Malaysian Airlines: Terrorism Unlikely

Malaysian AirlinesMalaysian Airlines Flight 370 seemingly disappeared into thin air on March 8, 2014. The controversy surrounding its disappearance is only exaggerated by the fact that there were possibly four passengers on board with stolen passports. There is an incredible amount of information lacking when it comes to the missing flight. When looking at the few facts that are given, much of it does not add up. Rumors are beginning to circulate which suggest that it could have been an act of terrorism, although the chances of that are unlikely.

With family members of those who went missing on flight MH370 distraught and frustrated, a petition was signed calling for Malaysian Airlines to disclose more information regarding the flight. Signed by more than 80 family and friends of those on MH370, the petition articulates their demands for more information from both Malaysian Airlines and the Malaysian government.

With  their hands tied due to considerably limited information, the airlines told the family members on Sunday that they should expect the worst. There has yet to be any visible signs of a crash, outside of an object that looks like it could be a part of the plane, found floating in the waters just southwest of Vietnam. There have been theories circulating which suggest that the plan was hijacked by terrorists who may have boarded the plane using the stolen passports; the basis of which is supported by the fact that the plane had gone off course in what most people are assuming may have been an attempt by the pilot to turn around.

That hypothesis that the Malaysian Airlines flight was hijacked, however, is unlikely, especially considering that no alarm or SOS of any kind was intercepted before the plane vanished. Acts of terrorism usually entail a political or religious goal. Being that a motive of such kind has not been linked to Flight 370 or its passengers, it would serve no  purpose or end a terror fueled objective, if there were not also threats or a terrifying public display of violence associated with the hijacking. Terrorism usually involves the targeting of a group of victims beyond just those whose immediate lives are being threatened, like those of an entire religious or political group, and is typically accompanied by a fanatic political or religious agenda. In other words, hijackers are not known to engage in silent or benign forms of terrorist activity. While losing the plane and the passengers is devastating enough on its own, the lack of alarm, shock value, and politically (or religiously) driven motives negates a terrorist agenda.

So if not terrorism then what? It is possible that there was a catastrophic event on the plane that would not allow enough time for a distress signal to be transmitted? There is feeble evidence that some debris was identified by a Vietnamese plane, which appeared to be floating in the ocean near Vietnam, but the reports have not been confirmed. While ships have been sent to check for the debris in daylight, most of what has been reported remains highly speculative. In order for a plane to just disappear from the radar, something must stop the plane’s transponder from signaling its position. Of the possibilities it could be that the transponder could have malfunctioned, may have been destroyed as a result of a massive explosion, or it simply could have been turned off in the cockpit. What is known is that the Subang Air Traffic Control Center lost contact with the plane at 1:22 am, and an hour and 20 minutes later the plane was announced missing.

Malaysian airlines has been considerably tight lipped about the situation, and were initially reluctant to inform the family members of the missing flight when word first broke. With the details of what happened to Flight 370 becoming increasingly more elusive, the families wonder if there is more information that is being left out that would implicate the airlines and put the responsibility of the missing flight on their shoulders. While theories are abound regarding the possible cause, it is unlikely that the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was caused by terrorism.

Opinion by Natalia Sanchez

Sources:

Wall Street Journal

BBC

NYT

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