SeaDemon Says

MH370: Trial By Media

Posted on: April 12, 2014

Ever since the disappearance of flight MH370, Malaysia has come under intense flak and have been accused of not being forthcoming nor transparent with information related to the search for and investigation into the flight.

As we all know, the disappearance of the 370 is unprecedented. In past incidents, demands flow when planes are hijacked; debris is found at crash sites. In this incident, we still don’t know how flight MH370 ended, and we can only guess where the plane might be. A coalition of nations is now searching for the airplane, and numerous false alarms have emitted from the search teams, but somehow Malaysia foots the blame for all that.

We cannot be filling in the information gap with fantasies that would lead to even worse form of speculation, but somehow the media, a foreign one in particular, is not contented with what has been presented to them thus far. This particular media even compared the lack of flow of information in the 370’s case with that of the Asiana crash at the San Francisco airport (SFO). Whether or not ethical reporting or common sense are present in that organisation, you cannot compare the 370 to the Asiana crash. Of course information was in abundance in the latter but it is only because it crashed at the airport. In the 370’s, we do not even know where it went down, let alone how! However, it would be futile to argue about ethics with a media organisation that could even fill in the information gap with absurd theories such as the Black Hole and the existence of another Bermuda Triangle.

The hunger for ratings and sensational news gets the best of this organisation. A month after the disappearance, it ran a story to suggest that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) had scrambled fighters at 8am on 8th March 2014 to search for the missing airplane. I did a quick check with friends in the RMAF and they denied that fighters were scrambled. This is reinforced by categorical official denials by the Minister of Defence as well as by the RMAF itself.

This media then even suggested that the 370 flew at 4,000 feet to evade military radar near Pulau Perak only to re-appear 120 nautical miles away heading north-northwest. I hope that this media organisation realise that the USAF has spent trillions of US Dollars to acquire stealth aircraft such as the B-2, F-117 and the F-22. If a Boeing 777 could evade from military radar then the USAF was suckered into spending so much when they could have had a much cheaper solution in the 777.

Every time there is a press conference, although the information given, if at all available, is always about the search and rescue effort. However, all the questions posed by journos are about finding out who is to be blamed for the 370’s disappearance. More than twice that I have heard a journalist asking the CEO of Malaysia Airlines, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, if he would resign. Had the journalists done their homework, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon only left Air France in 2011, two years after the Flight 447 tragedy, and only because of the merger between Air France and KLM.

In other incidents, airlines capped the duration of assistance rendered to the families affected by an aircrash to only one week. This has been more than a month yet MAS is still supporting the families. I am disgusted with people who are so thankless towards MAS despite the fact.

The media should know better that this plane is still missing and not a lot is known about it. As such, information may be scarce and not free-flowing. If there is nothing to be reported, then don’t report or speculate. You won’t do justice to the passenger, crew and their family members. There are other pressing issues that could be covered such as Crimea, the Rohingyas. Running down a country just because it hasn’t given you the information needed to increase your ratings certainly shows your immaturity and malicious intent.

7 Responses to "MH370: Trial By Media"

CNN only wants to increase its ratings. Only sensationalised stories will do that. Also CNN had help from the local online media who are equally stupid and became overnight aviation experts. They are guilty of fuelling the foreign media with their crap. The likes of *#*#kini and what have you.

You mentioned ‘ precedent’ but to those reporters – news is news and ‘precedent’ does not have a place in their writing.

It is so sad to see and hear Malaysia being bashed right, left and centre by foreign media but i think it is even sadder when the bashing comes from her own people.

Come on Malaysians, 239 people are missing and the Government is doing all they can to locate the missing aircraft. Be kind.

Good post Seadeamon, though I may differ a bit on some points.

“This media then even suggested that the 370 flew at 4,000 feet to evade military radar near Pulau Perak only to re-appear 120 nautical miles away heading north-northwest. I hope that this media organisation realise that the USAF has spent trillions of US Dollars to acquire stealth aircraft such as the B-2, F-117 and the F-22.”

The ability of radar to detect a flying object is rather complicated and depends upon multiple factors particular to each location.

This Wikipedia description of “nap-of-the-earth” flight to avoid radar detection is rather technical and does not answer whether it’s possible for an aircraft flying over ocean at 4,000 feet near to the radar winn necessarily avoid radar detection.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nap-of-the-earth

However, this Yahoo! Answers account in more layman terms says:-

==============
it depends from
radar distance,
your efective cross section
secondary transponder on/off
method of terrain suppresion of the radar to be avoided
etc.

