Malaysia Looks Set to Restart MH370 Search – UPDATED

Many thanks to reader @David who provided the link to the following statement issued today, October 19, 2017, by Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester:

I acknowledge the announcement that the Malaysian Government is entering into an agreement with Ocean Infinity, to search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Malaysian Government has accepted an offer from Ocean Infinity to search for the missing plane, entering into a ‘no find no fee’ arrangement.

Malaysia’s decision to proceed with the search shows the commitment to find MH370.

While I am hopeful of a successful search, I’m conscious of not raising hopes for the loved ones of those on board.

Ocean Infinity will focus on searching the seafloor in an area that has previously been identified by experts as the next most likely location to find MH370.
Australia, at Malaysia’s request, will provide technical assistance to the Malaysian Government and Ocean Infinity.

No new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft, however data collected during the previous search will be provided.

As always our thoughts are with the families and friends. I hope that this new search will bring answers, both for the next of kin and for the rest of the world.

From the language it seems that Australia is at an arm’s length from this deal. It sounds like, despite having been put in charge of the original seabed search, they are not party to this deal. What’s more, in being “conscious of not raising hopes for the loved ones of those on board” he sounds rather skeptical of the odds of success. I find this a little surprising given the tone of recent Australian pronouncements, such as the statement in the CSIRO’s “The search for MH370 and ocean surface drift – Part II” report that “we are now even more confident that the aircraft is within the new search area identified and recommended in the MH370 First Principles Review.”

Worth noting that Malaysia has not finalized a deal. Several news outlets are reporting that “the Malaysian Government has confirmed it has chosen a company [Ocean Infinity] to begin a new search for MH370 and is now negotiating the terms of the deal.”

So what, you ask, is Ocean Infinity? The Houston-based company seems to have sprung into existence recently; the oldest article I could find about the company was from last October. It owns a fleet of AUVs but leases its support ship from Swire Seabed, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong conglomerate. According to one source,

Swire Seabed already has a six-year contract in place for its new vessel with UK-based mapping company Ocean Infinity, the owner of the AUVs and USVs. The vessel will serve as the host for the multiple AUV operations in a combined venture between Ocean Infinity, with Swire Seabed providing survey processing and project management, and SeaTrepid DeepSea of Louisiana conducting operations of the AUVs.

Looks like somebody’s looking to gamble a lot of money on long odds. But whose money, exactly, is at stake?

UPDATE 10/21/17: I just received an email from Ocean Infinity’s media relations rep, Mark Antelme of Celicourt Communications. He says:

Thanks for getting in touch with the team.  At this stage, all we can really say (as a company spokesperson) is:

“Ocean Infinity are not yet able to confirm the final award of a contract to help in the search for MH370, but good progress has been made.  We remain optimistic that we will be able to try and help provide some answers to those who have been affected by this tragedy.”

There is a fair amount of info on the company here:

Otherwise, we hope to be able to update people on the contract award over the coming days and we will make sure you receive any communication from us.

I wonder what the sticking points are.

197 thoughts on “Malaysia Looks Set to Restart MH370 Search – UPDATED”

  1. @Crobbie, I think they’re just flatly baffled, with a realization that taken as a whole the data just doesn’t add up. But no, I don’t think they’re ready to embrace the Russia theory.

  2. @Jeff
    I know how fruitless this debate is, but if it was assumed that the data, in part ‘ex juvantibus’, so to speak, doesn’t add up, then why specifically Russia? If we were to disregard the sat data, the hardest data we are left with are the dubious radar sightings and the debris, which as you amongst others have covered in great detail is also curiously dubious. I don’t want to sound like the proverbial broken record but if the plane doesn’t get found in the ‘high probability’ (or even the not so high probability) areas predicted by the sat data I see no specific reason why Russia should be any more likely than any other place within fuel range, and even a westerly course frankly only seems slightly more likely given the uncertainties surrounding the radar points in particular and the debris. If the sat data gets disproved by the absence of the plane, it seems to me that it could be pretty much anywhere within fuel range of the last certain location in the gulf of Thailand. With the notable exception, I cannot resist to point out, of several square kilometers of deep sea in the SIO.

  3. @Havelock, You wrote, “I see no specific reason why Russia should be any more likely than any other place within fuel range.” All I can say is, read this blog. There are multiple independent sets of data that point to Russia.

  4. The data analysis was entirely experimental as I recall, was it not? so the fact it may be a total failure would be no surprise.

    But how can they not know??? can’t they fly a plane on that route and just test it? that’s like what I would have done the first day. maybe they did and I don’t remember or that isn’t public info. or maybe you just can’t do it, it isn’t safe.

  5. @Jeff Wise said:

    “All I can say is, read this blog. There are multiple independent sets of data that point to Russia.”

    What ‘independent sets of data’ point to Russia?

    Jeff, I asked you this question when you made a similar statement a while back, but you didn’t answer. And yes, I’ve read your blog since the beginning.

    The main (only?) benefit to Russia that we know about would seem to be the coincidence with the invasion/annexation of Crimea and the subsequent filling of most media airtime and column inches with MH370 instead. Especially CNN who were doing 24 hour updates. As you know – you were part of that.

    In your view, how else did Russia benefit from MH370?

  6. @PS9, It’s not productive to choose a potential perpetrator and then assess their guilt based on whether or not you feel they had a motive to carry out the deed. The only way to move forward is to take the evidence, look at it carefully, and see if it indicates who carried out the act. Once you’ve nailed that down you can speculate about motives at your leisure.

