January 23, 2015
By: John E. Fiorentino
Recently, a report was published entitled, “Time to Investigate the Investigators” and was written by Brock McEwen, M.Sc. (Mathematics).i
Initially, I was going to do a line by line type of analysis on Mr. McEwen's report, but was advised that would be too easy a task and I should try something more challenging like “shooting fish in a barrel/” So, with that in mind, Mr. McEwen's report still offers the opportunity to be critiqued while being combined with some other much needed commentary.
The other factor that weighs against spending excessive time trying to address every single misstatement of fact or conspiracy theory in the MH370 case is that the data stream of such nonsense never ends. Both famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and myself have tackled the rather onerous task of trying to set things straight in regards to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. My contribution consists of an unpublished manuscript that contains an introduction by the late Dr. J. K. Lattimer, author of “Kennedy and Lincoln.” The book is entitled “Return to Reason” and has been delayed by legal issues. Mr. Bugliosi's massive tome “Reclaiming History” is currently being used as a door stop by many of the far too few who actually purchased it “Reclaiming History” is a mind numbing 1,518 pages of text and weighs in at five pounds! Bugliosi's fatal flaw was in attempting to chase down every nutty idea ever concocted in regards to the death of our 35th President.
Dewdney and the Cell Phones
Mr. McEwen believes there is evidence of deception and we have been lied to by the official MH370 investigators. Although McEwen's “findings” are at times difficult to understand he does manage to ask a plethora of questions. Unfortunately, most of those questions are based on inaccuracies and dubious press reports.
Reporter Ben Sandilands who writes for Crikey has already criticized McEwen for his portrayal of a purported call made during the flight from the copilots cell phone.ii Sandilands indicates that McEwen erred in relying on a CNN report which he goes on to say - “... is more than appalling given that CNN couldn’t even find Canberra on a map of Australia and briefly managed to locate Perth in Tasmania.”
It appears there's multiple issues with the cell phone story and both McEwen's and Sandilands' analysis. Firstly, Sandilands says that McEwen is mistaken about the cell phone idea and actually,”the phone calls that were referred to in a media conference in Australia were to a company satphone, not a cell phone...” and goes on to say, “...so his analysis as to how a cell phone call couldn’t have been connected via a ground tower to a 777 flying above a certain altitude is beside the point.“ However, in this case it's Sandilands who is mistaken as McEwen is in fact referring to a story about a purported call from the co-pilots cell phone, unfortunately that story is unverified.
Sandilands, to his credit does make this observation, “McEwen seems to have put undue reliance on unconfirmed media ‘myths’ about MH370, which is unnecessary given the self-incriminating flaws in the information directly released by the authorities themselves.”
McEwen, for his part relies on a heavily criticized study by a rather dubious individual. The study performed in 2003 by 911 'Truther' A. K. Dewdney is entitled, “Project Achilles.” iii Dewdney for his part conducted Project Achilles in an attempt to demonstrate that cell phone calls made from the hijacked jetliners during the 911 terror incident were phonied up by the government. Jeffrey Shallit, a former colleague of Dewdney at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo had this to say about him:
“His thesis is the following: it is impossible, or nearly so, to have made cell phone calls from the doomed planes. Therefore the "official account" of 9/11 is false, and a more plausible explanation is that the cell phone calls were faked by the government, who had access to the passenger lists before take-off. With wiretaps, the government could have listened to the passengers ahead of time and made tapes of their speech. Then, using a voice modulator, the government could imitate their speech with "trained operators". With this technology, the government would manage to fool all of the relatives and friends that were called on 9/11.” iv
A casual perusal of the web will demonstrate that McEwen's cell phone ideas are nonsense. He also tries tying together the purported call with questions about the jetliners speed and altitude. This quickly turns into a convoluted pile of dross.
The Acoustic 'Pings'
Even though McEwen rightly questions the confusion about the underwater acoustic pings, he wrongly gives false attributions and makes grave errors of omission. His report reads:
Long before the search came up empty, heads were shaking. From the start, IG Member Duncan Steel’s expert opinion was blunt.
McEwen also mentions William Meacham, (an archaeologist affiliated with the University of Hong Kong) saying he “nailed” the official position's absurdity about the underwater detections.
