Why Captain Shah is likely responsible for the missing Flight MH370
--by Mike H. (guest author)
‘‘...sacrifice is necessary to achieve the goal of free democracy.’’ - 2013 Facebook Post by Zaharie Ahmed Shah, Captain MH 370
In this thought experiment, we examine the likely possibility that a pilot, specifically Zaharie Ahmad Shah, is the "mastermind" of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370. It is important to point out obviously, that all judgments should be reserved until a final determination is made by authorities. We simply conclude that this is likely a politically motivated crime pointing to Shah as the prime suspect. We cannot yet conclude whether or not he acted alone. However, signs point to him as architect of the plot. Here's why.Much speculation and worry has been expended as to the fate of the missing Malaysian airline. There are few facts, but many theories circulating. Let's try to convince you that at this time evidence strongly points to the plane's captain, Shah, conclusively as having the motivation and the personality profile to carry out this crime. This analysis will use a principle of parsimony, meaning that if there are many hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be chosen. It's most likely that Shah acted alone and that his cockpit seniority and work habits would allow him the greatest ease to accomplish this of any of the other passengers or crew. However, plausible scenarios also exist where he could have had collaboration from a sympathizer onboard the plane making it easier to secure control and subdue passengers as well as provide some technical support for the complicated flight.
It has been suggested that Shah is a loyal employee, a caring community citizen, a good friend, and a good father. Certainly, looking into the eyes of the man, we can see a definite kindness. His online postings indicate a thoughtful, secular man, personally invested in supporting a positive future for Malaysians through positive democratic action. Nobody would call this guy a zealot; in fact Slate magazine suggested his support of Malaysian opposition political leader Anwar Ibrahim indicated he was a rationalist, possibly even atheistic. This guy's no terrorist, and in fact he's quite the western-culture buff, and loves stuff like comedians Louis CK and Eddie Izzard. That said, rationalists are by no means universally kindhearted as the Slate article implies. I would argue that rationalists have a tendency to weigh the many over the few, especially when it comes to political causes; and I would suggest also (importantly I think), that while quite hilarious, many mainstream comedians are unarguably some of the most rational, yet misanthropic folks out there.
We see a smart guy with a high degree of career achievement and distinction who loved assembling complex home computers, building even more complex flight simulators, tinkering with machines and efficiency, and preparing elaborate meals of carefully prepped ingredients and final colorful products for his friends and family. He loved building things, engineering, and understanding how they worked. This shows his personality is a "systems thinker" or "mastermind" type of individual. This crime has all the hallmarks of a carefully constructed plan, much like Shah's flight simulator, or his delicious meals. None of these things paint him as a killer, but he is the type of person with a mental "blueprint" capable of crafting a multi-layered plot such as this.
1. Dissatisfaction with Malaysian government and retaliation over the conviction and imprisonment of Ibrahim. It has been widely reported that Shah's Facebook page contained numerous critical references towards the Malaysian government in regards to the treatment of Ibrahim. In addition there are conflicting reports that indicate he attended the trial and sentencing of Ibrahim right before the flight. It has also been reported that Shah and Ibrahim are distant relatives, but there seems to be consensus they did not know one another. What is clear and not in dispute is that Shah was a supporter of Ibrahim's politics and saw the Malaysian power elite's treatment of him as unjust and hypocritical. There is considerable evidence to support the notion that he closely identified with the politics of Ibrahim and was happy to make public testimony to that effect.
2. Alleged marital discord and potential separation from spouse with multiple news sites suggested that Shah's wife had left him in the days preceding the fated flight. Without a family support structure at home, Shah was more likely to engage in fatalistic behaviors. At the very least, a spouse leaving a home may be indicative of a declining mental state or other instability. In any case, this is a motivation because it cuts his social "safety net" to some extent. It is also a motivation for him to have carried this act out with no suicide note or other telltale admission so that his family is not vilified in the media and may further be eligible for financial compensation if he cannot be proven at fault.
3. For a career aviator; to be a part of a great mystery in the vein of Amelia Earheart is somewhat of a romantic notion to get carried away with. No doubt, this is already one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time today.Other Suspects
It's quite possible that Shah acted alone. However, at this time it is not possible to rule out co-conspirators that could point to a more conspiratorial plot. Too little is known to make a judgment about what exactly happened inside the plane, and that is speculation for a future "Howdunit" article.
To minimize the length of this article the full personality profiles of the two others in the cockpit are not included. In summary:
Co-Pilot Abdul Hamid: Hamid has had the most suspicion cast on him because he was the last person to speak with air traffic control and the transponders in the cockpit were turned off only two minutes later. This is still plenty of time for him to leave the cockpit and be locked out by Shah. And his personality profile does not suggest he had the planning experience needed to pull off something this complicated. He was a young guy and we hear nothing of his hobbies, other than trying to pick up hot girls. While a skilled aviator himself, apparently led a more domestic life with fewer notable extracurricular activities of this nature.
