Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Conspiracy Theories Galore

Even at this day and age, given radar and satellite surveillance capabilities, it seems like technology has a long way to go and it's still possible to lose track of something as technologically loaded as a Boeing 777. Notwithstanding the fact that the Earth is covered by approximately 70% of water, maybe a wreckage can be found eventually beneath the waves. This is of course if we assume that the plane indeed crashed.

The slow trickle of information from the authorities themselves have eventually given everyone online a free hand in presenting theories and conjectures as to not only the fate of Flight MH370, but also the circumstances that have surrounded and influenced these suggested conclusions. Now, I don't think there's anything malicious about the exercise, especially if everyone is recognizing these suggestions as mere off-hand theories for the curious and creative. This activity of connecting the dots has always been a hobby for a lot of people, as a jigsaw puzzle of information, that doesn't necessarily have to look like a canine if the person sees a flower and not a dog.

*From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_f8ayQQx4I
It's a sailboat.

It is inevitable after all for people to try to make sense of what they are observing, that's the scientific method in itself and I suppose it extends to people's needs as third party observers (and not necessarily the victims) to find the answers and the truth, instead of ignoring something that somehow affects them (even if indirectly) as well. I mean, I'd be interested to know what went down inside that plane, especially if the event (or phenomenon) can be likely duplicated in a separate incident (whether the explanation is extremely simple or ridiculously farfetched).

I intended to list down my findings of the most popular conspiracy theories before indulging with my own, but with so many people blasting away with their ideas online (from the silly to the morbid) via blogs, articles, comments sections, bulletin boards, Facebook, Twitter, among so many online gateways, I thought it best to just put the URL's instead and have everyone sift through them (and digest them to their liking). These are just some, and there are obviously numerous sites out there carrying the conspiracy theories:

And so here's mine (which is somehow inspired by some theories already suggested by others):

Weaponized 777 + Obama visiting Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in April, ruh roh

CNN said one pilot had this theory that the plane, if it were hijacked, flew behind another airliner's slipstream to evade detection. In any case, the ability of the pilot to avoid detection already provides them a confirmation that they can deliver an explosive payload without much trouble of interception, especially if the rogue aircraft will cruise with a commercial airliner's paint-job.

It was also suggested that the reason they flew 45,000 feet up before descending to 23,000 feet was to asphyxiate the passengers, silence them (and probably eventually dispose of the corpses). A scuffle in the cockpit wasn't being ruled out either as to why there were changes to the cruising altitude.

Then what we have is a pilot-able missile, just load it with explosives and you're good to go, any target within its fuel range is reachable for one big suicide run.

As to the motive, analysts early on dismissed terrorism since no one was claiming responsibility, but had eventually given in to the idea that there might be something nefarious behind the plane's disappearance, as facts and information eventually trickled in. Terrorism, after all, is meant to sow fear among a populace. It might be possible after all that there is a bigger blueprint to this plane heist and that the coup de grĂ¢ce to the motive has yet to unfold before someone claims "glorious victory" and credit to the deed.

As to the motive, it should be noted that Obama is scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in April and he is obviously a high profile target that all terrorists consider as the white whale trophy for all terrorists. A weaponized 777 is pretty much unstoppable. There won't be any US fighter jets in the immediate vicinity to shoot down a "hostile 777" (ha, never thought I'd put those two together!), and it'll probably evade radar like it had, if it's headed towards a target.

In any case, I'm hoping that this theory of mine is debunked. In a month's time or less, we'll find out, but it seems to me that no matter what the true scenario is, it can't be denied that the loss of the people in Flight MH370 is a tragedy that we are all too eager and anxious to find the explanations to.

Without any facts to lean on, these are mere online chatter, chasing ghosts. It's a phenomenon in itself in my opinion that could easily be considered unproductive mumbling that's just adding to the noise and confusion. In any case, as long as the mystery hasn't completely taken shape, it's a free-for-all that maybe (rudely) can be made for wagering. So which theory is the most plausible and which will eventually turn out to be the correct one given the limited facts? No matter what, it sure will be comforting to find an answer to the mystery of Flight MH370.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2014. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Crimean Specimen

As a history buff, I couldn't help but find traces if not evidence of what is apparently a lingering 20th-century Russian political mindset of intervention under the principled justifications of being the Big Slav Brother to the Soviet region. This belief is practically what carried Russian foreign policy through World Wars I and II, perhaps too conveniently in an ironic twist in my view of what appears to be right-wing zeal amid the backdrop of left-wing glory that was the USSR.

