On 31 May 2019, when asked about the possibility of China using Huawei to spy on Malaysia, Dr Mahathir who was the Prime Minister then said, “What is there to spy in Malaysia? We are an open book.” (The Independent, 31 May 2019).
Recently, there was a newspaper report about an Israeli spy plane that flew over Malaysia. Many people ask me about this. Why was an Israeli spy plane allowed to fly over Malaysia?
Firstly, it is not a spy plane. It is a test bed. It is not a military plane. It is a civilian aircraft with civil registration, operated by civilians and not the military. It does not belong to the Israeli Armed Forces but to the IAI Elta Systems, and that company is a vendor of one of the systems being used by the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The Israeli Air Force operates 4 types of aircraft for airborne early warning and command, as well as for intelligence gathering. This Boeing 737-400 is not one of them.
Secondly, it flew over Malaysian airspace according to a flight plan approved by our Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). You cannot simply fly anywhere. Like roads, the airspace has routes. It has a civilian registration. Like at sea, the air also has a Freedom of the Air concept, and overflying a country without landing to get to another country is the right of any civilian aircraft. This is all based on the concept of mare liberum.
Thirdly, if Israel wants to spy on Malaysia using an aircraft, it would be stupidly obvious to use a spy plane. They can always use one of their El Al flights to Melbourne to do it. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the USSR frequently used its Aeroflot flights flying into Subang to try and spy on our Butterworth Air Base. The use of civilian aircraft as spy planes is nothing new. The US is thought to have used Korean Airlines flight KAL007 to spy on Soviet installations before it was shot down.
Fourthly, the Israeli Armed Forces has 16 spy satellites in the skies above us. The latest was launched on 16 July 2020. Why bother send a spy plane to Malaysia? There are many sensitive information on Malaysia available on Google anyhow. Furthermore, what can the Israelis learn from a failed government by flying over Putrajaya, or from Malaysians who are hell-bent on spreading the COVID-19 virus to their parents during Hari Raya?
The CIA has been working with Google, Twitter and Facebook to spy on people and other government agencies through its technology investment arm In-Q-Tel.
The CIA has been working with one of the world’s largest ad agency network, WPP, to mine user data. The CIA and Google has been together since 2004 when Google bought a company called Keyhole that specialised in mapping technology. This has become Google Earth.
Israel companies produced apps such as Waze and WhatsApp that can be used to spy, not only on specific users, but also on what is where.
Not too long ago we had people who checked into sensitive buildings using Foursquare. They created new locations just by standing at the location and filled in the descriptions. One of the places on Foursquare that you could check in to is our Ministry of Defence’s Defence Operations Room, the heart of our defence operations. Through Foursquare they could monitor the movements of military users.
Then we had Pokemon Go, a seemingly innocent game being played anywhere and everywhere. But it not only utilises your location, every time you throw that red ball at a monster, it captures the background scenery as well, creating a virtual jigsaw puzzle of sceneries of one location provided by multiple users.
Stop watching too many Hollywood movies! Malaysian seem to fear Israeli spies compared to the COVID-19 virus!
Hari ini Mahathir telah sekali lagi mengulangi pembohongannya mengenai pesawat peribadinya telah disabotaj oleh Barisan Nasional.
Semalam, Dato Sri Azharuddin A Rahman, Pengerusi Pihak Berkuasa Penerbangan Awam Malaysia (CAAM), telah membuat satu kenyataan berhubung dakwaan tersebut di mana beliau menerangkan bahawa hasil siasatan CAAM terhadap pesawat tersebut mendapati terdapat kekurangan angin pada tayar hadapan sebelah kiri pesawat tersebut.
Sehubungan dengan itu, syarikat yang menguruskan pesawat tersebut tidak mempunyai barangan gantian untuk tayar yang bermasalah itu dan tidak dapat menerbangkan pesawat tersebut seperti yang dikehendaki oleh Mahathir.
CAAM adalah sebuah organisasi yang diiktiraf oleh Organisasi Penerbangan Awam Antarabangsa (ICAO) dan telah dipilih untuk menjadi salah satu dari 36 buah negara yang menganggotai Badan Majlis ICAO selama tiga penggal berturut-turut. ICAO mempunyai 191 buah negara anggota. Jika CAAM tidak boleh dipercayai, masakan Malaysia boleh dipilih sebanyak tiga kali berturut-turut?
Maka, dalam persoalan ini, siapa yang tidak boleh dipercayai?
It stares at you. It is dead, has been so for the past 15 months, victim of a struggle it never was a part of. Yet you cannot avoid the stare and today we know why.