    It turns out that the data does indicate who hijacked MH370. These are the multiple independent lines of data:

    1) The absence of the plane in the SIO search area suggests that the Inmarsat data was hacked. There is only really one way that anyone’s been able to come up with by which it could be hacked. The portion of the data that was not likely hacked is by itself enough to indicate a route; this route goes to Kazakhstan, a fact that implicates Russia.
    2) Further evidence that the plane did not go into the SIO comes from the debris, none of which shows any evidence of having floated 2 years from the SIO. This indicates that the debris was planted. The person who found most of the debris has deep ties to Russia.
    3) In trying to understand why planes crash, a useful first step is to look at similar incidents. Historically, the only known cause of a 777 coming to grief during the cruise portion of flight is due to attack by Russian military intelligence. This, then, should naturally be our default explanation in the case of MH370.

  7. If we are already going that route the only known cause of a 777 coming to grief is due to a contact with SA missile.

    However I don’t think we should compare a crash in a war zone and strange disappearance on the other end of the world.

  8. Well it would be nice if Inmarsat released it’s data set in it’s rawest format for independent scrutiny.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if it turns out there was no reboot & no second set of data & there was no extended period of flight. Which would mean Mh370 came down exactly where multiple witnesses put it & where the radar last placed the plane. Somewhere off the coast of Northern Sumatra….

  9. @Michael John – it would possibly produce more debris local to Sumatra, and other countries in the North Indian Ocean.

  10. @MH

    Actually it wouldn’t…. In the interest of diversity I wanted to look at both possibilities… The NIO & SIO.

    In much the same way debris from the SIO was unlikely to wash ashore in Australia debris is unlikely to wash ashore in Sumatra…. Tests using Adrift.Org for example shows that Mh370 coming down in the NIO approx 250 miles off the coast is consistent with the timing of the Flaprron on Reunion.

    This is due to currents that move in an Anti Clockwise motion. Indeed both Csiro & Geomar have released drift data to support that.

    I think that is why the data is so important. Without it the haystack is so much bigger.

  11. But it should have snagged ashore in greater quantities in Sri Lanka, Maldives or Chagos islands before Reunion /etc with currents operating in counter clockwise So overall maybe it didn’t crash anywhere in the IO.

  12. Absence of debris does not mean much in this context. The possibility of a clean up job after sofisticated highjack or accidental shoot-out should not be ruled out.

    The NIO/ West Sumatra seems the most logical alternative to SIO. The Inmarsat (originated from UK/US) data deviated the attention from the NIO. The MOT Minister of Malaysia went there in person to assess the situation. Many pointers to this area if you include the witness accounts.

    In my opinion, the relog-on with no apparent purpose/reason would most likely suggest, if the data was proven “invalid”, that the data was “added” at very convenient timing as opposed to “hacked”. Easier to take a flight from another location, change flight id and GES Id and tranlate the location to the last radar position than changing direction from South to North in my opinion.

  13. The Inmarsat Data riddle is always going to be a bone of contention for some. The fact is the Formula they have used to work out where Mh370 went has been corroborated against known flights so they know it works.

    So the fact Mh370 isn’t where the Formula has indicated it to be surely raises questions over the validity of the data as a whole.

    I personally find it suspicious how Mh370 was (allegedly) spotted travelling out towards the Indian Ocean from the top of the Malacca Strait yet the area around the NIO where potentially Mh370 could have come down was never searched. Indeed America had a warship tasked to search this area:

    A snippet from the above article:

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Navy on Thursday ordered a ship to the Indian Ocean to search for a missing Malaysian airliner amid reports the plane kept “pinging” a satellite after losing radar contact.

    The focus of search efforts shifted from the South China Sea after the White House said “new information” indicated the plane may have gone down to the west in the Indian Ocean.

    “The USS Kidd is transiting the Strait of Malacca en route to the Indian Ocean,” a navy official told AFP, referring to a guided-missile destroyer initially deployed to the Gulf of Thailand.

    I believe this was BEFORE the Inmarsat Data became apparent. As we all know any potential search in the NIO was curtailed due to new evidence coming to light which was the ISAT Data.

    In regards to the Debris. The Sea state was I believe relatively calm in the NIO at the time Mh370 disappeared. I know circling off Northern Sumatra was suggested as a possibility at 1 point before being quietly dismissed. How much debris can we expect to see from a successful ditch?

  14. @Michael John, You’re pursuing a fruitless line of inquiry. An endpoint in the NIO is flatly incompatible with the BTO data, which is the most robust and unambiguous part of the Inmarsat data. If you really want to go this route, what you need to do is familiarize yourself with the workings of the SDU and explain how the BTO data could have been spoofed. And please don’t dig up news reports from the early weeks after the disappearance. They are riddled with misinformation. In this case, the fact that the Kidd passed through the Malacca Strait en route to the Indian Ocean has no significance.

  15. @JW

    “An endpoint in the NIO is flatly incompatible with the BTO data,”

    ?! If you allow for changes in speed/altitude it’s perfectly compatible. Remember we don’t know if the plane held constant speed/altitude for the last 4 hours, it’s just an assumption (more and more likely a very wrong one).

  16. An analysis of answer given by Malaysian Defense Minister to question the of cost of the SAR of MH370 in a BBC interview – Part 1
    Going back to 2014 in the aftermath of the disappearance of MH370, the Malaysian Defense Minister gave an interview to BBC in which he was asked about the cost of the Search and Rescue (SAR) of MH370.
    The answer he gave is quite revealing.
    The interview can be found at the link below. The question starts at 3:15.

