Chances are that it continues to be off the radar. The missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing, that is. My bet is that today, Sunday, March 23 (or whenever it is you’re reading this), it is still quite “lost”… echoing plot arcs of the eponymous TV show that ended recently (Lost, ABC: 2004–10). The 777-200ER is lost; [...]


The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Conspiracy, thy call sign is MH370!


Chances are that it continues to be off the radar. The missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing, that is. My bet is that today, Sunday, March 23 (or whenever it is you’re reading this), it is still quite “lost”… echoing plot arcs of the eponymous TV show that ended recently (Lost, ABC: 2004–10).

The 777-200ER is lost; its 239 passengers and two crewmen are lost; and agonised relatives as well as the mystified authorities are fast losing any hope they might have had of recovering the plane, the people, the crash site, any bits and pieces. The one thing no one – not vulture-curious media, hawk-eyed sky-watchers, lots of other avian and aviation commentators – has lost, it seems, is a slew of conspiracy theories.

Everyone from Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch to foxy minstrel Courtney Love has one. Media boss Murdoch tweeted: 777crash confirms jihadists turning to make trouble for China. Chance for US to make common cause, befriend China while Russia bullies # – while chanteuse Love (who confesses she’s “no expert”) claimed to have located the plane: by dint of surfing the web and locating an oil slick off Pulau Perak, where the jet was last (sort of) located!

The possibilities span the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. In the first hour after the blip disappeared off control tower screens, volatile speculators suggested an onboard explosion that had the MAS aircraft disintegrate in midair. When no debris was found floating in the South China Sea, hours later, or the Malacca Straits, after days, they had to abandon that fancy – together with the theory that a missile had put paid to the passenger airliner. After the discrepancy was noted in the time between the seemingly intentional (but fire in the cabin could also do it) switching off of the transponder and the manufacturer’s tech-update transmissions, cries of “hijacking!” at worst or “compromised cockpit?” at least were voiced. Which did in no wise prevent crackpots from cluttering and littering the internet with a host of hypotheses about UFOs, wormholes, and alien stealth-attacks!

Some of the conspiracies began to sharpen in focus as and when new information came in. Amidst ostensible bungling or mere bureaucracy by the Malaysians, mounting anxiety among the Chinese, and growing involvement from the Americans, a whole raft of new potentialities began to surface – to make up for an evident lack of flotsam or jetsam in a search that had soon widened to almost 30 countries and as many straits, oceans, seas. Although airline and military officials were initially in denial, the evidence was irrefutably pointing to intentionality. Among the “usual suspects” were Chinese militants, Iranian terrorists, Malaysian dissidents, American auxiliaries. Russia, increasingly embroiled in a New Cold War with the West, dropped broad hints about the plane’s possibly suspicious cargo manifest. Airports as far afield as Broome, Australia; North-Korea; and Diego Garcia’s British-hosted US base were mentioned in scurrilous blogs as much as in mainstream reportage.

So what does one make of the bewildering plethora of plots, subplots, conspiracies, hare-brained schemes, ideas out of science fiction, or even fantasy? Simply these: That a. There’s no smoke without fire… or, well, smoke! And b. Where there’s cool mind, fevered imagination, and neutral fact in a flammable octane-rich fuel mix, there will be fiction, faction, and inference to make you heartily sick of the first time you heard of Flight 714 (with apologies to Hergé and the relatives of those missing on MH370).

There is also this… That truth is stranger than fiction – In that one (any one, or a combination of several) scenarios could prove to be true/real in the end. I’m not a betting man, but I’m willing to wager that the reality behind the disappearance of MH370 is likely closer to Promethean earthy politics and Machiavellian power struggles than some comic, cosmic, cracked, possibility. And my inclination would be to weight the suggestible answers in favour of responses to these questions:

Why this plane? Who was on/not on it? What was in/on-board it? How was its disappearance to benefit whom? Where would/should/could it finally wind up that would seem least likely to searchers? When will it be most profitable to reveal all? So what?
In the meantime, as armchair conjecturers themselves speculated, all this media hype of the ill-fated Malaysian flight has pulled the camera’s grip focus away from the Crimea of the century. I’m not saying that Russia or the US have a vested interested in any of the above surmises, but it sure helped to keep armed, dangerous, and excitable folks from rattling their nuclear sabres, didn’t it? It could have been part of the plan… Any plan… Or not – But it just goes to prove the adage that the media machine runs on a heady blend of hype, heartlessness, and sleight-of-hand.

As you can see, dears, I – like you, maybe? – have fallen victim to the very syndrome I despise: the all-too human tendency to hatch conspiracy theories when I have either something to gain (if only attention), a lot to hide (such as my ignorance), or no real clue as to what’s going on. So the sooner some global intelligence agency or smarter-than-average amateur web crawler uncovers the real story behind Flight 370, the better – for Crimea, Sri Lanka at the UN, and the fate of a whole planet where a much hyped and MIA MAS MH370 777-200ER means more than its allotted “15 days of fame”…

The one thing that cheers me in this whole conundrum is the sheer cooperation that countries, agencies, air traffic controllers, military men and machines, and international operations of all types, have extended in the hunt for the lost bird. Even though, in the best traditions of conspiracy theory, I suspect that even this is all part of a larger globalist plot to wag the dog. As Henry Kissinger (who has also been mentioned in connection with the Diego Garcia chapter of a subplot) said: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you!”

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