As Putin had put it in a 2005 speech,

the fall of the USSR was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century. 

Perhaps, and I really am merely speculating, there lies the appeal among the Russian people as well, if not of the Slavic race, that strength begets respect in all aspects of society.

*Image from http://cimsec.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/vladimir-putin-4-horseback.png

Well, at least it seems the Kremlin, if not Putin's, publicist thinks so.

While it might be difficult to outright assume that this mindset of affinity to strength is inherent in the culture, I suppose a peek at how their society's history had shaped their psyche (before and through the Khazars, the Mongols, the Tzars) might give us some insights:

Given the political crisis that had taken hold of Ukraine, it was an absolutely convenient and opportune time for Russia to take the reins of the situation, in what seems to me to be a military circumvention to the threat of a political quagmire, if not already a usurpation of Russian influence on Ukraine.

Of course in the orchestration of these decisions, it would help to put context into what we are seeing:

And so it seems the Big Slav Brother has come to rescue its people, ethnic-Russians who in my view are conveniently embedded in a region that's rife with potential intervention given the former USSR's territorial expanse. It's a goldmine, I think, for somebody like Putin who romanticizes about the glory days of the Soviet Union.

It's extremely interesting to note, that there has been a Ukrainization happening to counter the centuries old Russification of Ukraine's people, which to me, again only bolsters my view that Russian interests have been embedded all over through the injection of "Russians" or the assimilation of people OR communities into becoming Russians through Russification, as a convenient way to justify political and even military maneuvers in the region as deemed fit by the Kremlin.

Crimea, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimea, has seen its share of change in governance through the centuries. It is of course in the context of the current times that I find it interesting to see that,

According to the 2001 Ukrainian population census 58% of the population of Crimea are ethnic Russians and 24% are ethnic Ukrainians.[9] The region has the highest proportion of Muslims in Ukraine.[11]

The majority are of Russian ethnicity and there are Muslims there as well. If the Crimean region eventually gets assimilated by Russia, how comfortable would the people there be? As there are Chechen separatists, does it follow that it is inevitable to contend with Crimean separatists as well?

In any case, the events that have been unfolding are merely a prime example, a specimen, for principles that I've given weight to under an economic regime in the structure of Capitalism. I've already posed some questions in this regard in my entry,

Albeit, regarding the US and questions on what it would do (WWUSAD), the idea is similar and fairly applicable to those who are capable of doing so. Is militarism really an acceptable solution in an era where free trade, financial markets, and money should be dictating what is acceptable to people, across borders and among those who wield power (i.e., the money moved around by money managers, hedge funds, traders, people with savings who want to earn more money) on behalf of humanity? Well, in ways though, the impact has already been apparent, the Russian Central Bank just raised its key interest rate by 150 basis points and the Russian stock market plunged following the recent developments.

Economically influential nations have deemed Russia's military ventures as outright wrong and have thus voiced their intentions of  imposing non-military sanctions by way of financial markets.

It is, after all, as I've mentioned in my entry, The Churn, a system that has been established to promote the "humane" distribution and allocation of "scarce" resources to those who are deserving of such resources. Such is the hamster wheel that most of the global economies with humane civilizations have submitted themselves to. It is in this regard that Russia's boldness to use military presence and force poses an undesirable act that goes against what is generally acceptable to human civilization, especially today, as we live the information and financial market age.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed Russia's excuses regarding its "moral obligations" to do something to "protect" ethnic Russians in Crimea and Ukraine as merely a witch hunt, if I may so put it, as the Kremlin looks to establish a pretext that will give the convenient backdrop and justification to its invasion.

"It is clear that Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further," he said. "Russia has talked about Russian-speaking ordinary citizens that are under siege. They are not. And in fact this government has acted remarkably responsibly."

I suppose since we're discussing something that's already in the context of conspiracy theories, there might be no one more familiar with the idea of fabricating (as theorized by some historians) "moral obligations" than the U.S., especially when looking back at the events and circumstances that surrounded the Lusitania (for World War I) and Pearl Harbor (for World War II). These are of course in hindsight, and as the world has moved on, there are certainly varying factors to consider in rallying people to ideals that are acceptable, humane, and morally upright, despite the irony of crying for a cause and movement to arms and war.

And as Ukraine appropriately reacts,

it will be interesting how things will end and how the wounds will be mended. Will Russia step back and contemplate on its decisions and will the world ever forget that there was once a USSR that once held a glorious threat, an existence, that had always kept the believers of democratic capitalism on the edge of their seats.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2014. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.