    BBC: many are now saying that the cost of finding mh370 may already be more than the cost of finding AF440 which is about a 160 million dollars. It seems like you may be hoping or maybe you have been told that each country will pay their way with this part of this (terrible?) investigation
    (hh doesn’t wait for Jonah Fisher to complete his question)
    HH: much is Ukraine costing everybody? (HH smiling grimly)
    2. how much,… uh-uh has it been for Syria? and it is still unfolding (as if he caught himself saying something he should not have said, HH is trying to qualify the previous rhetorical question with more rhetorical questions)
    3. how much does it cost the people of egypt?(now displaying righteous anger)
    4. how much is it costing the people of Tunisia, Libya, Iraq? not only in dollars and cents but in lives
    5. here, which is peanuts trying to find what happened to a plane with innocent people on board
    6. close to home, how much money is being paid to patrol these rocks in the s.china sea?
    7. compare that with the cost of this SAR, lets put it in perspective

    An analysis
    To the question about the cost of the search operation, the expected reply would have been along the lines of cost estimates, sources of funding, insurance coverage etc.
    Instead the minister replyed back with a series of rhetorical questions which appear to be unrelated to the question posed by the reporter.
    These rhetorical questions were meant to convey a point.

    – What exactly is his point?
    Lines 1-4 all refer to geopolitical events far removed from SE Asia, and unrelated to Malaysian Airlines or civil aviation.
    The minister appears to be suggesting that the total political and economic costs associated with these political crises in the middle east and europe are large compared to the cost of searching for MH370, hence the cost is justified and must be shared by the search partners.
    But why is the minister comparing the search for MH370 to political crises in other parts of the world?
    How are these geopolitical events impacting the willingness of partner countries to defray the cost of the search for MH370?
    None of the search partners were actively involved in any of these geopolitical events, with the exception of perhaps the USA.

    But somehow, in the mind of the Malaysian defense minister, the disappearance of MH370 is related to a geopolitical event, and not a mechanical failure nor the fault of a suicidal captain.

    – But specifically what geopolitical event?

    Normally, to any question in an interview, the first response usually betrays the most pressing issue that is top most in the mind of the interviewee, and in this case the first response refers to Ukraine.
    So it’s possible that somehow the geopolitical events in Ukraine in March 2014 had some connection to MH370.

    The wording of the first response (Line 1) is also quite different from the wording of the rest of the rhetorical questions.

    ‘How much is Ukraine costing EVERYBODY[my emphasis]’.

    The other responses (Lines 2-4) all refer to the peoples of the individual countries affected.
    He appears to be suggesting that unlike the crises which are affecting the people in and around these specific countries, the crisis in Ukraine is affecting everybody including Malaysia.
    He also leaves that first response hanging there for a few seconds (pause) before continuing with the rest of the response. This is a common technique used to emphasize a point.
    So HH leaves no room for doubt that the crisis in Ukraine had something to do with MH370.

    – HH also appears to be thinking of cost not only in terms of dollars but also in terms of lives as he makes clear in the reference to Tunisia, Libya & Iraq.

    Either the minister is confused, or else he is clearly thinking of the cost in terms of dollars and lives not only in these political crises, but also as it relates to MH370. Hence the minister is appearing to suggest the lives lost in MH370 is analogous to lives lost in these political crises.

    – Furthermore, Line 5: ‘here, which is peanuts trying to find what happened to a plane with INNOCENT PEOPLE [my emphasis] on board.’ … the minister’s use of the term ‘innocent people’ is quite curious in that the passengers are being contrasted with those who are presumably GUILTY of something, such a the destruction of MH370.

    The Malaysian Defense Minister appears to be suggesting that the disappearance of MH370 was a geopolitical act related to the crisis in Ukraine, and possibly related to the Arab spring, and that it was carried out by malicious actors who killed innocent passengers.

  17. @Jeff, if a techy savy complicit was tasked to make a fake flight path south to divert attention from the NIO, i am sure there would have been a number of possibilities.
    If one assumes that the Inmarsat data is spoofed, it is reasonable to assume the BTO could be too. As far as i understood, i may be wrong, the GES log is not crypted so easily modifiable by global search and replace routines. This means to say that if ones does not trust the Inmarsat data, it is safer to ignore the data set all together as opposed to retaining bits such as BTO data.
    Hypothetically, the BTO could me modified by offset increment or decrement so long as the plane speed remains credible (not sure if this will create incompatibility with the other data in the data set)(eg the plane could have been flying low and slow whereas the BTO data indicates it was flying fast). Also, hypothetically, to make the spoofing more credible, I have been thinking whether it is possible to use a B777 flight from another location (say in another continent) and just modifying GES ID, plane id and date stamps; ie this will credibly translate the flight path to the SIO. I’d like to hear more from the Satcom specialist on these possibilities.
    I am like @Michael to think NIO is still credible. Saying that i still think the spoofing is unlikely or it is sophisticated enough to keep compatibility amongst the other parameters.

  18. @All

    As a layman & most certainly not a qualified expert in Satcom data analysis Jeff & other Experts are right in criticizing my beliefs. After All I am not in a position to qualify my opinions. Not matter how much reading up on the subject I can do it does not match the qualifications & experience of our resident experts.

    Which is why I have no interest in challenging the data itself. Is it spoofed? No idea. So what am I saying? I wonder if Jeff will allow me to explain…

    The formula into the ISAT Data has already been calculated & the figures produced & translated into a way laymen like me can understand. So my view on it is as a casual observer. I know that the LES in Perth transmits a “Ping” signal to the aircraft via a satellite above the Indian Ocean (3-F1). My view is of a Rugby player taking a penalty kick. I’m sitting in the stands. I make a note of the players position & the ball. I then Mark the trajectory as the ball rises then falls. Now this won’t tell us where the ball is exactly but we can see the trajectory of travel.