A couple of hours after the MH17 went down, I was asked to appear on a TV channel to try and make sense of what was happening. I finally left the studio at 6.30am saying that a BUK system had downed the aircraft.
We know now that it’s true. The 9M-MRD was downed by a proximity-fused BUK. Conspiracy theorists were quick to jump the gun saying a Su-25 Frogfoot did it using its cannons while others posted a video of a plane going down somewhere in India and passed that off as the MH17.
There were no bombs on board, no were there bullet holes on any part of the fuselage. In fact Malaysia Airlines too cannot be faulted for flying in that area because 61 carriers flew there, with 160 aircraft flying there on that fateful day itself until the airspace was declared off-limits.
When the announcement was made by the Dutch Safety Board, everyone thought it would be the day we would know who the perpetrators are. When no such detail was given, families were left disappointed. Some journalists and even a cabinet minister asked on social media why have the perpetrators been allowed to go scot-free?
This is the Dutch Safety Board. It operates in accordance with Annex 13 of the ICAO guidelines as follows:
The investigation team was only to find out hownthe plane was brought down and if there were weaknesses in the system that could have prevented the incident from happening – and learn lessons to prevent recurrence. To find the perpetrators is the job of another investigation team that looks at the criminal aspects of the MH17 incident.
We all want to know who made 9M-MRD stare at us like in the photo above. But that is not for us to know tonight. That will come at a time I hope that is not too far in the future.
I am glad that the cockpit crew did not know what happened to them. It was swift. It was in the microseconds. I am not too happy that some had a minute or slightly more to digest what was happening. I don’t even want to imagine those last moments.
And we wouldn’t have known anything much had we not been able to retrieve the black boxes as well as most of the bodies of the victims if not for these two men who worked in an unorthodox manner to secure them.
While everyone else was figuring on how to get to Donetsk, these mostly-forgotten two paved the way for our team to get there.
On Sunday, 23rd Monday, 24th March 2014, the Malaysian Prime Minister announced that based on the findings of the UK-based Aircraft Accidents Investigations Board it was concluded that the flight of the MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
This was met by heavy criticism in particular by families and relatives of the passengers who are in Beijing. This is understandable. As humans, we always cling on whatever glimmer of hope there is that our loved ones will somehow appear unscathed. I went through this when my brother passed away three months ago. I kept thinking that this was all a bad dream and that I would wake up to my brother’s jokes, laughter and hugs again. However, such hope should be balanced with situational logic – the acceptance of reality and that should help overcome the pathological grief a person would have. The sooner one accepts reality, the sooner the trauma will heal.
This pathological grief will get prolonged not only if one refuses to accept reality, but also by irresponsible acts to promote hope. Hope is the act of prolonging the arrival of the inevitable. I will here chide the opposition parliamentarians who call upon the government to provide physical proof that the MH370 had indeed crashed. May I just forcefully drag everyone to the reality that the aircraft cannot fly for 19 days; based on the Doppler effect triangulation the last possible location of the aircraft points to the extremely unforgiving southern Indian Ocean. If anyone, just any one person could survive the extremities of the whole situation, then let us just call that a bonus from God. While hope is good to a certain extent, my only hope is for the black boxes to be located before the batteries run out.
The search for debris is not going to be an easy task even on a normal day. Australia’s Prime Minister has described it as “looking for a needle in a haystack, but having to find the haystack first.” I would take that a step farther by saying it is like looking for hundreds of pieces of one single needle in a haystack that has yet to be found. How is that as a perspective? Now add nine-metre waves with lots and lots of whitecaps into the equation.
I take offence at a statement by representatives of the families in Beijing, as well as members of the foreign media, AND the Quislings amongst us here in Malaysia that we (Malaysia and its military) have murdered the passengers and crew, and that we have either been hiding or not been forthcoming with information or both. Malaysia has been providing all information pertaining to this incident on a daily basis, and even to the extent of sharing sensitive military data that has jeopardised its defence just so to render search and rescue efforts more effective. With the information made available to me as well as by Andak Jauhar’s analysis of the MH370 incident I shall draw a timeline so readers would understand why was the SAR conducted in the South China Sea, when exactly was SAR expanded to the west of Peninsular Malaysia, and how fast did information flow in. All times quoted in this timeline is Malaysian time (UTC +8):
08 March 2014
0041 – MH370 took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 227 passengers and 12 crew members bound for Beijing with an endurance of approximately eight hours.
0107 – the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) made its last transmission on the aircraft’s performance. All systems were running as per normal. Next transmission was due at 0137 hours.
