Murder Flight

The Crash of Flight 9525, and how the Aviation Industry weighs Profit over Safety.

2006. That was the last time anyone had a substantive discussion about cameras in the cockpit, CIRs, In the wake of this latest air disaster the time to rediscover that critical conversation is now. And while the likelihood that CIRs might have prevented the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, lessons and data learned from previous crashes continue to make flying the safest form of travel on the planet. The logic and arguments against CIRs simply do not stand scrutiny or make any sense.

At the time of this report investigators were leaning more and more to the stark and unsettling conclusion that the co-pilot, 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, deliberately crashed the aircraft in the French Alps during what would have been a very routine 2 hour flight between Barcelona and Dusseldorf. The aircraft, an Airbus A320, with 150 passengers and crew is operated by a subsidiary of Lufthansa, Germany’s national carrier. Indications are that Lubitz did not suffer any medical condition. The pilot could be heard knocking on the door, and then attempting to smash open the door in the seconds before the aircraft slammed into a mountainside, killing all aboard instantly.

The issue of CIRs, Cockpit Image recorders has never received serious or adequate debate by government regulating bodies, airlines or the public for that matter. The media also has failed in taking up the issue, even despite their general hysteria over security and terrorism. Rand Paul’s sales driven effort to arm pilots last year garnered far greater media attention. That virtual blackout leaves commercial airlines, their employees and most especially the flying public vulnerable to disaster like Flight 9525, and eliminates a critical tool for investigators.

Slow Progress

Despite recommendations from the NTSB, FAA, The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the nonprofit, nongovernmental body, the European Organization for Civil Aviation (EUROCAE), progress has been desperately slow in coming. Much of the focus was on real-time streaming of data from the aircraft, something that was deemed unfeasible and prohibitively expensive. The larger question of building upon data collection for crash and incident investigations was all but dropped. The necessity to augment with images/video current monitoring and collection systems like the Cockpit Voice Recorders, CVRs, and Flight Data Recorders, FDRs, the so-called Black Boxes, would seem to be elementary. Resistance to CIRs has been fierce.

A June 2009 FAA report, Federal Aviation Administration FDM Systems and NORSEE, estimated the cost of CIRs installed or retrofitted on commercial aircraft to be between $10 and 20 thousand Dollars USD per aircraft. That is indeed a sizeable price tag, but then so are catastrophic disasters and ignorance. Each carries a monumental price tag. However, a revolution in recordable media has occurred in the last 6-7 years since the FAA report was issued. There has been a substantial increase in storage capacity, quality, as well as reductions in weight, durability and size. More than that, speaking directly to financial considerations, there have been amazing reductions in the cost of that media, in some instances a doubling or quadrupling of storage capacity for a fraction of the cost. Given all of that, arguments and opposition to CIRs at the airline level become painfully thin and weak.

The airline Pilots Association, ALPA, the industry’s largest pilot’s union, with over 64,000 members continues to be the loudest opponent to CIRs. Their concerns center almost solely around privacy issues. Communications and actions by pilots in the cockpit are already recorded and preserved on the CVR and FDR. Numerous court rulings contradict the notion of blanket privacy in the workplace; the flight deck of a commercial aircraft should be no different.

Prevention

CIRs, like currently required CVRs and FDRs collect raw data for investigators after an incident has occurred. Innovation and understanding gleaned from previous incidents and the anticipation of future incidents feeds the body of data critical to designing safer aircraft and in preventing future accidents. It simply makes no rational sense to ignore a critical body of data. Such a system would have proved a powerful tool in determining in a timelier manner then destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over the Ukraine in July 2014. The lack of CIRs is rather like blindfolding law enforcement or playing only the audio portion of a bank robbery. It simply does not make any sense.

It is time to rekindle that conversation. CIRs would not have prevented to tragedy of Flight 9525, but it might help prevent future such disasters. What is required are not hollow recommendations by bodies without legislative or oversight authority. What is required is legislation that would require CIRs on all commercial aircraft as a first step. Next would be a global requirement by all commercial carriers.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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A Tragic Fate: Excerpt from the Book

A TRAGIC FATE: Politics, Oil, the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the Looming Threats to Civil Aviation, by WC Turck is currently available as an e-book on Amazon.com