    I look at the Inmarsat Data as a trajectory. 3F1 is the observer. Putting aside time & looking at the data on a graph against the flat of the Earth we can see the trajectory of the plane. Take the Amsterdam flight comparison data. On a flat earth map we can see the aircraft take off from Kuala Lumpur & travel up the map towards Amsterdam tapering off at the end of the flight as it lands. This is consistent with the data graph.

    I applied that theory to the data graph for Mh370. The plane takes off. The trajectory rises as it moves away from Kuala Lumpur before falling as it moves back towards the Malacca Strait & rises again as it travels up the Malacca Strait towards the Indian Ocean.

    Looking at the Data this way obviously means that the plane went no further than the NIO. As I said. I’m a casual observer so my opinion isn’t valid. Jeff’s Russia theory & planted debris therefore will carry more weight, even if (with all due respect) it is more fanciful than my own beliefs. So my argument isn’t about spoofing at all or about experts not knowing what they are talking about, it’s about me stating what appears to me to be the most obvious.

  19. @CliffG

    Interesting post but as @JeffWise so eloquently states “And please don’t dig up news reports from the early weeks after the disappearance. They are riddled with misinformation.”

    Whether you should believe anything said by Hishammuddin Hussein and Najib Razak shortly after the disappearance of 9M-MRO is a moot point. In reality it should be bundled up with the ISAT data as misleading and intended to leave a false trail.

  20. @ SteveBarrat
    I believe Jeff was referring to news reports that are purportedly carrying technical/factual information.
    In most cases of breaking news immediately after a tragedy, there will be some news reports that are erroneous or have irrelevant information.
    As to the issue of whether one can believe HH or Najib, it depends on the context. If one were to ask a question related to LOCAL politics, one cannot expect the whole truth. But that is true for most politicians everywhere.
    In this interview I don’t see any reason why we should doubt the sincerity of HH’s response. It’s clear that he didn’t respond directly to the question asked of him. But his indirect response says a lot more.

  21. @Michael John, The attempt to solve the mystery of MH370 has been made incomparably harder by the fog of uninformed opinion. As you admit that you do not understand the technical details, there seems little point in belaboring the topic further. Let’s end this discussion here.

  22. @HB, You’re just arm-waving. If you want to posit a specific mode by which the Inmarsat data was hacked, do so. An explanation for what happened to MH370 must provide actual physically plausible explanations based on what we know of the systems in play.

  23. @Jeff, RE: “Arm waving” I always speak with the hands lol. No seriously I am just applying a systematic approach (see below) as opposed to the approach of postulating a theory and verifying a theory.

    RE: “An explanation for what happened to MH370 must provide actual physically plausible explanations based on what we know of the systems in play”

    Fully agreed but we are stuck with the unstructured approach employed so far which does not give any lead. Maybe it is only my point of view but no explanation does not mean ruled out. Brick houses and pyramids were constructed before the science was understood. Of course the ultimate aim is to know what happened but the information could only come from the recovered physical evidence (not from the soft evidence that can be manipulated).

    Now, as cover up been raised as a possible concern, it is reasonable not to trust all the soft evidence presented as fact. We have past the time of cutting corners to find a most probable location before the pingers battery expires. The approach for the investigation should now be SYSTEMATIC and scenario based assuming that one or more pieces of evidence or data are invalid (or even misinterpreted despite the confidence of many).

    Based on what we know, apart from the Inmarsat data evidence there is no compelling reason to rule out the NIO (like a number of other locations in SIO) at this stage. If the plane is not found where the data analysis points, there is a compeling reason to start to question the validity of the Satcom data or its interpretation.

    With a systematic approach, a plausible explanation is not necessary for a valid NIO possibility argument; just need to assume the Satcom data is invalid for some reasons (as mentioned the GES Log could have been for instance modified after the facts but there are many other possible reasons and fruitless to speculate at this time). Same applies to other locations in SIO. It is a matter of likelihood. The northern route requires two assumptions (though it could be a common cause): satcom data invalidity + debris planting.
    In all logical sense, if one has to put his pocket money to the search, the priority would be to search systematically in this order:
    1) based on Satcom data validity (SIO location searched so far)
    2) based on Satcom data validity but misinterpreted/ wrong assumptions (current approach) (Still SIO location but outside search area)
    3) based on Satcom data entirely invalid (then need to go back to all the data that was dismissed on the basis of the Satcom data but basically NIO is in this category of possible locations)
    4) based on Satcom data invalidity + debris planting assumption (the northern route category here)
    5) repeat sequence with military radar data validity, etc.

  24. @HB, You’re misframing the issue in categorizing the Inmarsat data as “valid” or “invalid.” The data exists, and must be accounted for in some way. In my case, I’m not discarding the BFO and BTO values recorded by Inmarsat, but rather arguing that the only plausible way I can think of that they could have been generated is by someone tampering with the SDU’s doppler precompensation algorithm.

    If you want us to entertain an NIO terminus, your scenario has to include a mechanism by which the observed BFO and BTO values were generated.

  25. any terminus in IO along the 7th arc is possible, DennisW has posted several routes ending in NIO that took only slight changes in speed/altitude to fit BFO&BTO data

  26. @JW

    A few questions:

    I’m assuming that the person or person’s tampering with the SDU are on board the plane?