So, is any of this inaccurate?
It's spot on – If you fancy errors of omission and false attributions. The fact is McEwen totally ignores my personal more than month long battle with the media and search authorities regarding the acoustic pings. The earliest publication of my efforts in this regard is dated April 12, 2014 v and at that point I had been petitioning the media (most particularly CNN) for several days and supplying research information regarding the acoustic impulses then being touted as coming from MH370's black boxes. All of my efforts started within a week of the detections by the research ship Ocean Shield.
Apparently McEwen, (who has even taken the rather juvenile action of 'blocking' me on Twitter) believes that Duncan Steel's “blunt” opinion first published June 2, 2014vi and delivered 5 days after the official investigative authorities first admitted that they had been chasing their own tails in their underwater search somehow qualifies as the “real-time” disclosures he purports to seek in his report, rather than the result of the “brilliance of hindsight” that they most certainly are. McEwen writes:
“Consensus that these statements should have been more circumspect was both strong and immediate, and the fruitless search at this “known” location disproved them convincingly. However, it is critical to note that these statements could have been – and should have been – disproved convincingly in real-time, long before months of time, energy and money were wasted.”
Indeed! Perhaps McEwen should contact Duncan Steel about these issues? Doubtful though as the good doctor has seen fit to post his blarney laden report on his website.
Meacham for his part arrives a little late in the day also. His revelation was first published on May 7, 2014, vii over a month after the pings were first detected and about the same amount of time after my efforts first began. The archaeologist turned pinger expert manages to get most of it right. (Perhaps he was reading my publications?) In any event, one very interesting aspect of Meacham's story revolves around a reference he cites in the article - email from David Gallo to William Meacham April 23 which says:
“I don't know any underwater acoustic people that think the pings have anything to do with the plane.”
Now, that's very interesting because publicly Gallo was making statements like this:
“,,,we've got to have faith in this case. And these sound pretty solid. I don't know what else could have that frequency and be in that position. You know, I don't know what more we could ask for...” viii
Perhaps we could ask for some competence, some clarity, some honesty. Just what was it that seemingly inhibited the experts from speaking out publicly and loudly? Was it that fear of bucking the establishment? The “good ol' boy” mentality of self defeating cronyism? Maybe they weren't so 'expert' after all? Frankly, I really don't know, but whatever it was, it seemingly infected the entire group. At one time or another, such now familiar personages as Mary Schiavo, David Soucie, Miles O'Brien, David Gallo and many others shook their talking heads 'no' to the idea that the detected acoustic impulses could have been anything other than signals from MH370's black boxes.
The Silencing of Dissent
Is there another, perhaps even more pestilent condition affecting some involved in the MH370 Investigation? It would certainly seem that way. It's the mindset of the 'book-burners.' the evil eye of the censor and the wisdom of the fool. Personally, I have been 'banned' from the internet sites of IG members Duncan Steel, and Jeff Wise. Mike Exner, another IG member, and Brock McEwen, the author of the report we've been analyzing have both 'blocked' me on the social network 'Twitter.' All, one would assume in an effort to stifle my attempts to publish the true facts about the greatest of all aviation mystery.
Are there legitimate questions about the official investigation into the MH370 tragedy? There certainly are and those are sufficient enough that one doesn't need to concoct any more, nor invent unfounded conspiracy theories. One agency that I believe has been unjustly vilified by some is the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). While I like many, have had problems and disagreements with them, I have found them to be for the most part courteous and responsive. Much more so than our own National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) would ever be, or has ever been. The ATSB stands in sharp contrast to the Malaysians, whom quite frankly haven't earned either my respect or trust.
So, when it's all said and done maybe we should in fact “Investigate the Investigators,” but others than those mentioned in Mr. McEwen's rather disjointed report.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank Ken Rahn, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island and former NTSB Board Member and Chairman of Omega Systems Corp., Dr. Vernon Grose, for their unflinching encouragement and support.
Copyright 2015 – J. E. Fiorentino – All Rights Reserved
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For further information contact:
John E. Fiorentino
PO Box 324
Oakhurst, NJ 07755 USA
Notes and References