That's especially evident from the case of Malaysian Airlines' flight MH370. Not since the legendary DB Cooper jumped out of the back of a Boeing 727 in 1971 with $200,000 in cash and a parachute (never to be seen again), has so much of the world focused on the minutiae of aviation technology. Just look at the questions on this Google+ thread. Was the ACARS still sending signals? Why can you still turn transponders off? Did you know pilots always say “good night” when handing off to a new Air Traffic Control?
All that focus on detail is simply a way to get to the main question: where is the damn plane? For the families of the 239 people on-board, it's a matter of life and death. For tens of thousands of others, however, it’s an opportunity to let their imaginations run wild.
Some of it is standard in conspiracy circles: aliens or insurance fraud. Some of it is a little more outlandish: Tintin plots or a surprise landing in Bihar.
Here are six particularly outrageous theories about MH370.
1. The “Get It Started” prophecy
We once looked to Nostradamus for wise words that, when carefully parsed, turned into accurate predictions. These days, however, the mantle has passed on to rapper Pitbull. Intrepid YouTube commenters point out that the bald balladeer’s 2012 song ‘Get It Started’ featuring Shakira, includes a few suspicious lines.
“Off to Malaysia, 2 passports, 3 cities, 2 countries, 1 day,” goes the song. Here’s the YouTube commenters' interpretation: “The two passports relates to the 2 Iranians using stolen passports who boarded MH370. The three cities relate to the capital cities of Malaysia, China and Vietnam and the 2 countries are Malaysia and Vietnam.”
Zionists seemed to be involved, as is their wont, as well as Pitbull’s “6th sense.” This is one angle Malaysian authorities don’t seem to be probing.
2. The Jihad Plot
Pakistan, most famous for managing to hide another much sought-after target with the call-sign OBL, has immediately been identified as a likely location for other things to have disappeared into. Serious commentators have suggested the plane might have been diverted with the intention of carrying out a 9/11-style attack on an Indian city while less serious media tycoons, in this case Rupert Murdoch, chucked out unfounded speculation about the plane, tweeting: “World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance. Maybe no crash but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in Northern Pakistan, like Bin Laden.”
At least Murdoch added a perhaps. Our own resident expert-on-all-things, maverick politician Subramanian Swamy, insisted he had his own sources on the matter.
The responses were even better. One person suggested that TDK – Swamy’s short-hand for Sonia Gandhi – could be responsible. (There is an entire blog dedicated to explaining Swamy’s abbreviations.)
3. The Subconscious Memory Examination
On March 12, Ramachandra Guruji, described as a “noted subconscious memory and soul healing expert,” appeared in a Kannada channel’s studio with two people sitting in airplane-style seats and hypnotised them into believing they were aboard MH370. He spent the next 20 minutes talking to the hypnotised duo about what had happened to the plane. Possibilities included engine failure, a person holding an air-hostess’ mouth, and a hijacker pushing the pilot aside and taking charge of the flight. The show was filled with theatrical shaking and screaming from the two participants. It ends with both drowning after the plane crashes.
4. The Bermuda Triangle Tricksters
Of course, the Bermuda Triangle has to come up. A Malaysian politician even made this speculation official, tweeting, “New Bermuda Triangle detected in Vietnam waters, well-equipped sophisticated devices are of no use.” Sensing a ravenous public appetite for a juicy conspiracy theory, scamsters have hit upon a new type of hoax: links to news stories insisting “Malaysian MH370 Plane found near Bermuda triangle” that actually ends up being bogus Facebook surveys that could also lead to spam and unwanted ads.
5. The Invisibility Cloak Intrigue
Texas-based tech company Freescale Semiconductor happened to have 20 of their employees on MH370. Predictably, the company’s official condolence message regarding the disappearance of the employees on Facebook has become a battleground for some rather vociferous conspiracy theorists. (See post by Freescale Semiconductor.)
“Why were so many Freescale employees traveling together? What were their jobs. Were they on a mission and if so what was this mission? Can these employees be the cause of the disappearance of this plane? Could the plane have been then hijacked and these people kidnapped? Did these employees hold valuable information, did they have any valuable cargo with them? Did they know company and technologicial secrets?" wrote one comment on the post.
This has prompted news stories connecting the missing plane to electronic warfare, and a theory that Freescale’s radar-blocking technology might have made it possible to cloak the plane with “high-tech electronic warfare weaponry that exists and is used”.
6. The Putin Payback Plot
Since Crimea also happens to be in the news, why not a conspiracy theory that can lump it with MH370? Independent scientist and international radiation expert Leuren Moret believes the plane was shot down by the US Navy’s Laser Weapons System – a futuristic technology that the US has developed. Moret claims she has evidence for this, first confirmed by an admiral of the Vietnam armed forces.
Why? “In response to an earlier public test of the Topol missile system by Vladimir Putin’s Russian armed forces, as part of a strategic dynamic unleashed by the confrontations around Crimea and the Ukraine,” and also as payback for the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal verdicts against Israel, U.S. and the U.K.