March 19th, 2014

Flight 370: theories can be too simple

Simple theories are usually most elegant, but they still have to account for the known facts.

With Flight 370, the facts that are known are not necessarily substantiated. But any theory advanced must account for all of them. That leaves us with theories that are, to say the least, disturbing, and ever-ready to be revised at a moment’s notice.

The whole thing is very disturbing, actually, but in this case the type of theory I usually reject (conspiracy and/or far-fetched) is probably the one that accounts best for the facts so far.

So for the moment, I go with: a pilot-terrorist, who planned in advance to divert the plane to another location by turning off the signals and flying under the radar, and either succeeded or failed. Along the way, I think it most likely that he killed the passengers through decompression. The goal, and what’s next? To sow terror, and something involving the plane and something hugely explosive. Where? Israel, the US, or China. Why? Because it’s frightening. Who? A person who considers himself a jihadi.

As I said, always up for revision in every one of its aspects. But that’s it for now.

14 Responses to “Flight 370: theories can be too simple”

  1. DNW Says:

    The pilot likely decompressed the plane killing, as you say, the passengers. If the plane did fly above its ceiling as disputed reports claim, it was probably done to ensure they died.

    Then after heading west he probably flew south over the Indian ocean toward the South Pole. Whether he flew till he ran out of fuel or killed himself and let it run its course, or ditched early is anyone’s guess. Anyway that’s my guess. He’s not a man with a cause; just a motive: to inflict pain and leave people wondering

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4f/Indian_Ocean_bathymetry_srtm.png

  2. kit Says:

    An American pilot who has many years experience flying a 777 called into Rush Limbaugh yesterday. Neo, yours and his thinking is aligned.
    Rush specifically asked him if flying at 45000 ft would kill the passengers. He answered that while the recommneded ceiling for that aircraft is 43000 ft. he could fly at 45000 ft all day and the cabin would not depressurize.

    He said that he suspected the pilot and then he made the BEST recommendation ever. He said that American airlines should only hire American citizen pilots. I agree with him.

  3. jbcnyc Says:

    I think an accident is highly unlikely. It ignores the intentional disruption to the transponders. A massive fire that wrecked all communication systems yet allowed the plane to fly for several hours? And not a 1 second “mayday” call? While an accident may not produce visible wreckage, a 100% debris-free crash + no call for help is a stretch. Possible, yes. Too much must be ignored to support an innocent accident though. Taking the plane to repurpose for later is the simplest explanation – it explains motive, it explains a lack of debris, it explains a lack of a help call, it explains why the transponders were turned off. Middle of the night in a low-populated region with less sophisticated responding governments helps too. It may also explain why there is so little consistency and info. at this point. Misinformation would be a huge advantage for anyone trying to pull this off. A possible theory –Iran was indirectly involved and planned to use the plane for an offensive/defensive strike on Israel. Using a stolen plane, rather than an Iranian military plane would provide a huge advantage. Iran could maintain plausible deniability. The EU and (unfortunately) Obama, would demand that Israel stand down from responding on Iran militarily, urging caution until the facts are clear (i.e., never). Iran could essentially get a free shot at Israel, with the West claiming it was few rouge terrorist. Israel would be in an impossible situation. Disagree? How else could Iran attach Israel with nearly the entire world telling it that any response would be completely disproportional? You can switch out Iran and Israel – any nation that conducts an attack via a stolen commercial jet would have the rest of the world forbidding an otherwise legitimate response. Years after 9/11 and we’re still arguing over who (which country) was responsible. It’s 9/11 2.0.

  4. Lizzy Says:

    Your theory sounds as good as any.
    And the mystery is disturbing. I am on a business trip, and my son gave me an extra big goodbye hug “in case your plane disappears.”

  5. jbcnyc Says:

    As for the runway issue, in my non-professional, lay-mans opinion: I don’t think building a 2 mile (or shorter) runway without detection is so hard. The experts say it could land on a dirt road. In WWII and the Cold War all sides would use inflatable submarine fleets, tanks, etc. to throw off enemy reconnaissance. They could build it in a deserted area and simply cover the completed sections with temporary buildings/sheds, park vehicles on them, replant small trees, etc. From a satellite it may not be so obvious.

  6. David Lentz Says:

    It would be easier to wrap a scenario around a set of facts if those darned facts did not seems change day by day. or hour by hour.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Lizzy:

    Yes, indeed. I have been more anxious about flying, too. I think that’s common. Just to know that this is possible is unnerving.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW and kit:

    By the way, it’s unnecessary to fly above the usual flying altitudes in order to kill the passengers, if the pilot decompresses the cabin. It can happen at lower altitudes, too. First unconsciousness and then death. I’m not sure at what altitude it begins, but certainly anywhere above 26,000 (“the death zone”) would probably do it. The advantages of going to a higher altitude than usual, such as 46,000 feet, in terms of how fast unconsciousness sets in are probably not enough to have made it worth the pilot’s while to ascend to that high a level (see this). So that high an altitude would not have been necessary, even if the goal was to kill the passengers. Depressurizing the cabin at an altitude in the 30,000s would probably have done the same (and the pilot apparently can stop the oxygen masks from deploying; at least, I’ve heard “experts” state that).