Trust. This is not a conspiracy book, nor does it shy away from indictments or an objective exploration of glaring and alarming questions that remain. And there are many. But, we live in a cynical age in which the message from government, corporations, pranksters and the insipidly ignorant can reach millions as never before. It is a world that trades humanity for marketing and truth for messaging. These forces can and routinely do manipulate the truth and audiences in ways and in numbers never before imagined. And they do it without conscience, certainly to sow confusion and misinformation, and most often simply for profit.
JCOVER
In the early 20th century leaders like the Soviet dictator Josip Stalin and other Communist leaders routinely edited dissidents or former colleagues whom had fallen from favor from photographs. The method was terribly crude and always obvious. Now we have the technology and craftsmanship to photoshop with uncanny precision whole new realities. It is simple and almost seamless to place a person in Idaho onto the rings of Saturn with little or no ability, but the viewer’s penchant for reason and sanity to discern whether or not he is actually standing upon those rings at the far side of the solar system.

This is also not a nationalist or propaganda screed. The reader searching for accusations of neo-fascism by the interim Ukrainian government, warnings of an awakening Russian bear under Putin threatening the free world or the moral superiority of the United States and the West will be sorely disappointed. Fanciful conspiracies about bombs placed by Mossad agents on board the plane, or that MH-17 is really the lost flight 370, tales of rogue Zionists or the Illuminati are the laziest form of intellectual masturbation. They have no place here. The greatest tragedy to emerge, as the reader will find, is a failure on many levels of many governments and people.

This is also not an indictment of conspiracy theorists. I know many, and I know many to be good friends and neighbors. Those wishing to impugn all believers in conspiracy as tin foil wearing sods are themselves delusional and/or misinformed. There is ample reason to believe in conspiracies. There is ample reason people often gravitate to conspiracy theories as well, aside from the slickly marketed PR and propaganda efforts of individuals and groups. Conspiracies exist. The CIA, the NSA, the security services and corporate boardrooms the world over are forms of conspiracies. Many view the banking crisis of the first decade of the 21st Century as a conspiracy. The housing and foreclosure crisis in the United States was very definitely a conspiracy. And by parceling truth and parsing words to their citizen’s governments engage in and feed conspiracy believers.

Some belief in conspiracy is healthy and necessary. Too much is fiction and dangerous to civil society. The line between the two is nebulous and ever-changing. This book does not seek to explore or exploit that line.

Still, it must be noted that we live in an age in with Truth is malleable and lies are truth. It is a line, once crossed, that we can never return to. In the absence of truth we are only left with pain, and the pain of others, whose priority must be negotiated. In reality, with the death of truth, we have become truth. We have become our own truth. In defending our island of truth we must negotiate a compromise with the truths of others. In that common ground we can begin to tear away the inhuman waste of cynicism.

There is a difference in rendering the truth and inventing it. Modern journalism, degraded as lawyerism, marketing, advocacy and propaganda has so degraded the quality of news as to call into question everything. That would potentially be a good thing in a world of a properly educated and skeptical populace, but here and now the garbage in garbage out adage unfortunately holds true.

Still, rendering the truth as accurately as possible must remain the ultimate standard. We are all witnesses to history, and if we render the present incorrectly what handicap or legacy do we create for the future? What does that do for the history of our time yet to be written?

First and paramount to this narrative is respect and compassion for the victims and their families. To that end it was the circumstances of their deaths which define the story. It is our nature to see ourselves in their place as a means of understanding and learning. That gives their lives added value. Their story has value because they have value. The passengers, crew and families were victims and as such they deserve and we all should demand justice. We would wish the same were we sitting in those seats high above eastern Ukraine that July afternoon ourselves. At the very least, that justice should come in the form of accuracy and sincerity.

The narrative relies on competent and rational media sources, direct photographic and video evidence collected and archived from the very beginning of the disaster. It also relies upon the author’s own experience and knowledge. The author comes to this with nearly 20 years in the airline business and the first hand experience of war. With a ready disdain for authority, a healthy skeptical nature and a distrust of media and governments, each fact, piece of evidence and report is filtered through that perspective. It was perspective that served the author while moving across that fractured entities of what was once Yugoslavia, and across war-torn frontlines.

