Scathing allegations that Flight MH370 was shot down by U.S. military forces were aired in a recent edition of Paris Match magazine. Marc Dugain, former head of Proteus Airlines, stated that American forces, fearing a 9/11-style attack on the Diego Garcia Navy Base, shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The plane disappeared while crossing the South China Sea on March 8 on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. As for what would bring about such a response from military forces, Dugain suggested that the flight’s computers were hacked or a fire on board caused the flight to divert from the original flight plan.
The British territory of Diego Garcia is home to a U.S. Navy base that has seen consistent use since its inception in the 1970s. The base houses 1500 civilian contractors and 1700 servicemen. The island is located 4700km off the northwest coast of Australia and 3600km east of Africa’s coastline. Allegations were made that the island played a role in the disappearance of Flight MH370, but the U.S. government has vehemently denied any involvement in the plane’s disappearance. The government has repeatedly claimed that the plane never came in the vicinity of the island.
Dissenting claims have been drowned out as being sensational, incredible or fallible. Maldives residents’ testimonies were widely dismissed as a search ensued. In the wake of the disappearance, Maldives residents reported seeing an airliner flying in the general direction of Diego Garcia on March 8. A Kudahuvadhoo fisherman told Dugain that a plane flying the markings matching that of Malaysian Airlines flew by overhead at a curiously low altitude.
Dugain admitted to being provided photos of an object that washed ashore on Baraah, a neighboring island. A military officer and two aviation specialists suggested the object was an empty fire extinguisher for a Boeing jet. That object was taken by Maldives military soon after. Dugain also said that in 2006, Boeing had a remote control system patented which would allow remote access to a flight’s computers. In France Inter he stated that as powerful as the U.S. forces in Diego Garcia are, it was a surprise that the downed Flight MH370 had not been found.
In the Paris Match article, he dismissed the “handshake” evidence provided by Inmarsat, a UK company, alleging ties to intelligence agencies. The British company reported that Malaysian authorities refused data from the company at first, according to The West Australian. For five days, authorities rejected the information they alleged. The publication reported that it was not until Inmarsat reached out to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of Britain that they began taking the findings seriously. According to The West Australian, it took the Malaysian military days to provide the radar tracking data. With the newly provided information, the search moved to the Indian Ocean.
Dugain is the second aviation industry insider to come out against reported claims surrounding doomed Flight MH370. In October, Tim Clark made headlines with his suspicions about the missing jet. Before that, the Emirates president and CEO reported to Aviation Weekly that the circumstances surrounding the disappearance was suspicious. In Der Spiegel, a German magazine, Clark countered official reports by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and said that it was more plausible that the flight maintained control until the end.
Clark refuted the credibility of the “electronic handshake” utilized by analysts to locate Flight MH370. He also added suspicions around suspected cargo in the hold which was later removed from the flight’s manifest by authorities.
Back in September, the Indonesian police chief, General Sutarman, announced at a Jakarta meeting with senior airline executives from Lion Air and law enforcement that he knew what happened to Flight MH370. He reported that he spoke with Tun Mohammad Hanif Omar, Malaysian chief of police, and knew what happened to the plane according to Kompas, an Indonesian news site.
Royal Malaysian and Indonesian police have denied any knowledge of downed Flight MH370 and forced the suspicion whether Sutarman’s conversation actually took place or if there had been U.S. involvement. As reported by Mail Online, Hanif Omar, the police chief referred to by Gen. Sutarman, retired in 1994 but, the paper added, Sutarman could have been aware of the retirement and simply neglected to mention it when he referred to the former police chief. Aby Nursetyanto, police attaché, reported to Bernama News Agency that the journalist would be interrogated and certain measure would be put in place if verifiable proof was not supplied. As of yet, there has been no follow up provided from Gen. Sutarman, Indonesian law enforcement, the Royal Malaysian police or the Indonesian Embassy.
By Stevenson Benoit
Photo by Pieter van Marion – Flickr License