  9. kaba Says:

    I’m thinking they would strip the plane of all but that which would be required to fly which would reduce weight and allow them to take off from a much shorter field. A further guess is loading an EMP enhanced nuke and popping it at about 43K altitude somewhere near their target.

  10. parker Says:

    ‘Experts’ seem to be in a contest, egged on by the MSM circus, to see who can hog the spotlight for 10 minutes. The ‘facts’ are constantly changing and I suspect there must be far more facts that are being withheld from the MSM circus. We need to wait for verifiable and thorough information, but it may be a long wait. Until then I’ll continue to favor Occam’s Razor.

  11. Lurker Says:

    I’m sticking with intercontinental missile unless and until the wreck is found. I saw something that suggests a northern track following closely behind Singapore Airlines flight 68 (another 777) to avoid radar until past Pakistan. If they were close enough to each other from the radars point of view, the radar would consider them the same track. The whole point of transponders is to make radar’s job easier. If you set the transponder to 7500 (I think, been years since my research air defense for the government days) the radar will show the aircraft has been hijacked.

  12. CV Says:

    It’s interesting that the “simple” theory about a possible fire got such wide distribution. I think many people would prefer to believe that the pilot heroically tried to save the passengers and ran out of time/luck. As bad as that scenario is, the alternatives (terrorism or pilot suicide) are even worse to contemplate.

    I read that the older pilot’s wife and children reportedly moved out of their home the day before the flight. If that’s true, it would seem to bolster the pilot suicide theory. Also the fact that passengers’ deaths might have taken place after they were first rendered unconscious (less terrifying and/or painful than a crash) and their families could collect insurance money if the plane went down far out at sea without a trace.

    Regardless, any scenario is horrible and certainly makes one more anxious to fly these days.

  13. blert Says:

    1) The Captain of MH370 threaded the needle in terms of AVOIDING radar.

    That’s the LAST thing that would occur to a stricken crew.

    2) Each and every seat on a 777 is a flotation device. Not a single one has been found.

    3) Typically, wing elements float on and on. Even kerosene is less dense than sea water.

    4) Muslims hijacking infidel planes, holding hostages to swap for terrorist murderers locked up in prisons… is Standard Operating Procedure.

    5) AQ has been engaged in a world-wide campaign named: “Breaking Down the Walls.”

    a) Hence mass prison escapes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan…

    b) Hence bombings in Turkey…

    c) Hence prisoner exchanges in Syria… (within last two-weeks, BTW, see Long War Journal)…

    d) Hence pressure on Australia to release this or that Muslim from prison…

    e) Hence threats, bombings, and such to obtain releases of fanatics in KSA… (!) [These have received zip MSM coverage.]

    6) Thailand has erupted into full scale civil conflict — jihad driven north by Muslims has fractured the Thai government — humiliated its military…

    a) Cadres and funding for the above via Kuala Lumpur…

    b) The Captain is alleged to have been a patron of the jihadi element in Malaysia. (a local MB outfit)

    7) Kuala Lumpur has been Ground Zero for jumbo jet hijacking and destruction from Day One.

    a) Why would that be so?

    b) Did AQ have captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah on retainer in that bygone day?

    c) Someone HAD to be giving AQ the inside skinny on flight operations. The fanatics had to go all the way to Malaysia to find players both knowledgeable enough AND not under the gaze of KSA spies. The only location that meets that standard was Kuala Lumpur. It’s a connection not normally made. The whiz kids thought that AQ just loved their price break on hotel rooms.

    8) The Uyghur conflict is fully heated up. Beijing has locked up many. Now that the authorities realize that Uyghurs intended to fly jumbos into the Beijing Olympics they are following the fanatics rather closely. Manpower is no problem.

    a) Officials in Red China have put it out that the Kunming murderers were at first trying to get out and fly to Kuala Lumpur. Unable to do so, they stabbed the Cantonese.

    b) There would be every incentive to trade the hostages for Uyghur prisoners. If this is intended, then it stands to reason that the fanatics WANT the situation to reach the boil. They want it to be an international affair. They’d be following the events in Beijing closely, with their own agents in the capital city.

    c) During this delay, the fanatics are in a position to milk the captives for every manner of detail. Shaking them down to obtain more funds for the cause would be reason enough to delay contact with the wider world.

    9) With the captain in on the plot, it’d be no biggie to knock everyone out with gas. As the cabin pressure was dropped — and most are already sleeping — then any agent would have VERY prompt effects. There’d be no resistance at all. He could land the plane before anyone came to.

    10) The Iranian travellers don’t have a sensible story. We’re expected to believe that they’re going to the Far East so that they can go to Europe. Why?

    11) The co-pilot seems in the clear. His fiancee is ultra-depressed. I suspect he is too, if he’s alive.

  14. Beverly Says:

    “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
    –Sherlock Holmes

    (Rush got it all wrong; he was thinking of Occam’s Razor, a rather different maxim, but attributed it to SH.)

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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