0119 – a person believed to be the co-pilot acknowledged the handing over of the MH370 from Malaysia’s Flight Information Region (FIR) to Vietnam’s FIR. His last words were, “Alright, goodnight.”
0121 – the secondary radar at Subang’s Air Traffic Control centre lost contact with the MH370 over waypoint IGARI at 06.5515N 103.3443E, after a deliberate act of turning off the transponder as well as other communications equipment. The aircraft was then at 35,000 feet above sea level. However, the aircraft continues to be tracked by the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF) primary radar and had its flight path towards waypoint VAMPI monitored and recorded by RMAF’s Air Defence Centres.
0215 – RMAF’s primary radar consistently monitored the path of the MH370 from waypoints VAMPI, GIVAL before finally losing track of it after waypoint IGREX while flying at 29,500 feet above sea level.
As a Contracting State to the ICAO Convention of 1944, Malaysia assumed the role of the Rescue Coordination Centre under Annex 12 of the Convention for the MH370 Search and Rescue efforts because the MH370 had yet to enter Vietnamese FIR control (its radar had not detected the MH370 yet when she changed her flight path). Based on sightings of debris, the Search and Rescue efforts concentrated at its last known position near waypoint IGARI.
0630 – MH370 was to have arrived in Beijing.
0811 – the last handshake between the MH370’s navigation system and an INMARSAT satellite was made.
1017 – Rear Admiral Ngo Van Phat of the Vietnamese Navy announced that the MH370 may have crashed about 153 nautical miles (300km) from Tho Chu island, near Ca Mau. This statement was carried by Tuoi Tre News and was subsequently picked up and released by Reuters at 1302 hours, sending SAR assets into the area.
1730 – based on the flight path monitored by the RMAF, the SAR effort was also expanded into the Strait of Malacca.
09 March 2014
– search around Tho Chu island failed to yield anything.
– the SAR efforts were expanded into the Andaman Sea. The RMAF’s sensitive radar data recordings have been shared with the SAR authorities.
10 March 2014
1343 – Vietnamese news agency Tuoi Tre reported that a passing aircraft from Singapore spotted an orange object possibly a liferaft or a lifejacket 177km northwest of Tho Chu island. SAR assets deployed later identified this object as a cable wrap.
11 March 2014
The Malaysian Chief of Air Force issued a press statement refuting a report by the Malaysian daily Berita Harian that quoted him as supposedly saying the aircraft had flown towards Pulau Perak.
12 March 2014
The official website of the State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defence of China (SASTIND) showed pictures of three objects spotted in the South China Sea believed to be related to the MH370. These photos were then shown to the public by the China Central Television (CCTV), Xinhua News Agency, CNN, BBC and also by other foreign news agencies. According to SASTIND, these images were taken at latitude 6.7N 105.65E at 11.00am on 9th March 2014.
Hence, SAR assets were again sent to verify the findings which we now know were false sightings, but not before more time and concentration of vital resources have been wasted.
14 March 2014
– search was expanded into the Indian Ocean.
15 March 2014
The Malaysian Prime Minister announced that the object tracked by the RMAF’s primary radar was indeed the MH370. This conclusion was made based on processed data acquired from INMARSAT and concurred by the FAA, NSTB, AAIB and the Malaysian authorities.
20 March 2014
The Australian Prime Minister announced satellite images showing large debris in the southern Indian Ocean. The image was taken four days earlier.
22 March 2014
The Chinese government announced that its satellite had found debris in the southern Indian Ocean. That image too was taken four days prior to the announcement.
24 March 2014
The Prime Minister of Malaysia announced that based on triangulation of handshakes between the MH370 and satellites, the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
The rest is academic.
The timeline displayed above shows how Malaysia has, from Day One, been moving as fast as it could to get to the correct pointers only to be side-tracked by false and unverified sightings. Malaysia has also been sharing everything, and literally everything including data of its sensitive military capabilities, as well as air bases so the search and rescue effort would benefit the best out of the information made available to them by the Malaysian authorities.
The timeline above also displays the average time of four days needed for satellite images to be processed before they can be safely suggested to the search and rescue teams.
What the timeline above suggests is that while the authorities are working hard to find the missing aircraft, the families as well as the public in general ought to exercise patience and restraint in their quest to know what happened. The media should be more responsible in reporting the incident as well as the search and rescue efforts as not only will the effects be adversely negative, but irresponsible reporting provides false hopes to the family that are put on an emotional roller-coaster ride on a daily basis.
And to those who call themselves Malaysians but continue in bashing whatever effort the government offers in bringing this episode to a closure, I doubt you qualify even a place as a zoological display for despicable animals.