Now Is The Time 4 All Good Men To Jump 2 Conclusions
Lost in the Golden Triangle — rather than Bermuda.
The Case is Mad for Profiling Pilots Overseas.
The View from the Virgin Islands
By John McCarthy
It’s surreal enough to be the plot of a major TV series.
In fact it already was – “Lost” on ABC – except even scarier than giant polar bears and smoke monsters – are pilots with extreme views bent on total destruction.
The flight in the TV series was scheduled for 17 hours – Sydney to LA; the flying time of Malaysian Airlines’ Flight 370 was scheduled for about half that – going from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
What happened along the way of that aborted flight path has been the subject of much speculation about terrorism and suicide since the ill-fated Asia-based flight went missing nine days ago.
CBS News and The India Times call “pilot suicide” a taboo subject – but it is one that is likely to be more talked about in the coming days, weeks and months as the vanished Boeing 777 continues to dominate the 24-hour news cycle.
“You cannot quite yet rule out everything because we don’t have the physical evidence we need to come to that conclusion,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) on CBS’ Face The Nation, meaning that he felt no indication means it is “at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.”
If a “preponderance of evidence” could lead to criminal charges filed against a sitting American president – it only makes sense that a complete lack of evidence could also lead someone to reach a foregone conclusion in a case such as this.
However, I feel quite the opposite. If Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is right and “the plane was last seen heading towards Pakistan.” And if we grant that the doomed flight was commandeered with the intentions of terrorism, then what is the worst possible scenario?
That the plane – with 239 hostages aboard needing food and drink for nine days – has safely landed in an obscure South Pacific outpost – to be used “later” as a “flying bomb” just as the two planes that knocked out the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers were used.
No one is writing about it online yet, but the Petronas Twin Towers – featured in the movie “Entrapment” with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones – is an obvious target for someone looking to make their bones via terrorism. Its 88 floors are the centerpiece of Malaysia’s futuristic Kuala Lumpur skyline – at 1,483 feet, it used to be one of the tallest structures in the world.
As Slate Magazine reported, there are 634 such landing sites within the flying range of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 – including some in the middle of the Indian Ocean such as: The Cocos Islands (runway length 8,009 feet); Diego Garcia Naval Support Facility (runway length 12,003 feet); Gan International Airport (runway length 8,694 feet) and the appropriately named “Mal” (meaning “bad” in French) International Airport (runway length 10,499 feet).
If Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was heading west, it could have stopped off at any one of these remote atolls to refuel for use at a later time while hiding at a remote island airstrip that would have to be at least 5,000 feet long – but wouldn’t necessarily have to be paved (it could be hard-packed dirt) – experts say it could have even landed on a freeway. If it was heading northwest towards Pakistan, as Rep. King stated then it would have had to have cleared heavily monitored airspace near U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan.
And if Rep. Rogers is correct, and Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was on a suicide mission with 53-year-old Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid as the masters of disaster – then there is a corollary with the crashes of Egypt Air Flight 990 (LA to Cairo) on October 31, 1999 and SilkAir Flight 185 (Jakarta to Singapore) on December 19, 1997.
The common denominator on all of these doomed flights – if Captain Shah (who is seen on Facebook wearing a “Democracy Is Dead” t-shirt and has links to the Malaysian terrorist group that bombed a Bali bar popular with Australians in 2002) – is likely to add fuel to the fire for Islamophobes everywhere – and lead to talk about mandatory psychological profiling of pilots.
The Co-Pilot Hamid was known as a “Cockpit Romeo” for allegedly inviting two ladies in the past to join him in that restricted area for the duration of an entire flight – all of which begs the question: if the pilots do not own the airplanes – how is it that they can manually turn off transponders and other safety technology – when the reasons not to give them such leeway are obvious now?
The good news is that the number of mechanically-caused commercial airline disasters have virtually been eliminated in recent times.
Now the commercial airline industry has to devise a way to make the friendly skies freer of pilot errors – to include suicide.
© 2014 John Francis McCarthy/Secret Goldfish Publishing House, LLC
John McCarthy is an investigative reporter, artist and photojournalist based in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Please send questions and comments to: [email protected]