Flight Engineer Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat: I will be surprised if the flight engineer is involved. He has a new wife, child, and good job. He is considered an "excellent employee" by his manager. His ten year experience is not in Boeing aircraft, but smaller jets like Learjet. I don't think the flight engineer had the capability to act on his own because os a lack of piloting skills. followed by him collaborating with the co-pilot, I feel a larger conspiracy is unlikely. However Malaysian authorities are currently investigating any role Selamat may have played.
In the wake of the disappearance, one thing has been without question. The Malaysian government is under fire for their perceived haphazard, and blundering response to the crisis. The Chinese public and government have expressed continued great displeasure; and the patience of the world is wearing thin. The crisis has cast a bright light onto the nature of Malaysian politics and it has not necessarily portrayed the institutions favorably. Tensions have escalated recently with neighbors including Indonesia too. The Malaysian government is really in the hot seat right now. This is a position they have never been in more than 50 years in power. One might wonder if this is exactly what Shah had hoped for; that his knowledge of the Malaysian emergency response and lax control procedures pointed to the chaos that would ensue if a plane leaving Malaysia were never found. Especially one loaded with the citizens of a powerful global player like China. In this sense, everyone has been wondering on motive, but it seems the motive is pretty clear based on the cause and effect here...
Logical Argument why this is a "plot" and not a "co-incidence":
To be fair, we are perhaps poorer armchair chaos theory buffs than we are armchair criminologists. However, please consider this expansion on the thought experiment we are conducting for a moment:
Chaos vs Synergy:
The Malaysian Airlines mystery reeks of synergy and careful planning as opposed to the chaotic series of events that define most accidental air disasters. Chaos is random, fractal, non-linear -- a fire randomly happening here, an engine failing there... rarely do "accidents" happen so sequentially so as to provide the scant evidence and information that is available about the flight. For several communications systems to fail, for the plane to stop reporting location, for it to change location, to climb so many feet above operating specifications, for it to report pings ranging across Asia and into the deep Indian Ocean, under such reportedly expert flying mechanics -- this is a linear, organized sequence of event and it is beyond reason to assume that these things may happen as an accident. It's also unreasonable to assume given what we know that any other terror element had anything to gain from killing of so many except someone with strong left-leaning political views. Look at the consequences of this carefully planned mystery on the Malaysian government. It's just not probable that anyone but a pilot -- and a Malaysian one at that -- is responsible for this.
Back to chaos vs synergy. In regards to this case, as we know, rarely does nature create perfect shapes or geometrically precise patterns. If we look at chaos from its fractal perspective, lets consider that synergy might exist as a geometrically precise shape captured in that fractal. It must be a closed loop like an excellent machine or a master plan. If we consider synergy and chaos in this way, lets also assume that synergy is therefore an unnatural, artificial creation of intelligence, while chaos is the natural and unbounded way nature works.
Considering the Malaysia disaster -- it has such a synergy to it -- the construction of a perfect plan with many parts working together to deliver a closed loop outcome. It is a set of circumstances unlikely to have happened chaotically. Clearly it is the product of man's construction, and the evidence points to the pilot or pilots as being responsible, and again signs point to Shah as a motivated systems thinker capable of crafting a well-oiled plot like this.
Of all possible scenarios suggested and possible suspects, only Shah had the combination of technical skill, personal motivation, and mental schema needed to plan and execute an act of this magnitude without venturing beyond parsimony. The disappearance has achieved a plausible political goal already which is being widely reported in the news media (though it is not being connected directly as an intentional side effect of this disappearance).
Editor 3/24/14: It was reported today that the FBI is now focusing their investigation on Shah and his complex personal life and has found nothing suspicious in Hamid's background.
Article on Political Consequences and Motivations in Malaysia and Asia at Large:
th/opinion/2014/03/malaysia- airlines-flight-this-n- 201431991420818737.html
Article on known timeline:
om-take-off-to-final-satellite -signal-a-timeline-of- malaysia-airlines-flight-370/
Article from Slate on Shah as Anwar Ibrahim supporter:
news_and_politics/foreigners/2 014/03/pilot_zaharie_ahmad_sha h_supported_anwar_ibrahim_was_ he_a_terrorist.html
Profile of Zaharie Ahmad Shah:
s/world/2014/03/19/investigato rs-piece-together-profile- malaysia-airlines-pilot/ JVv63ANOOHsUHmaUeWt5vN/story. html
Claim of Behavioral Change before flight, supports profile and wife departure: