t want to discriminate against the absurd here, so we’ll give this one all the weight it deserves. Let’s just call this the Nostradamus Theory. Two years ago, just before the world ended in 2012, a rapper by the name of Pitbull released a video called Get It Started in which he rapped, “Now it’s off to Malaysia – two passports, three cities, two countries, one day.” Some very astute minds have pointed out that the two passports are to be understood as the stolen Austrian and Italian passports used by two Iranians to board the plane. The three cities is a reference to the capital cities of Malaysia, China, and Vietnam, and the two countries are Malaysia and Vietnam. I’ll admit, I haven’t read the Weekly World News since I was stunned and amazed to read about World War II bombers having been found on the moon, so I’ll leave this to be discussed and belabored by those who know.
Going along with the above absurdity, another one is the ever-present alien abduction theory, which seems to come up among those who are, shall we say, more enlightened. Need I say more? Good.
Alright. Back to reality. Even though the rapper-predicts-missing-airliner and the alien abduction theories are complete rubbish, the first two could be remote possibilities. The trouble with them is that there is no real evidence to support them. The third is simply someone trying to make money by trading on flights of fantasy with no evidence whatsoever to support his claims. He just wanted to get a book out on a hot news item, knowing it would probably sell enough copies to earn him a fair amount of money.
I don’t know what happened to the plane or the people on it, although I would like to know. But I have an idea that the plane isn’t in the Indian Ocean; that the Australian and Malaysian officials are wasting lots of time and money looking for it there. They’ve searched a wide swath of that area over the past six months, and have still come up empty-handed. They’ve revised their search several times, but all to no avail.
In several interviews with Fox News, retired U. S. Air Force Lt. General Thomas McInerney had some disturbing things to say, not only when the disappearance of MH370 was fresh in the news back in March, but also more recently. On March 18th in an interview with Sean Hannity, on March 19th in an interview with Megyn Kelly, and again on March 20th and March 21st with Hannity, he discussed the possibility, or rather the probability, that the plane didn’t crash, but instead turned off course and flew elsewhere, probably to Pakistan. More recently, in another Fox News appearance, he brought up MH370 again while discussing the growing threat from the Islamic State, suggesting that the plane may be used in a direct attack on America. In other words, it could be another 9/11, according to General McInerney.
He discussed the real-time information that Boeing and Rolls-Royce, who built the plane’s engines, received from those engines. Although this is speculation on my part, this information likely isn’t monitored as it comes in, but it would have been reviewed rather quickly once the news broke of the plane’s disappearance. Although a representative from Boeing initially spoke with General McInerney and mentioned that the plane had set down in Pakistan, now neither Boeing nor Rolls-Royce will talk about it or verify anything. There is also the fact that the U. S. Navy didn’t stick around very long in the search area; from all I can determine, the only ones still left searching are the Australians and Malaysians.
While watching General McInerney speak about this on the news, I wasn’t really concerned that he was uncomfortable about revealing his sources of information. If he did, they would naturally no longer continue to provide him with such knowledge. But I decided to have a look at his background anyway, and what I found doesn’t sound like someone who would propose outlandish theories and scenarios.
To sum it up briefly, he was born in 1937, graduated from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York with a Bachelor of Science degree. He received his commission in the Army, then joined the Air Force and completed pilot training. He flew escort missions in the West Berlin Air Corridor and reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the missile crisis. He flew combat missions in Vietnam. General McInerney graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College in 1970, earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations from George Washington University in 1972, and graduated from the National War College in 1973. In 1981 he commanded the 313th Air Division in Japan. From 1983 to 1985 he was Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Intelligence at Hickham Air Force Base, Hawaii. He then became commander of the 3rd Air Force, at Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall in England. In 1986 he became Vice Commander in Chief of U. S. Air Forces in Europe in West Germany. He also commanded the Alaskan Air Command, Alaskan NORAD Region. His last assignment was as Assistant Vice Chief of Staff at U. S. Air Force Headquarters in Washington D. C. McInerney retired from the Air Force in 1994.
During his career, McInerney earned the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with “V” device and oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with 17 oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and finally the Vietnam Service Medal with six service stars.
Sounds like an impressive career, doesn’t it? Obviously, this is a man with a deep background in military operations and intelligence. Do I think he’s right in what he’s saying? I really and sincerely hope not, but it all makes sense, unfortunately. It sounds to me like the best explanation for why no one has ever found Flight MH370. Not only that, but the implications of what he’s saying, if he’s correct, are enormous. Next time, it might not be an airliner slamming into a skyscraper at high speed – it might be something far worse.
It’s my greatest hope that President Obama has taken all these possibilities into consideration and will be ready for something to happen – possibly in the very near future. If not, well, that leaves us with another problem that can only be addressed by Congress, doesn’t it?