I can tell you we are invisible to the area control center which uses composite radar information (nearest radar 60 nauticals distant) below 3000 ft altitude, with hills of 2500ft altitude on the way. we are picked up with secondary at about 2000 ft. that makes more than 500 ft from surface in a helicopter.

however when speaking of military applications, the lower, the better, with 50 ft being the optimal height for helicopters to keep the reasonable speed while avoiding radar detection.

besides, ALL radars in principle have minimum and maximum antenna elevation (angle at which the antenna points above the terrain) at the same time, the surveillance radars are most likely located at high peaks to extend their range. if someone’s standing on a peak and is still looking upwards, you can crawl below with relative safety (being marginal target to those who watch for strategic bombers)

obviously, the more saturated the battlefield is and the more the radars are joined into a composite C&C network, the harder the penetrating of the network is (and we did not started speaking about passive detection systems, yet)
=============

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100127164916AAxXDyq

So depending on the MH370’s distance from the radar near Pulau Perak, the height of the radar above ground, its angle of elevation, its beam width and also the curvature of the earth, it could be possible that the MH370 could have avoided detection by flying at a height of 4,000 feet.

The kind of radar used by militaries to detect incoming aircraft is said to typically have a range of 250 nautical miles or about 463 kilometres and their antenna dish can be rotated through 360 degrees.

Long range radar such as Australia’ Jindalee radar network officially has a range of up to 3,000 kilometres with refraction to earth in the upper atmossphere – i.e. ionosphere but as this employs antenna masts implanted in the ground, such long range radar is not steerable. Jindalee’s official range of 3,000 km covers a sector with an arch from the Sunda Strait, just south of Sumatra, all of Java and the southernmost tip of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).

Officially, Jindalee does not cover Sumatra, Singapore, Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak nor Sabah, though in tests, it’s unofficially said to be able to detect a missile launched in China or a range of up to 5,500 km.

Anyway, Jindalee’s purpose is to monitor the airspace to the north of Australia, not the Indian Ocean to the west not the Pacific Ocean to the east, so given its official range and coverage area, Jindalee would most probably not have detected MH370, especially with its course to the west of Sumatra.

So I’m keeping an open mind on the possibility that MH370 could have avoided military radar detection by flying at at 4,000 ft altitude.

“Every time there is a press conference, although the information given, if at all available, is always about the search and rescue effort. However, all the questions posed by journos are about finding out who is to be blamed for the 370’s disappearance. More than twice that I have heard a journalist asking the CEO of Malaysia Airlines, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, if he would resign.”

“The media should know better that this plane is still missing and not a lot is known about it. As such, information may be scarce and not free-flowing. If there is nothing to be reported, then don’t report or speculate. You won’t do justice to the passenger, crew and their family members.”

During a lesson on British newspapers as part of my English subject in 1974, our teacher John White described British media on the one hand to comprise “serious” papers – i.e. broadsheets (back then) which reported the news and made commentaries and features in a rather in-depth fashion, and on the other hand were the tabloids, which were light on news with reports which were more like news briefs than articles, and these papers attracted their readership with plenty of articles on the four S-es i.e. sex, scandal, sensation and sport.

Of course, the extent to which each tabloid took this route varied but the worst of them, which aligned with the right wing of the Conservative Party, were real gutter tabloids which thrived on yellow journalism, with the worst of the worst amongts them with daily circulation in the five million mark, whilst the serious dailies were looking at circulation of around 250,000, and that’s in a predominantly English-speaking country of about 56 million.

It seems that today, with newspapers under pressure from declining print circulation and print advertising revenue, whilst gains in online advertising revenue are tiny by far, both foreign and domestic media are desperate to retain readers and eyeballs, and will go to any lengths to deliver some new edge to a slowly unfolding story.

Now that’s being generous about their intentions.

On a less generous note, there are those media, domestic and foreign, which have a deliberate political agenda against Malaysia and the present government fair or foul and for whatever reason.

For example, shortly after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis when Malaysia had pegged imposed currency controls and pegged the ringgit to the U.S. dollar, the Japan-based venture capital company Softbank decided to invest in Malaysia, and at the press conference, there was a was a journalist, who asked the Softbank representative whether his company had faith in Malaysia’s economy, was not happy with his positive reply and kept on trying to get the Softbank rep to say that his company did not have faith in Malaysia’s economy at the time. It appeared that this journalist was most probably working for a foreign publication which wanted to get a negative statement on Malaysia’s economy, despite Softbank quite literally voting with their feet for Malaysia.

At the time, I was a totally raving anti-BN government, anti-Mahathir, pro-opposition and pro whatever was against the BN, but it was little cases like this, which gradually woke me up to realise that it was us Malaysians who were also being adversely affected by such negative reports.

Up until then, I drew a very sharp line between Malaysian mainstream and foreign media – i.e. “Malaysian mainstream media = lies, foreign media = truth” but when I saw how major foreign TV news broadcasts reported one-sidedly against Dr. Mahathir and in favour of Anwar in the latter’s abuse of power and first sodomy trial, I began to see that western media was in fact, far from the “paragons of virtue” which I and some of my cohorts believed at the time.

Going back even further to the case of American teenager Michael Fay, who was sentenced to four months jail, a Sin$3,500fine and six strokes of the cane for vandalising cars in his neighbourhood. The major western media were all up in arms over Fay’s fate, but hardly mentioned was the fate of Fay’s fellow Singapore American School student and fellow culprit Andy Shiu Chi Ho from Hong Kong, who was sentenced to eight months in jail and twelve strokes of the cane. Upon appeal by U.S. President Clinton, Fay’s caning was reduced to four strokes, whilst Shiu got the full prescribed doseage.

