Does anyone find it curious that a new debris field was found in the southern Indian Ocean the day

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after the Malaysian prime minister officially announced the that Malaysian Flight 370 had gone down near there?

Cause unknown. Case closed. Rest in Peace. Insha’allah.

In World War II our government brought together a team of cultural anthropologists, America’s finest in fact; Ruth Benedict, Clyde Kluckhorn and others, to come up with a study of the national characteristics of both our allies and adversaries in the war.

Yes, I know we’ve been warned and even ostracized about stereotyping people. Today, it’s been given a bad name, “profiling”. But then it was a matter of national security and a wise thing to consider in any century. In fact, we still do it every day, primarily because it will always be an essential survival mechanism. It’s why we don’t walk into a particular neighborhood after 9, or why women wear denim jeans unless they like being pinched in Rome. It’s why I once paid a cab $30 to drive me three unlit blocks to my hotel in Atlantic City at 3AM with $2000 in winnings in my pockets. I could actually see my hotel from the casino., 200 yards, tops.

We stereotype because we are correct at least 85% of the time, which in Atlantic City is a always winning percentage.

I had a partial copy of that government report for years, but lost it along the way. I was interested in the Russian profiles, the Chinese (more than one) and Japanese. Even the Canadians and Irish were covered.

I don’t know if Malaysia was mentioned, but India was. And to the extent both were still under the control of the British Colonial Office and its Civil Service during the war, they had many similarities. Being so similar in India, Ceylon, and the Malay States, their bureaucratic culture was very similar.

During the Indian Raj it was common for rail travelers to complain to company agents about mis-assigned tickets, 3rd class instead of 2nd, misplaced (never lost, never stolen) bags, and undelivered messages, so up and down the platform it was almost a chorus of “I am not responsible! I am not responsible!” by baggage handlers, runners, ticket agents and rail officials when confronted with irate travelers. If you spend much time there you will find it is endemic to the culture to “not be responsible” for anything that appears, on its face, to be in their charge.

Now, in defense of Malays and Indians, the avoidance of accountability is natural to almost all bureaucratic regimes. It’s why they are designed the way they are. Just ask Kathleen Sibelius or Janet Reno. “I am not responsible, in fact, no one is responsible. It’s really the the fault of process. (which was designed by George Bush)” But these are calculated evasions of accountability, criminal more than cowardly, and cowardly more than instinctive.

But in some cultures such behavior is more instinctive and instantaneous than others and therefore throws a different light on the subject. And in government-bureaucratic cultures it is stacked at least four levels deep, so is almost impossible to pinpoint its genesis or exegesis, especially as it pertains to personal accountability.

For example, and I can only speculate here, but since we know MH370 was intentionally diverted (several theories exist as to why and how) some theories would include the possibility of assistance from outside the aircraft. On the “dog that didn’t bark” theory, why were no cell phones turned on or used, once the aircraft suddenly banked left? Sudden decompression could be one answer, everyone having passed out. But if the aircraft flew for another seven hours, might not they have been revived? Were the phones seized? If guns were used, did outside ground crew place them aboard the craft to secure the cabins? Questions like this abound, and of course, now, will never be known. Which may be the point.

But when questions arise about the perpetrators of any intentional act around and aboard this aircraft, from the pilot’s family, his simulators, his political anger, to outside agents, it’s impossible to know who knew what or when. This is not a closing of ranks, but rather a dozen, or hundred, individuals reacting in exactly the same way, not to protect anyone except themselves. If a ground crew member did sneak an unauthorized “box”aboard, what was the crewman’s supervisor doing who might have witnessed it? Or should have? Or even believed he should

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have? Did he notice strange packages or behavior and not report on it? If he did he isn’t saying, which is always his first instinct, to remain perfectly quiet. Sgt Schultz, “I know nothing!” He would never rush forward to fill in this missing piece of the puzzle after-the-fact, for to do so would be to admit that he could/should have intervened in the first place. And the same rule would apply had he mentioned this to his own superior, who may have simply forgotten to inquire any further up the line. Having officially passed the buck, he would have no greater duty, so stays quiet.

In some cultures there is never a compelling reason for any negative fact to move forward on its own, once the narrow window for “official discovery” has passed, for someone will then be blamed. I’m sure anthropologists have an answer for this practice. Once an employee allows that moment to pass, he instinctively adopts a defensive posture.

Magnify this into at least three tiers of management and government.

God knows how many “instinctive CYA’s” had been in place before the first senior Malaysian Airline official stepped in front of a microphone after MH3780 disappeared. The same for the military radar people, who waited three days before finally alerting the world that the plane had changed course. Why did that take three days? Do you recall they then recanted (probably under orders) only to return to their original story (once it was seen to be able to fit into a suitable narrative), but only after even more time had elapsed. It would be a week before the search actually shifted to the Indian Ocean.

I am quite convinced that within two days, up and down the line, in the three key sectors, Malaysian Airlines, the Malaysian government and the military, their primary purpose was to avoid joint and individual accountability. Finding the aircraft, or the causes of its disappearance, with only some afterthought of the victims and their families (i.e., the tragedy) were always secondary in their thinking. Yet they never sat down and conspired with one another, in all likelihood. Everyone just understood.

So this is not a cover-up in the conventional sense, for I’m also fairly certain that almost no one knows what actually happened to MH370. It is simply a perfect storm, a “cultural conspiracy” to protect themselves, individually, from ever having to stand before the judgment of history to accept any personal responsibility for this tragedy. So the entire nation of Malaysia will have to stand in their stead.

The Gordian Knot of a collection of “I am not responsible’s”, I am afraid, cannot be cut at this stage. The Malaysian government is satisfied that the plane is lost, with all hands. Moreover they are satisfied that there will never be any evidence making any Malaysian responsible (accountable) for any part of this tragedy, whether in uncovering the plot, preventing it, reporting it, or solving it. Every Malay military member, down to the private who carried out the litter basket in the radar facility, every Malaysian Airline official, down to the ticket agent in downtown Kuala Lumpur, every Malay government official, down to the telephone receptionist in the Ministry’s office, can all go home after the Prime Minister’s statement secure in the knowledge that they are “not responsible”. That was what the PM was really saying to his countrymen.

What he was saying to the rest of world was “End of story.”

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