    Who would be that person in your opinion?

    Do you have a reason to why the SDU would be tampered with?

    Do you seriously believe in the Russian theory? (Whilst I’m not against believing that Russia or any other Country could be behind the planes disappearance I find it difficult to understand how the aircraft would have made it to Russia without detection).

  27. @StevanG: any terminus in IO along the 7th arc is possible if you ignore the aerial search and the Bayesian analysis. At any rate, I think by NIO he means the Andaman Sea or something like that.

    @Michael John, Yes, the person tampering with the SDU would have to be aboard the plane. I believe it was likely tampered with by Nikolai Brodsky, Sergei Deineka, and Oleg Chustrak. The reason they tampered with the SDU was to make the plane look like it went south when it really went north.

    You think it would be hard for the plane to make it back to Russia without detection probably because like many people you assume that most of the world is covered by military radar. It is not, especially that part of it.

  28. @Jeff, by “valid” I meant “Can be relied on”
    by “invalid” i meant “Yes it exists but cannot be relied on”

    In terms of security vulnerability, you raised a good point by highlighting the vulnerability of the SDU but this is not the only way to modify the data. In principle if one purposedly intends to modify the data, he could modify the input, the process/algorithm or the results. I myself opine that we should not underestimate the security vulnerability of the data itself contained in the GES/AES Log (ie the results). Basically, a direct data hack would open a much wider range of end point possibilities unfortunately (possibly outside the 7th arc). Is it not possible to hack the GES/AES Log with modified or back-engineered BTO/BFO data (assuming that person/ organisation understands the AES/GES Log specs and the corelations between plane position and BTO/BFO data) (the hack could be adding series of data to make us believe the plane continue its course or modification of the data by increment or decrement to point to another location)? Can BTO/BFO data not be back engineered?

    I don’t have any particular scenario preference. My preference is that no possible scenario be discarded (including the official line) until further clues are available.

  29. @Jeff Wise
    I would really like your opinion on this (I spent so much time trying to figure this out)
    Analysis of answer given by Malaysian Defense Minister to the question of cost of the SAR of MH370 in a BBC interview – Part 2
    Going back to 2014 in the aftermath of the disappearance of MH370, the Malaysian Defense Minister gave an interview to BBC in which he was asked about the cost of the Search and Rescue (SAR) of MH370.
    The answer he gave is quite revealing.
    The interview can be found at the link below. The question starts at 3:15.

    BBC: many are now saying that the cost of finding mh370 may already be more than the cost of finding AF440 which is about a 160 million dollars. It seems like you may be hoping or maybe you have been told that each country will pay their way with this part of this (terrible?) investigation
    (hh doesn’t wait for Jonah Fisher to complete his question)
    HH: much is Ukraine costing everybody? (HH smiling grimly)
    2. how much,… uh-uh has it been for Syria? and it is still unfolding (as if he caught himself saying something he should not have said, HH is trying to qualify the previous rhetorical question with more rhetorical questions)
    3. how much does it cost the people of egypt?(now displaying righteous anger)
    4. how much is it costing the people of Tunisia, Libya, Iraq? not only in dollars and cents but in lives
    5. here, which is peanuts trying to find what happened to a plane with innocent people on board
    6. close to home, how much money is being paid to patrol these rocks in the s.china sea?
    7. compare that with the cost of this SAR, lets put it in perspective

    Lines 1-5, see Part I above.
    Lines 6 – what is HH referring to when HH mentions ‘patrolling rocks in the s.china sea’?
    The ‘rocks’ in question are the coral reefs and islands in the South China Sea which are disputed by countries in the area, including Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and China. They are disputed in order to prevent China from claiming them.
    And to maintain this state of affairs, Malaysia and other countries of the South East Asia which have security cooperation agreements with USA are spending large sums of money to patrol them with their navies, and air forces.
    They do this because the USA asks them to do so as part of the security cooperation agreements.

    The only issue of geopolitical significance in the S.China Sea was the Island building efforts of China in the summer of 2014 on some of the submerged reefs, where sand was dredged up and the surface expanded and built up into military outposts in record time.

    Thus, the common thread throughout the response from the minister is the geopolitical role of USA.
    Line 1 – USA v Russia (Ukraine & Crimea)
    Line 2-4 – USA v Arab dictators (& their supporters Russia & China)
    Line 6 – USA v China (S. China Sea)

    However, the timeline for these events is not in the same order.
    The Arab Spring – late 2010-2012 (Syria is ongoing)
    Ukraine & Crimea – Dec 2013- ongoing
    South China Sea – Apr 2014 – ongoing

    What US geopolitical agenda can be traced through this timeline?
    The best match for this timeline is the socalled ‘Pivot to Asia’ doctrine of the Obama administration, laid out by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton in 2011. This Pivot to Asia was interpreted differently by different groups.

    The Europeans – USA will take it’s eyes off europe, focus on China. NATO is now to be lead by the Europeans
    The Russians – USA will take it’s eyes off europe/russia, focus on China.
    The Middle East (rulers) – USA will take it’s eyes off middle east.
    China – USA will focus attention on China and balancing its rise. China feels threatened.
    S.E.Asia – USA will focus attention on China and balancing its rise

    Despite the Obama administration’s turning away from the middle east, the arab spring erupted in 2010, the NED/Soros may have had a hand in it.
    Then the invasion of Libya happened in 2012 with US support, which Russia’s Putin didn’t like.
    The Bolotnaya protests started in 2011-2012 in Russia to protest Putin’s reelection.
    Putin began supporting Assad of Syria in 2013, hoping perhaps to get the US involved in a new middle east conflict. The conflict weaponizes refugees, and disrupts european social harmony, thus leading to the rise of far-right/populist movements which threaten to break up the EU, weaken NATO.
    Then maidan happens in Ukraine Dec 2013 and the US State Dept’s Victoria Nuland (she of the ‘F**K EU’ infamy, and married to neo-con Robert Kagan) plots to overthrow Russia-leaning President Yanukovich.

