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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ANOTHER BAD CALL BY NAJIB: 'Incompetent' Malaysia now suspected of CONSPIRING with Inmarsat

ANOTHER BAD CALL BY NAJIB: 'Incompetent' M'sia now suspected of CONSPIRING with Inmarsat
The Malaysian government’s probe into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has set traditional rules for conducting major air-crash investigations on their head.
In the early phases of the effort, critics faulted Malaysian authorities for withholding or delaying the release of information, and then sometimes putting out conflicting details.
On Monday, the pendulum appeared to swing the other way, as the Malaysian government hastily assembled reporters for a 10 p.m. briefing, shortly after outside experts briefed Prime Minister Najib Razak about the conclusions of a new satellite-data analysis. At the late-night news conference Mr. Najib disclosed that the plane carrying 239 people had gone down in a remote part of the Indian Ocean.
He stressed the information was being released to inform families of the victims “at the earliest opportunity,” and “out of a commitment to openness and respect.” The prime minister indicated that an explanation of the specifics of the latest analysis—along with a host of other relevant details—would come the next day.
Unusually co-operative Inmarsat raises eyebrows
But less than two hours after his announcement, a senior official of Inmarsat PLC, the company that made the technical breakthrough, was giving multiple interviews to media outlets in various countries laying out other major elements of the probe—a move that would represent a major breach of the rules of virtually any air-accident investigation.
In the interviews, Inmarsat Executive Vice President Chris McLaughlin freely discussed some of the central unresolved issues of the investigation. They ranged from his view that the plane flew at cruise altitude for the final hours to unequivocal pronouncements that it ran out of fuel somewhere over the Southern Indian Ocean.
During one television interview, he said the massive international search for remnants of the Boeing 777-200 ER is “now looking in the right place.”
Against protocol & ethics
Such statements would be strictly prohibited in a typical air-crash investigation, where participating company officials are asked to provide behind-the-scenes technical expertise but ordered to refrain from all public comments.
Asked on CNN Monday evening the Malaysian authorities’ public statements could be trusted, former National Transportations Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall was critical.
“Regrettably, the Malaysian government is incompetent to handle this investigation,” Mr. Hall said.
Malaysian officials haven’t responded to the specific criticisms directed at them.
In the U.S., Mr. McLaughlin’s comments would have led to his and his company’s immediate removal from any NTSB investigation, according to the board’s procedures and rules. The U.K. and many other countries have similarly strict rules.
Boeing refused to be drawn into M'sian quicksand
Boeing Co. and Rolls-Royce PLC, which made the Malaysian aircraft and its engines, have kept their silence and repeatedly refused to answer questions, citing restrictions of the continuing investigation.
Yet in discussing the fate of Flight 370, Mr. McLaughlin on Monday indicated he was confident his team had projected the flight path to an accuracy of “plus or minus about 100 miles.”
The unorthodox direction of the Malaysian probe partly reflects the unprecedented facts and the international pressures at play.
Malaysia’s performance, however, is in contrast to the NTSB’s strict protocols and systematic style last summer, when it released daily updates about an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that slammed into a sea wall and broke apart while trying to land at San Francisco International Airport. - WSJ

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