The loss of MH370 has been describe as the “greatest aviation mystery in history”. To those who do not read VT, it is.
I make no apology for returning to the topic for a third week running. It still generates enormous interest, judging from my ‘postbag’ and the further debate which was triggered by the appearance of yet another 777 bit on the coast of East Africa.
As I predicted on this site in 2014, we are going to see more airplane bits turning up around the Indian Ocean. At least the Chinese PLA/Air Force has stopped dropping pingers out of the back of Il-76 airlifters. These bits, which at least are now off the right model of aircraft (i.e. a Boeing 777), are there for the muppets in the mainstream media, and aviation-illiterate politicians.
The truth – that the PLA/Navy deliberately shot down MH370 in international airspace with a Surface-to-Air missile, murdering all the souls aboard, is simply too dangerous for the MSM to print. Even if they know what happened they have to keep churning out gibberish, because they’re afraid of the Chinese.
We’ve been here before. Western newspapers dutifully printed the Nazi Government’s facile explanations for the Reichstag fire as though they were fact. Many papers were under German influence anyway, but even if they weren’t they were too yellow to stand up to the Nazis.
The first, fatal, consequence of the massive cover-up was that airline pilots continued to be left in ignorance of the high-altitude missile threat. The second consequence was that the PLA took Western acquiescence in the murder of Captain Shah, his crew and passengers as a green light to continue to shoot down airliners. The upshot was the shooting down of Malaysian Flight 17 (MH17) only four months later.
Contrasting and comparing, the major difference between the two incidents was that MH17 was shot down over land, in this case Eastern Ukraine, in an effort to embarrass the Russian Government, and pro-Russian rebels fighting the German puppet government in Kiev.
In the case of MH17 there was a further twist. The Chinese, the DVD and the Ukrainians were worried that notice might have been taken in the aviation community of my posts on VT. Had I been listened to, pilots would have known that their airliners were vulnerable at high altitude. Before I pointed out the high-altitude threat, there had been a general obsession with the low-altitude missile threat, i.e. MANPADS. Had my work been given greater prominence, pilots would also have known how to break the lock of SAMs using semi-active homing, by exercising Emissions Control (EMCON) and switching off all radars, including radar altimeters.
There was also ATC complicity with MH17, which we did not get with MH370, indeed Vietnamese air traffic controllers, to their credit, promptly treated the breaking-off of communications as an emergency. Kiev ATC directed MH17 into the kill-zone, where the Chinese Buk battery was waiting.
The Maldives Sighting
Trying not to go over old ground and to deal with points made in response to my last two columns, some commenters have laid great store on the sighting of a large aircraft at low level near the Maldives. This is supposed to provide support for the Diego Garcia/The Isrealis Did It theory, which rather ignores the fact that Diego Garcia is part of the Chagos Islands and isn’t actually in the Maldives.
It also ignores the greatly increased fuel consumption of a wide-body airliner in the dense air at low altitudes, where its engines are much less efficient. Had MH370 descended below 10,000 ft at any time en route to the supposed landing at Diego Garcia, it would have struggled to reach it.
The sighting is vague and equally consistent with an Air India 747 and a Malaysia Airlines 777. Sighting reports from aviation illiterates have to be viewed with caution. There is no other evidence that MH370 went anywhere near either the Maldive or Chagos Islands.
The Supposed Cell-Phone Call
Like the INMARSAT pings, software generated evidence is easily fabricated and has to be viewed with caution. A software-generated report of a call is not the same thing as an actual call, received by an actual person.
The audit trail is thin and I do not accept that any call was made from the aircraft after it disappeared off ATC and military radar screens.
The Lack of Indian Radar Reporting
Issues such as aircraft hull losses have to be approached with intellectual rigor. There has been no answer to my point about the lack of Indian radar reporting, either Air Force or naval. On the supposed routing, MH370 had to enter sensitive Indian airspace.
The aircraft should have been visible to Indian military or naval radar, but wasn’t. Unlike Malaysia, India isn’t a Chinese client-state. Australia, too, is vulnerable to pressure from China, given the number of dodgy pollies in Canberra on the Chinese payroll. A polly, by the way, in this context, is not a parrot, although a number of Aussie pollies are right galahs, no offense intended.
It is perfectly clear, I suggest, that MH370 did not enter Indian airspace. That rules out the SIO, since the dog-leg around Sumatra was the only explanation for the aircraft not showing up on a number of Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian ATC radars. Since MH370 would also have shown up on the excellent Aussie Jindalee very long range radar system the whole SIO theory was a non-starter anyway.
The only point taken to explain away the lack of painting of 370 by the RAAF Jindalee station at Laverton (albeit that the signals are processed at RAAF Edinburgh, near Adelaide) is that the radar was ‘pointing north’. That is just risible nonsense – most radar systems are 360o and whilst the north may have been a priority for Laverton to defeat human trafficking, OTH radar systems can and do track away from their priority search arc.