    So the Kremlin figures out the whole ‘Pivot to Asia’ stuff was just deception from the US to try to take attention away from american covert activities promoting democracy in totalitarian states in europe and middle east.

    In retaliation for Ukraine falling, Russia invades Crimea in Mar 2014, Putin’s popularity is sky high in Russia.
    Kremlin wants to open a second front for America to prevent US from concentrating on Ukraine/Russia.
    Kremlin knows that China feels threatened by ‘Pivot to Asia’ but China is unable to do anything to show resolve. China can’t invade another country because it’s not in Chinese interests, and Chinese are cautious by nature.

    So to precipitate action by China, MH370 with many Chinese civilians disappears over S. China sea.
    China insists plane disappeared over S.China Sea, and starts island building activity with long airfields capable of launching combat jet patrols, show Chinese public it’s resolve to ‘take control’ of S.China seas. President Xi Jinping’s credibility rises as China’s strong leader.
    Putin visits China late 2014 and is received by Xi Jinping.

    Remember, nobody knew that Inmarsat started recording BTO values after AF440.

    So MH370’s 7 hrs flying time and/or flight into SIO after comloss could have remained hidden if US/UK/Malaysia chose to listen to China and remain focussed on searching S.China seas.

    But it was the White House that first broke the news that MH370 flewback over Malaysia, up the Andaman Straits, and into SIO.

    Russia made MH370 disappear for the following reasons:
    – show it’s resolve to the US over the issue of Crimea/Ukraine, and US support for democratic movements in Russia
    – weaponize information (news coverage of MH370) and distract attention of the world from ‘little green men’ invading Crimea
    – force China to start Island Building efforts in S.China Sea, and a) build up credibility of President Xi Jinping as CCP strong man, b) create potential 2nd front for US during Ukraine invasion

  30. @JW

    The topic of the ISAT Data is difficult for some but it seems to me that it is the root of the Mh370 problem & potentially also it’s solution.

    As we have already ascertained I am not an expert to any degree. But as a casual observer there is something fundamentally wrong with the data or it’s interpretation. There has been a vast sum of money invested in the search of the SIO to date & that wouldn’t have been sanctioned in the 1st place without some conviction in the results of the Data calculations & as we all know that despite extensions to the search area nothing has been found. Nothing to even confirm Mh370 was in the area at all.

    As we all know the Pings are recorded in microseconds & I have always wondered how big a difference in terms of distance to an Arc a slight delay by just few microseconds would be? Also you believe that the SDU was essentially corrupted by someone on board the aircraft. The reason why I would think the interpretation of the Data is more likely to be off than a tampering of the SDU is because I remember the early days when tampering of a SDU was discussed at length & acknowledged whilst possible it is highly unlikely. Maybe the SDU was tampered with but then wouldn’t that throw the entire validity of the data into question? The other question is that we still don’t know how & why the SDU ceased operating in the 1st place so as I have asked before, can we rely 100% on the results it gives after it’s reboot?

  31. @Michael John, I’m fully in agreement with your first two paragraphs. In the third, you write: “I remember the early days when tampering of a SDU was discussed at length & acknowledged whilst possible it is highly unlikely.” Indeed, Mike Exner has written that he feels a spoof would not be difficult but that he considered it vanishingly unlikely. I think it’s self-evident that, if one were to start fresh on the case, an elaborate and sophisticated hijacking would be pretty far down your list. But as I’ve written many times, all of the simple and easy scenarios have been taken off the table. Weird is all we have left.

    You also wrote: “we still don’t know how & why the SDU ceased operating in the 1st place so as I have asked before, can we rely 100% on the results it gives after it’s reboot?” Exactly!

  32. @CliffG, You present an interesting case. Just as an aside, I think that China to an unusual degree is an internally-focused culture. A friend of mine who was a foreign correspondent there for many years told me that the mindset in China is that China is a world unto itself, and that everything that matters happens inside China. When Westerners went to the court of the Emperor in an attempt to open the Middle Kingdom to trade, they were told no (paraphrasing from memory): “The Empire already has everything it needs.”

    Russia, in comparison, has always been acutely sensitive to its neighbors. It was born from foreign conquest, and unlike China, which traditionally exported its culture to neighbors and assimilated conquerors, has tended to import rather than export its culture: the alphabet, the religion, even the name all come from abroad. Modern Russians are acutely aware of the demographic impalance between its population in the Far East and that of its southern neighbors, and do not find it farfetched to consider that they could someday lose that territory.

    One upshot of all this, I think, is that Russia is much more adept at elaborate engagements with its adversaries, whereas China’s goals and strategy are more straightforward. That is to say, they want to control the South China Sea simply because they feel it is historically theirs, and once they have sufficient power to control the area uncontestably they will do so by force of inevitable destiny.

  33. @CliffG:
    “…So the Kremlin figures out the whole ‘Pivot to Asia’ stuff was just deception from the US to try to take attention away from American covert activities promoting democracy in totalitarian states in Europe and middle east…”

    Interesting ideas spinning out from Part 1&2 of your search for motive. Very good, well reasoned approach. Once we know the culprit we can maybe start to figure out how the disappearance of MH370 was arranged and how the cover-up operation successfully managed to prevent the discovery of the plane to-date.

