After Two Years Malaysia Airlines MH370 & MH17 Families Demand Answers and Justice
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Two years after the “disappearance” of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board the disappeared Flight MH370 and the downed Flight MH17 demand decisive actions to answer their questions and for justice. On Sunday March 6, the bereft families and loved ones of those who disappeared or perished on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and Flight MH17, respectively, will hold a public event the Square in Publica, in the Malaysian capital Kuala. The event is scheduled for Sunday from 3pm to 5pm and has been organized by Voice370, the advocacy group for the families.
In late February Voice370 cried foul over the Malaysian government’s and parliament’s adoption of legislation that practically exempts a re-organized Malaysian Airlines from liabilities with regard to compensation for the bereft families and loved ones. In what is described as a corporate “shell game”, the so-called Malaysian flag carrier was re-structured from MAS to MAB, rendering MAS as an empty shell company without any assets that could be used to compensate the bereft.
Geopolitical Chess Games About MH17 Continue.
The geopolitical chess games about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 continue, with both Russia and the USA claiming to possess “evidence” that allegedly proves that their respective perceived opponent was responsible for having shot down the Boeing 777-200 over Ukraine. nsnbc international contacted Malaysia Airlines, all of the governments involved in the investigation that was led by the Dutch Safety Board as well as the Dutch Safety Board. Non of the above mentioned governments and their respective ministries and authorities would provide any independently verifiable evidence to nsnbc international or other media. nsnbc international requested a certified copy of the Comma Separated Variable (CSV) file from MH17s flight data recorder, a copy of the recording on the cockpit voice recorder, certified copies of audio recording from the cockpit voice recorder and from communications between the flight crew and air traffic controller, as well as certified copies of the radar data.
Ultimately, it was Sara Vernooij, Spokeswoman for the Dutch Safety Board who went as far as she could go after months of communication between her and nsnbc international. In early July 2015 Sara Vernooij implicitly provided the key to the puzzling question why non of the involved parties is forthcoming with regards to independently testable and verifiable data and evidence by stating to the author:
“The Dutch Safety Board is financed from the national budget via the Department of Security and Justice, but national legislation guarantees the Dutch safety Boards independence. The department has no access to the investigations conducted by the Board and the department cannot influence the investigations….”
“The investigation information is protected by Dutch law (Dutch Kingdom Act) . This act determines that only the information issued in the Final Reports is public, sources and files containing investigation information are not publicly accessible. In case of the investigation into the cause of the MH17 crash, the Dutch Safety Board works by the international ICAO agreement, annex 13”. (emphasis added)
“In the Netherlands it is possible to register a WOB (Open Government Act) with the body involved. But I point out the fact that the Kingdom Act concerning the Dutch Safety Board excludes investigation information from the WOB. There is no possibility to get any access to investigation information by the Dutch Safety Board if you are not a member of the investigation team”. (emphasis added)
By implication, and due to the fact that the governments of Australia, Ukraine, USA, the UK, Malaysia and Russia have delegated investigators and become party to the DSB-led investigation, they have thus agreed to work within the framework of the Kingdom Act. That is – no independently testable and verifiable information will be made available to the public. All that investigative journalists can do is to encourage whistle-blowers from within the relevant ministries and other authorities in Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, UK, USA and The Netherlands to show the integrity that the worldwide flying public should be entitled to expect from all of the involved parties.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MAS370 and Painful Questions
On Sunday, March 6, 2016, 2 years after the disappearance of Flight MH370, Voice370, the bereft, and those sympathetic with their demands for answers and for justice, gather in Kuala Lumpur to stress that they demand answers to painful questions. In a press release issued by Voice370, the organizers of the event stress that:
“The families and friends of passengers on board MH370 have endured a long wait of two years for reliable news on the whereabouts of MH370 and the fate of our loved ones on board. Every step to envisage life without a loved one who was on board the flight has been agonising and the festering wounds of loss and ‘not knowing’ have made the task of initiating even the first steps towards ‘moving on’ practically impossible for family members.”
The families also stress that the lack of a more intense search for MH370 and the lack of transparency and answers has led to numerous theories and speculations about the whereabouts and the fate of those on board MH370. They stress the need for answers to find closure, stressing that:
“With no word from anyone about the investigations over the last year, we wonder if the authorities hope that if they stop updating us we will eventually stop asking and this will lead to an uneventful end to any serious ongoing inquiry. Public memory they say is short. It’s been two years but to the press and to the general public the counting of the years is not a noteworthy milestone. But for the MH370 families this 2nd year is just as painful, if not more painful than the first year and this absence of our loved ones is a daily reminder that we still do not have a clue of the fate of our loved ones.
It is hoped that the report rumored to be due for release by Malaysia this week is a sincere step in the right direction, and begins to provide a fuller and up-to-date narrative on MH370’s disappearance that addresses key questions such as what really happened, why it happened and where and when we should expect to find the plane. It appears that the concerned parties – Malaysia, Australia and China – are preparing to bring the curtains down on the search for MH370. We believe that this would be truly unfortunate. Voice 370 urges authorities to press on and search on in the current search area, we believe that they should not throw in the towel, close this case and simply chalk it up as an unsolvable mystery. At the very least the relevant authorities should seriously consider going back to the drawing board and re-investigating, reevaluating and re-starting.”
The families stress that the drying up of funds to wind down the investigation and the the search is unacceptable to them and that the search should, if necessary, be continued beyond 2016. The families also stress that:
“The best outcome can only be achieved if there is credible and comprehensive disclosure of information by the relevant authorities. It stands to reason that the search effort be more broadly funded and financial commitments of more countries be solicited. Voice 370 urges large entities like Boeing to come forward and contribute to the search efforts given they are directly impacted by this incident. At the very least, the 14 countries whose nationals were on board MH370 owe a contribution. Voice 370 is aware that this is not the norm. But for an incident that has been repeatedly labeled as unprecedented, we believe it would not out of place to seek non-standard initiatives and contributions from Malaysia and the international community. Countries would ultimately help themselves by contributing to the search. The latest news reports indicate that another possible MH370 part has been found off the coast of Mozambique. This requires that the coastlines of Mozambique, Madagascar and substantial distances to the North and South be scoured thoroughly to ensure all the debris are collected and analysed. As we all know, debris fields, though subject to some degree of dispersal by the elements, generally tend to make landfall in close proximity. We urge states with assets in the East Coast of Africa to support such an effort. We also seek support from naval powers to supply search assets that allow searches closer to uninhabited/swampy portions of the coast be searched effectively. Every time someone we know boards a flight, we pray that they are spared the fate of our loved ones. It is worth remembering that we do not have any assurance from aviation authorities, manufacturers, ICAO, and the like, that there will not be another MH370 scenario in future. We must find out what needs to be fixed in order to fix it, and we are nowhere near a solution. Recently, ICAO passed a new rule banning Lithium batteries as cargo on passenger planes and most airports have banned the carriage of Lithium Batteries in checked in baggage. Whilst it has not been mentioned anywhere, we are left wondering if MH370 prompted this quick decision.”
nsnbc international, meanwhile, reiterates that there is a need for full disclosure in all air tragedies. The cases of MH370 and MH17 underpin that there is an urgent need to give independent media full and unimpeded access to certified copies radar data, black box data, Air Traffic Control communications, passenger and cargo manifests, technical data, and any other evidence that could help disclose the facts behind air disasters. Underhanded non-disclosure agreements as the one pertaining the Dutch Safety Board and all of the parties who delegated investigators are not only unacceptable, but fuel unnecessary speculations and painful questions – questions that are especially painful for those who are left behind and left in the dark.
CH/L – nsnbc 03.03.2016