The Aussies weren’t leaving themselves blind to the west and north-west. In any event, the system would probably have picked up MH370 just south of Indonesia, from where human traffickers set sail, had it flown the supposed track.
The Diesel Slick
The MSM don’t have to observe intellectual rigor, just publish any old rubbish that keeps their proprietors happy. If the facts don’t fit the theory they’re pushing, they don’t print them.
Here on VT we are only interested in facts and what is real. We may not always get it right, but thanks to our intellectual rigor and intelligence networks we’re usually way ahead of the MSM. It was a VT colleague who exposed the cannon exit holes in the starboard nose of MH17.
One of the inconvenient facts that the MSM has chosen to ignore, but which I have not, is the heavy fuel slick on the surface of the South China Sea beneath the flight-path of MH370. This was passed off at the time as aviation fuel, which it cannot have been. Jet-1 is light and doesn’t stay on the surface in a slick.
The fuel slick was consistent with leakage of diesel from a damaged submarine, indeed it had to have been a submarine, as no surface vessel was reported lost or damaged in the vicinity of the shoot-down.
MH370 and MH17 were shot down by the Chinese PLA, period.
My Reading This Week
My reading this week has been The Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation, by Robert Jackson (Pen & Sword, 2008). MH370 and MH17 weren’t Communist China’s first excursions into mass-murder. As Robert Jackson rightly points out in this well-written little primer on a little-known counter-insurgency campaign, there were close connections between the mainly Chinese terrorists in Malaya and the PLA.
The Chinese tactics in Malaya were murderous, brutal and disgraceful. Desperate to control the Malacca Straits and bring Malaya and Singapore into China’s orbit, isolated rubber planters and tin miners and their families were targeted ruthlessly in a campaign lasting 12 years, from 1948 until 1960. These murders have not been forgotten in Britain.
The terrorism was accompanied by the usual communist propaganda, about how the indigenous Malay population were supposedly being exploited by we British. Exploitation just isn’t our thing, however. The British Empire was a nice empire, which is why the only times there have been referenda on whether or not to decolonise, the votes have always been against so-called ‘independence’ (Gibraltar, Bermuda and the Falklands).
The Malayan campaign was noted for sabotage from Whitehall, with the Cabinet Office doing its best to hand Malaya over to Peking, and great leadership from General Sir Gerald Templer, as he then was, later Chief of the Imperial General Staff. (He also did good work in the Suez War.)
There were also some outstanding contributions on the ground, or, as often as not, in the swamp, not least from the Gurkhas and 22 Squadron SAS. Malaya was where Peter de la Billiere first started to make his name as a military commander.
One of the lessons of the campaign was the vital importance of air support. Another lesson, often overlooked, was the usefulness of area bombing. The RAF boys reckoned that the dear old 1,000 pounder had an effective blast area of 75,000 square feet. A well-aimed stick of 1,000 lb-ers was found to have a valuable adverse impact upon enemy morale. It turned out that Johnny Terrorist did not like being bombed. I pay respectful tribute to the outstanding effort, sustained over a long period, of 1 Squadron RAAF, flying the Avro
Had Great Britain entered the Vietnam War officially, i.e. declared war on North Vietnam, as opposed to disguising our SAS as Aussies and deploying the Royal Navy’s excellent Oberon class boats inside North Vietnamese waters on ELINT missions, many of these lessons could have been applied in the Vietnam War.
They could also be applied in the GWOT. IMHO (and all ya’ll know how humble I am), not enough use has been made of the USAF’s ageing but still very serviceable B-52 fleet the fight against ISIS, e.g.
This Week’s Movie Review: Identity Thief (2013, dir. Seth Gordon)
No intelligence relevance at all – I’m reviewing this movie because it’s fun! Actually it’s huge fun, as movies starring the bubbly Melissa McCarthy usually are. Jason Bateman, as the straight-acting accountant, is a brilliant foil. He does a good dead-pan face.
The plot is straightforward enough: Melissa steals Jason’s ID and ends up getting him arrested in Denver on a warrant from a Florida court. Jason’s character’s first name is Sandy, which of course can be a boy’s name as well as a girl’s name, although I’ve not met that many men called Sandy, even in gay bars.
Denver PD eventually work out that Jason cannot be Melissa as he’s a boy and she’s a girl. They’re pretty smart folk in Denver – must be something to do with the altitude.
The road trip from Florida to Denver is a hoot. I’ve only ever driven it the other way, via the Grand Canyon and LA, which is what we in England call the scenic route.
The movie has a number of valuable life lessons. Don’t engage in physical confrontation with your identity thief, don’t chase after them and never shoot the bounty-hunter, as it just annoys them. It also appears to be inadvisable to drive through St Louis with gunshot victims tied up in the trunk. That’s always been my policy, at any rate.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.