The author readily admits a disdain for authority, especially in this circumstance. Authority pre-supposes rank, hierarchy, and by default control, submission and censorship. This book follows wholeheartedly the advice to writers by the late Serbian writer Danilo Kis,

“Believe you are more powerful than generals, but do not use them as a measuring rod.
Do not team up with anyone, the writer stands alone.
Do not believe in prophets, for you are a prophet.
Do not be a prophet: your power is doubt.
Do not seek moral justifications for those guilty of betrayal.
Study the thought of others, then reject it.
Do not imagine that writers are the “conscience of humanity”: you have seen too many scoundrels among them.
Do not let anyone tell you that you are a nobody: you have seen that warlords fear poets.
Grant no favors to princes and warlords.
Do not be tolerant out of good manners.
If you cannot say the truth, say nothing…”

The intention was to collect the evidence as thoroughly as possible and present it in a compelling way. The intention is not to move the reader to one political or ideological point of view, but to move the reader closer to their own humanity and to humanity in general. A terrible crime was committed in the skies above eastern Ukraine, and someone ought to be held to account for that.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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MH-17: Reconstruction of a Disaster

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming investigation into the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine. This reconstruction is based upon credible and verifiable news sources from around the planet…

Inside the cabin, the stewards and flight attendants were busy with meal service. The passengers were contented with in-flight entertainment. The flight so far has been routine, even mundane. There were still more than 8 hours remaining to Kuala Lumpur. The passengers were thinking of their final destination, making connections, seeing loved ones, business meetings and sleeping in their own beds again.

Far below, others are animated for war. Ten miles to the south of quiet little Hrabove a convoy of military vehicles rumbled through the town of Snizhne, one of them was recognized as a SA-11 surface to air BUK missile launcher. A June 29th post by the rebels bragged about being in possession of at least one captured BUK missile system after overrunning an airbase.

Local reports put the convoy in the town around lunchtime. Atop the tracked vehicle four missiles, each18 feet long, were unmistakable for a group of Associated Press journalists covering the war. A man in fatigues cautioned the journalists against filming before the convoy rumble west out of town. Dressed in desert camouflage, unlike the rebel soldiers green uniforms, he spoke with a distinctive Russian accent.

Movements of the missile launcher that day are confirmed in eyewitness statements, video and photographs. In November 2014 the Bellingcat Group of investigative journalists published a detailed inquiry of the vehicle and its movements. That report can be found at www.bellingcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Origin-of-the-Separatists-Buk-A-Bellingcat-Investigation1.pdf

The missile launcher and its crew, now near the town of Torez, as well as their command and control support were expectant of an enemy incursion. They were blinded by that perspective, which betrays a complete and criminal negligence at every level in the chain of command. If Russia, in fact, supplied the vehicle then the responsible authorities share substantial culpability for allowing trigger happy, irresponsible and ill-trained rebels such a dangerously sophisticated weapon.

Initially the crew filed a flight plan which would have taken them farther to the south at an altitude of 35,000 feet. Instead they were diverted north, ostensibly for thunder storms brewing to the south, and ordered to 33,000 feet for traffic. Slowing to 490 knots, MH-17 descended 2,000 feet.

In June, despite safety assurances, both British Airlines and Lufthansa decided against risking East Ukrainian airspace. Emirates suspended flights to Ukraine altogether, according to Reuters. As pointed out in a previous chapter the routine of war balanced against marketing and business concerns, it had become normal business practice for International airlines to fly over war zones simply to save money on fuel.

Ukraine was no different. Commercial airlines regularly flew over Iraq and Afghanistan during the wars there, comfortable that insurgent forces lacked the capability to threaten them. When the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced: Ai-ya-fyatla-yoy-katl) erupted in 2010 disrupting air travel between North America and Europe and ground more than 100,000 flights, the cost to airlines and more than 6 million stranded passengers was in the tens of millions of Dollars. The costs to the bottom line are powerful drivers in the equation when left to airlines alone.

While indications are abundant and clear that the rebels assumed the incoming aircraft was a Ukrainian military transport there seems to have been a blatant disregard for protocols which would have allowed them to identify the plan as civilian. Visually it may have proved difficult, even with binoculars, to make a proper identification but the BUK system hardly relies on antiquated technology for identification. But while NATO member countries rely on the International Friend or Foe, IFF, the BUK radar has its own IFF system. According to HIS Jane’s Missiles and Rockets editor Doug Richardson:

“Although it has it own Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, this is only able to establish whether the target being tracked is a friendly aircraft. It is the electronic equivalent of a sentry calling out “Who goes there?” If there is no reply, all you know is that it is not one of your own side’s combat aircraft. It would not give you a warning that you were tracking an airliner.”

The BUK’s acquisition radar, deployed some thirty miles to the southwest in the village of Styla, allowed the rebel fighters to identify, track and target the aircraft. Whether they believed they were once again targeting a Ukrainian transport, or simply took advantage of a ready target remains unclear. Protocols, IFF, known civilian over flights, flight path, altitude, command structure and time on target removes the specter of the accidental and indicates at the very least negligence if not intention.