    The geopolitic context for the operation is complex and can perhaps be broadened to look at the bigger picture, rather than just considering the simplistic black and white view of USA vv Russia. The current situation is, in reality, one of competition for world power between growing East and a declining West. How does this affect possible outcomes to the various scenarios provided in your excellent posts?

  34. @JW

    You believe that the Inmarsat Data is true. Not because it is an accurate representation of the flight that Mh370 took but because it was the path engineered by someone tampering with the SDU on board the plane. A path designed to think that 9M-MRO had inexplicably travelled across the Malaysian Peninsula up the Malacca Strait out into the Indian Ocean before performing a Final Major turn & flying South until fuel was exhausted. Meanwhile what was really happening is the aircraft was being stealthily moved, quite possibly along known flight paths & following close enough to other aircraft to fool anyone paying close attention to radar that the 2 aircraft were 1. Eventually Mh370 landed in Russia with debris planted in the Indian Ocean to help quell any suspicions to the real events….

    Meanwhile someone quite high up in authority seemed to like the idea Mh370 after the FMT flew at normal expected parameters until fuel exhauation, thus providing Inmarsat with a flawed data model which has led to a failed search. This person no doubt was gambling on their own theory being the correct 1 & that the aircraft once discovered would justify the reasoning by this thinking.

    Jeff you said:

    “The attempt to solve the mystery of MH370 has been made incomparably harder by the fog of uninformed opinion”

    In actual fact the fog of uninformed opinion has had no effect on the search for Mh370 at all. Indeed it would seem that it is the Fog of Informed Opinion has possibly been the cause of simple details being overlooked.

    If we look at nearly all aircraft disappearances to date we know that most of not all have been found in a tough vicinity of where they disappeared. In regards to Mh370 the Gulf of Thailand was that location & initially we had a very open & public search happening. Then it turned out that a blip on military radar saw a plane although unidentified judged to have being Mh370 this aircraft disappeared shortly after leaving the top of the Malacca Strait.

    IMO (Which doesn’t count for much due to the fog of inexperience) there should have been 2 search fronts in operation once the ISAT Data came to light. 1 in the NIO & 1 in the SIO.

    Just entertaining the Russia theory Jeff. What do you think happened to the plane & it’s passengers once it arrived in Russia?

  35. @Jeff Wise

    As a Chinese, I can safely say that your foreign correspondent friend’s comment on Chinese people’s mindset is both stereotyped and inaccurate. The Emperor’s minions might have said that 120 years ago, but in today’s China, literally no one in the social media generation would think “everything that matters happens inside China”, especially with the rest of the world being a click away.

  36. In the early days, it’s interesting that Inmarsat was consistently adding the phrase ‘… assuming the data hasn’t been spoofed’ to any announcements it made.

    Here’s one of those statements:

    “Inmarsat says it is confident the satellite communications data it submitted to Malaysian authorities probing the disappearance of MH370 is accurate assuming that the data was not “spoofed”.

    “We are very confident that this data is correct assuming that there is no other way this data has been spoofed in any way”, said Inmarsat VP Aviation David Coiley at a recent APEX Technology Committee meeting in California. He stressed that Inmarsat strongly believes that spoofing did not occur.”

    Why would they say it might have been spoofed?

    To provide for plausible deniability if needed later?

    Otherwise, what would make them even consider that spoofing was a possibility – the unlikeliness of the destination the data seemed to suggest? Or was there something else they noticed that didn’t seem right but which they (eventually) decided to ignore?

    After all, they were analysing their own data from their own servers and satellites – where could they have thought the spoofing could have occurred – before the data reached their systems? Or after the data was recorded on their databases but before they extracted it? In either case they would be considering the possibility of an outside agency and intention, and therefore a plan and motive.

    Note they didn’t say (eg): ‘ … assuming the data hasn’t been corrupted’ (or something similar to indicate an accidental corruption) or: ‘… assuming the data is complete’: they used the word ‘spoofed’ repeatedly. That would indicate Inmarsat assumed (possible) intention.

    As that article refers, there were also doubts raised early on, of course, about how the data was being analysed, and the reticence of Inmarsat to release the full data (all columns) or any details of how it carried out the analysis (the assumptions made in that process) or who had peer reviewed that process, and to what extent.

    There were apparently also logical inconsistencies in their graphs and conclusions, see the full article referred to in The Atlantic:

    I wonder if all of those early inconsistencies have now been explained and corrected, or if some are still outstanding?

  37. strangest thing, to haxi point (maybe not sure) and totally off topic sorry, I was in shanghai awhile back just before the olympics were in beijing that year. huge parade, people lined streets, huge crowds everywhere because it was for the torch runner to go through middle of the city.

    TV crews, tons of people. So I stood on the streets and watched it and saw all of people singing and chanting in the streets, it was very patriotic and impressive. and it seemed like everyone in the crowd, literally thousands and thousands of the chinese people, were all wearing the same t-shirt that said “I <3 China" (see pic link)

    What I thought was super weird about that was, "If they love China so much, why the hell is that written in English???"

    I still don't get it.

  38. @ PS9

    Simply because the only thing Inmarsat controls is the Satelite Network and the systems. They have no control of the signals sent to the satelites.
    Saying that they also underestimate that spoofing could come from within Inmarsat itself having a direct access to that data because every CEO/VP will stand by the integrity of their staff.