Here again, it’s pretty clear how the liberal western media and western liberals placed so much more importance on a white American’s butt, whilst a Hong Konger’s butt was of little no importance to them.

Well, we kind of don’t need them condescending saviours to rule us from their judgement halls, We ask not for their favours, let us consult for all.

Thank you for your insight. I stand corrected and thank you again.

Thanks Seademon,

Just an update, whilst Jim Stone’s blog on MH370 may sound rather far fetched, he has a point that even if the transponder was turned off, air trafdfic control radar would have continued to detect MH370 flying at height by its radar reflection, even though it would not display the plane’s identificatiion which is sent back to ATC radar by the transponder.

So if it disappeared completely from ATC radar, then something would have been masking it, according to Stone, and he alleges it’s an AWACS plane which cloaked it.

http://www.jimstonefreelance.com/awacs.html

Yesterday I asked a retired Royal Australian Air Force veteran who had served at the RAAF base in Butterworth whether military radars (primary radars) can also pick up transponder identifications transmitted from civil airliners and he said yes they can.

If that be the case, why didn’t either the Malaysian or Thai Air Force scramble their jets to investigate if their radar detected something in the air which did not return an identification?

Current transponder technology traces its roots to IFF (identify friend or foe) technology used during World War II.

This is believe is a valid question, since it has implications with regards national security.

The DCA also has a primary radar though not as accurate as the military radar. I don’t think the 370 totally disappeared from their radar. It may have gone out of their secondary radar scope before it turned off its transponder. However, it was still within both DCA and RMAF primary radar track.

I don’t buy the AWACS cloaking story.

Scramble: in the US, which owns the “mother” of all scrambles, there are two types of identification of an unknown: procedural and positive. Positive means you send someone up there to identify. Procedural means you watch it on radar scope and monitor its track.

In May 2013 and again this month, Indonesia forced down two aircraft just by procedural identification. Unknown aircraft flying from outside of Indonesian airspace into the airspace.

In the same Airspace Control document mentioned above, a hostile is an aircraft that does not follow normal airways, from outside the airspace, low altitude, fast, small radar signature and flying in hostile manner, and no ID by civilian radar as well.

The 370 was doing none of the above.

I have a question for you:

Recently, I watched the Australian Four Corners 1 hour documentary into the MH370 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wht8irZHiII and the British Horizon documentary on MH370 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpfYvGWt8qo

Both programs track the path of the plane flying from KLIA to IGARI, making a right turn, then a sharp left. At this point both documentaries show the plane flying towards Penang, before turning north again towards VAMPI/Pulau Perak.

In the NST newspapers and the map you showed in the blogpost with MH370 timeline, the path I understood that it went was a straight line between IGARI and VAMPI.

The difference is: if it flew towards Penang, it really could have been deemed a threat as it was flying towards a heavily populated place. And it would mean the flight between the 2 points happened only within Malaysian airspace.

I heard the RMAF chief explain that they thought the plane might have been making an emergency landing in Langkawi. If the plane flew in a straight line between IGARI and VAMPI, it would pass over Thai airspace and not Malaysia and fly over Langkawi, corroborating RMAF assumptions. In fact, it would be flying near Hadjai which experienced a bomb blast a few weeks later!

Why would 2 news reports try to change the facts? Where might they have got this information that the plane flew towards Penang and then turned towards Pulau Perak. There could have been a radar in the British and Australian air force base in Butterworth which saw all of this and didn’t react too. Why would they publish information so different to what was published before?

Or are they telling the truth?

Thank you for your question. Firstly you must understand that (1) airspace management comes under the Dept of Civil Aviation, not the RMAF. The RMAF will only look for threats coming from outside. Furthermore, with or without transponder the RMAF radar can distinguish the blips on the screen because the RMAF radar also shows the target in 3D and can differentiate the sizes of aircraft detected. If there was a problem with the MH370, it was the job of the DCA to inform the RMAF. Even then the RMAF took the correct action to record the 370’s track which is why we know where it went until it went off-scope, and still without any form of notification from the DCA.

(2) as is the air defence manual of even the USAF, aircraft that fly at safe heights, according to designated commercial airways even if diverted, and coming from inside the country, are not deemed hostile. Like I have mentioned, I would rather fly a plane that is fully-laden with duel into Kuala Lumpur than wait an hour and a half to hit Penang. I’d score more in KL or Putrajaya with the PM sleeping at that time.

As far as the Australians, yes there is a detachment of fighters on rotation at Butterworth. No, they do not operate any radar as they come under the Five-Power Defence Arrangement at what we call the Integrated Air Defence System HQ and all radar feeds are by the RMAF. They are not allowed to operate air defence radars here. The media can say anything but in the end nobody knows anything, including speculate on the plane being hidden somewhere by Malaysia, US, China, Australia and the. Martians.

What you heard what the Air Force Chief is also not true. He never made such statement.

Comments are closed.

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