Once launched the fate of MH-17 was sealed. The system is highly accurate. According to Army-Technology.com, in association with Defense and Security Systems International the BUK Air Defense Missile System maintains a high kill rate at target:

A single missile can destroy tactical aircraft and helicopters with a probability between 0.9 and 0.95, while the kill probability against tactical ballistic missiles ranges between 0.6 and 0.7. The missile can operate continuously for one day with refueling and has a tear-down time of five minutes. The missile can destroy tactical ballistic missile within the range of 20km and can kill cruise missiles at 100m altitude and within the range of 20km. It has maximum target g-load of 10g and can destroy aerodynamic targets with a maximum speed of 830m/s flying at an altitude between 0.015km and 25km, and within 3km to 45km range. The missile system can operate in temperatures up to ± 50°C and wind speeds up to 30m/s. Its maximum operating altitude above sea level is 3,000m.

“A bird is flying to you,” a spotter told a rebel commander for pro-Russian separatists in Horlivka 15 miles west of the crash sight. He is identified as Igor Bezlor, a mercurial man and a typical character to be found in any conflict who is all too ready to rationalize any moral and ethical transgression to war. In temperament and stature Bezlor reminds one of the late Serbian thug and warlord Zeljko “Arkan” Raznatovic. His features are pallid and severe, an obligatory cigarette ever present and a black cap that seems costume-like.

“Reconnaissance plane or a big one?” asks Bezlor, from his regional headquarters in nearby Gorlovka.

There is no indication from the rebels that they were firing at anything other than a single target. They are very clearly heard discussing the size of the aircraft. If, in fact, there was a shadowing aircraft below or near the 777 the Buk radar would have indicated, and the battery would have had the capability of hitting both. The rebel leaders in those recordings have never officially acknowledged nor denied their authenticity.

On the ground at around 1:20 that afternoon residents of Torez recalled hearing loud explosions. Rostislav Grishin, a 21-year-old prison guard remembered hearing “two powerful blasts in a row.” The time must be viewed as subjective, though with a forward velocity and possibly one working engine, at least for a time, the descent would have been rapid; certainly faster than a simple freefall.

“First there was one, but then after a minute, a minute and a half, there was another discharge. I raised my head and within a minute I could see a plane falling through the clouds.” The two powerful blasts Grishin heard were undoubtedly the nearby launch of the missile followed by the detonation as the missile found its intended target.

The launch would have been powerful and thundering, followed by the long tearing crrrraaacckkk as the missile streaked skyward. Smoke and dust from the launch would have consumed briefly the massive vehicle. The roar of the launch, as recalled by a number of witnesses, carried for several miles in the rolling hills around Torez and Snizhne.

The 9M317 missile required a radar lock to steer it to the target. It is an awesome weapon when launched, a solid fuel rocket with a total burn time of about 15 seconds that finds it target at speeds of up to Mach 3 four times faster than MH-17 was travelling. A rebel Operator steered the missile in flight until the missiles own onboard system locked onto the airliner. For the crew on MH-17 and the passengers there would have been no warning as the missile streaked skywards at better than 2000 feet per second.

“Malaysian one seven,” instructs the ATC controller, “due traffic proceed direct Romeo November Delta.”

“Romeo November Delta, Malaysian one seven,” Mh-17 replied. The UTC time was 13:16:56. It was the last transmission from the aircraft.

The missile is designed to detonate within 65 feet of its target. From video and photos of the wreckage it is likely that the missile did not strike the aircraft directly. A direct impact wouldn’t have been necessary. With a 154 pound high explosive fragmentation warhead an explosion anywhere near the aircraft would have been devastating. What is certain is that the explosion was instantly catastrophic to the 777.

The missile raced up at the aircraft, passing underneath MH-17’s flight path from right to left at three times the speed of sound. Just below and behind where Captain Wan Amran sat the missile exploded with a blinding flash, probably within 20 to 40 feet of the aircraft and likely above the farm fields between the villages of Tymofiivka and Orlovo-Ivanivka. At the controls, opposite Wan Amran, Eugene Choo Jin Leong would have had no warning and no opportunity to react.

One hour and fifty-six minutes after takeoff Malaysian Airlines flight 17 disappeared from radar screens. It was 9:20am in Washington D.C.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.

CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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