    Saying that I always wondered how Inmarsat staff could do such an analysis. You won’t expect such skills for an operator. It is like asking Telephone operator staff to calculate the distance to a given cell phone. Have they subcontracted that part to a thirdparty?

  39. @Billy

    You raised a very good question. But strangely, when I think about it, I find the T-shirt language-using problem totally acceptable. Maybe because English is so commonly used in my environment that I don’t even realize “I heart China” is in English. This is a sign that China’s young generation (with almost bilingual mind) prefers using whatever language they feel like in situations they see fit. Of course, during the Beijing Olympics, there were people (including Westerners) wearing T-shirts printed with equivalent Chinese characters. My point is, being patriotic doesn’t mean you cannot use a foreign language, nor does it mean “I think all things that matter happen inside my country”. 🙂

  40. Has anyone read the articles about hacking a B757 yet. Although no details by the DHS agency it maybe gives us another look on the possibilties of hacking and spoofing nowadays.

  41. @PS9, I don’t think I’d seen that RunwayGirl piece before, very interesting, thanks. As for the Atlantic, I believe that piece was written before the Doppler precompensation algorithm was understood.

    @Michael John, MH370 didn’t disappear in the Gulf of Thailand. It was last directly observed over the Andaman Sea.

  42. @JW

    Last observed over the Andaman sea? Are you sure about that? Could you stake your professional reputation on that as a categorical fact?

    I’m joking of course. But as we all are probably aware. That apart from a few unconfirmed & possibly dubious witness sightings (I personally believe Kate Tees & Raja Daleh are the most believable) we have the radar reports. Which (In my unprofessional understanding) is a blip on a screen. That blip on a screen was by the powers of amazing deduction to have been 9M-MRO, allegedly fitting in with the time the aircraft was judged to have possibly passed up the Malacca Strait.

    However the only 100% without doubt last known location of Mh370 was when the SDU ceased to function, somewhere around the Gulf of Thailand.

  43. I was going to start a comment highlighting something some people know about & some people don’t. That is the Five Power Defence Arrangements set up in 1971. It’s area defence system is located in Penang at RMAF Butterworth. A location Mh370 is alleged to have flown straight across the top of. Yet nobody seems to alarmed by that fact. Or the fact that India has it’s Southern most Defence post at Car Nicobar Air Force Base in the Andaman Islands.

    2 top notch Countries or organisations you would think would be on alert 24HRS a day 7 days a week for signs of any potential threats. Especially airborne & more so after the Twin Towers attack in America.

    I was looking at a 3rd organisation whose job it is to patrol the Malacca Strait. This is again like the FPDA a system set up by multi Govenments to protect essentially the Malacca Strait from privacy (I’m assuming by air & sea). This is called the Eyes in the Sky Iniative or EIS for short.

    I was curious to know what role EIS played in the events leading up to & after the disappearance of Mh370. They obviously participated in the search for Mh370 but nothing about detecting it in their radar (I am ssuming the radar was not operational at that time of day).

    What is interesting was this press release. Some may have seen it & others may find it not so interesting. I was intrigued by the last paragraph. I will post the last part of the reprt here with the link to the original below:

    Creative solution to protect S’pore’s skies 24/7
    During the event, Dr Ng also announced that the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) would be deploying a tethered aerostat in a military camp next year. The new system, which will complement the RSAF’s suite of airborne and ground-based radars, is expected to save MINDEF and the SAF approximately $29 million annually in operating costs.
    The 55m-long balloon system will operate from a height of 600m to provide a clear line of sight over Singapore’s air and sea space. It is operated by eight ground crew members and will provide 24/7 low-level radar coverage with a range of up to 200km.
    On the reasons behind the RSAF’s decision to install the Aerostat, Dr Ng explained: “We need an effective early warning system from threats that could come by air and sea. The recent MH370 incident showed that international rules for civilian air traffic do not require planes to reveal their positions all the time. (This) means that each country must build its own robust air and maritime surveillance system.”

  44. @Michael John, After a few years of moderating this forum I’ve become pretty prejudiced against lines of argument that require the selective jettisoning of data. As such I’m going to draw the curtain on the case that you’ve been building. I’m shifting your comments to moderation, which means that you’ll still be able to post, but I have to hand-approve each one, so there may be some delay. Posts that continue along this present line will not appear.

  45. @CliffG

    You have a point here in that Hishammuddin Hussein compares 9M-MRO to conflict zones (Ukraine, Arab Spring, Syria etc) and not aviation accidents (eg AF447). Maybe there is a subliminal message there.

    @Michael John

    The FO mobile phone registered at Penang plus other evidence (radar track) indicates 9M-MRO crossed over the Malaysian Peninsula from the Gulf of Thailand.


    “…..Chinese people’s mindset is both stereotyped and inaccurate”. I don’t think @Jeff Wise was being critical, I took it as being rather rather complementary in fact. Further evidence that China was in no way responsible for 9M-MRO

  46. @Jeff, what is your view on the possible tampering of data from within Inmarsat directly? the process only requires a standard laptop + a network card + knowledge of the GES/AES Log specification + hacking skills + backengineering of the BTO/BFO data.

    For the tampering of algorithm from the SDU, I believe this technology employs solid state ROM chipset which is set at manufacture and not configurable, ie tampering onboard would require to replace the SDU or the SDU chipset (may involve soldering). If it employs a flashable EPROM, the process would require replacing flashing the entire program with the tampered one. Version/ validity checks/ check sums may reject the use of a non valid versions. This process needs power too (looks impossible without detailed knowledge of the configuration ie impossible without detailed information from Boeing). Any idea of the technology used?

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