Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Mystery Surrounding Flight MH370

by Grace Gawn

Two weeks after its disappearance, the international search for the Malaysia Airlines plane is still on-going, although the discovery of debris in the South Indian Ocean earlier today seems significant.

However, the fact that it has taken so long to locate the aircraft and the 239 passengers and members of crew that were on board, in an age when sophisticated satellites and other technology would seem to make such an untraceable disappearance impossible, seems particularly unsettling. What is even more disturbing is that there seems to be no explanation available as to why the plane encountered difficulties. From a combination of the natural human desire for explanations (as Gregory Walton-Green explored in this article) and the almost complete lack of conclusive evidence concerning the aircraft available right now, a series of theories have arisen both within the world's media and across the internet. I have researched three current theories:
1. Although you might consider a Boeing 777 plane, weighing in excess of 300 tonnes, too big to hide behind the presence of another aircraft, aviation enthusiast and hobby pilot Keith Ledgerwood has argued that the aircraft flew unnoticed over Pakistan and India by following a Singapore Airlines 777 so closely that the two planes would have shown up as one blip on the military radar. He proposes that the Malaysia Airlines flight, MH370, would not have shown up on the Singapore Airlines flight, SIA88, system as the transponder was disabled.

2. An alternative claim has been made that 20 of the passengers on board the missing plane were senior staff at a technology company called Freescale Semiconductor, whose Facebook page is now inundated with accusations suggesting that their employees were involved in the disappearance. Last summer, the firm announced it was creating a team of specialists dedicated to producing ‘radio frequency power products’ for the defence industry. This, alongside the announcement earlier this month that 11 of these new gadgets would be released for use in ‘high frequency, VHF and low-band UHF radar and radio communications’, have fuelled suspicions of their involvement. ‘’ writes “it is conceivable that the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane is ‘cloaked', hiding with high-tech electronic warfare weaponry that exists and is used”.

3.  A third theory also involves Freescale Semiconductors, claiming that, 4 days after the plane went missing, a patent was approved that divided up equally five-ways, with four Freescale employees, who coincidentally were passengers onboard the missing flight, holding 20% each, with the remaining 20% belonging to the company itself. If these four employees were to pass away, then the remaining holder, Freescale Semiconductor, would receive 100% of the rights to the patent. Although patent holders can alter the proceeds legally by passing wealth to their heirs, they cannot do so until the patent is approved - when the plane went missing, the patent had not yet been approved.

As Gregory argues, "Although many conspiracy theories are spurious, there are some that can be useful since they lead to the revealing of valuable information, and they can help us to be freethinking individuals and not simply to believe everything we are told. In the same vein, we shouldn’t be too quick to believe in conspiracy theories, as people can quickly become sucked into paranoia and end up asking ridiculous questions on internet forums . . . Conspiracy theories can be seen to reflect the need of the human mind to classify and order what we perceive, drawing meaning from the “haphazard.”  

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