On March 15, 2014 I completed my first analysis of the disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370.  I wrote a scenario of what likely happened.  On December 9, 2015 I was able, in part thanks to good work by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to connect some dots and show that MH370 was downed by terrorists using a bomb.  The original scenario I proposed held.  Now (November 2, 2016) the same Australian Transport Safety Bureau is backing up my original theory on the behavior of the aircraft.  The Bureau is saying that MH370 flew on its own without pilot assistance for some time until it ran out of fuel.  This is exactly the scenario I wrote in March, 2014.  A bomb disabled the plane. The bomb came from the hands of a terrorist and all the candidates are Islamic. One Uigher group already claimed responsibility. But the real evil may have been done by Iranian-backed terrorists.

Only a few parts of MH370 have been found and no one knows where the aircraft is.  Unfortunately for the families, there is no closure on what happened to their loved ones.  Worse still, the perpetrators of the crime remain at large.

There is a strong circumstantial case that what happened with MH370 was covered up by Malaysian authorities who were being extorted by Iranian-backed terror organizations. This explanation, which I offered in 2015, fits with the complete reluctance of Malaysian authorities to follow up on terrorist leads other than to say that possibly the pilot was suicidal (but no convincing evidence has demonstrated that). 

Below I have printed the original articles.  The original articles also appear in my book, Essays in Technology, Security and Strategy, which is available in paper and Kindle versions on Amazon.


by Stephen Bryen

December 9, 2015

New evidence shows that flight MH370, the Malaysian airline heading toward Beijing on the night of March 8, 2014 and has yet to be found, lost electrical power hours before it stopped flying.  This is consistent with the theory that MH370 was not due to any deliberate manipulation of the aircraft by the pilot, or even by on board terrorists physically in control of the plane. The entire electrical system was blown out.  Only an emergency beacon, which is located above the heads of the pilots in the cockpit ceiling, temporarily stopped operating and then switched to its own separately located backup power source.

This evidence results from work done in Australia by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

How would this happen?

The most likely theory is that there was an explosion in the plane.  The explosion was either in the forward cargo hold or in a seat in the first class section, or in the hands of a passenger probably in the first class section. The explosion caused a fire, which most likely was observed from an oil rig and reported, depressurizing the cabin, and made the flight crew and passengers unconscious.

No cell Phone Calls

This scenario explains why there were absolutely no cell phone calls for help.  The crew and passengers were all unconscious or dead.

MH370, when the explosion took place, altered course and seemed to turn back toward Malaysia.  It was tracked by Malaysian primary radar.  The aircraft transponder, which would have provided much more information, was not working so the Air Traffic Control radar tracking system (secondary radar) did not pick it up.

Who claimed Responsibility?

All of this points to the fact that MH370 was a terrorist operation.  Only one group claimed responsibility –a Uighur organization, the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) also known as the Turkestan Islamic Party.

The Uighur heartland stretches from western China to Kyrgyzstan.  Uighur rebel Abdullah Mansour told Reuters from an undisclosed location that the intent [of the MH370 operation]  was to bring the Holy Fight to China.  “The fight against China is our Islamic responsibility and we have to fulfill it.”  More than half the passengers on MH370 were Chinese.


Uighur Man with Flight Training Claimed

At the time a Malay newspaper, Harian Metro, claimed there was one Uighur man on board Flight MH370.   According to that newspaper, the man took flight training in Sweden in 2005 and his intent may have been to blast open the cockpit door and take control of the aircraft.  If this is true, he did not get the chance to practice his piloting skills, because the plane was immediately depressurized and a fire started from the blast.

There has been no confirmation of this claim other than one person with the same name coming forward to say it was (obviously) not him.

There are plenty of other terrorist organizations in Malaysia including offshoots of al-Qaeda and ISIS, and many of them had been arrested.

There also are  Sh’ia terrorists operating in Malaysia which may explain why Massoud Sedaghtzadeh had fled Thailand and arrived in Kuala Lumpur on February 15, 2011 where he was arrested.

Massoud was part of an Iranian team who tried to kill Israeli diplomats in Bangkok the day before. Two of the team, one whose legs were blown off in a  related “work accident” were arrested. Two others, one man and one woman, escaped as did Massoud.  At the time of the disappearance of MH370 Massoud was appealing his extradition to Thailand.  One possible theory is that the “capture” of MH370 by a colleague of Massoud would have created a potential for a trade whereby the passengers on the plane would be released in exchange for Massoud and perhaps the two others under arrest in Bangkok.

The fact is we don’t know which terrorist did it, only that a terrorist almost certainly was involved.

So why then did the Malaysian government do just about everything it could to deflect any attention to a possible terrorist operation?  We can only speculate on motives, but if the government was contacted and urged to make a deal to get their passengers back, they may have tried to do so, only to find out later that the terrorists did not have the passengers in their control and that the plane was lost.  No government ever wants to admit it was duped, especially a government that was already in a lot of political trouble at home. [Emphasis Added.]

On March 15, 2014  my blog Technology and Security published an essay that still explains the fate of the plane, now reinforced by the new evidence. It is reproduced below.

We can, therefore, say the following:

  1. MH370 was hit by a bomb blast, either in the hands of a terrorist on board the plane or located in the forward cargo hold just under the front section of the aircraft.
  2. This was a terrorist operation. Two prime candidates are (a) a Uighur organization which claimed responsibility or (b) an Iranian organization trying to spring terrorists incarcerated in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
  3. If there was a plot to hijack the aircraft it failed because the bomb to gain access to the cockpit was too big.
  4. The Malaysian government may have been duped in a secret effort to get the passengers released.
By Laurent ERRERA from L'Union, France - Boeing 777-200ER Malaysia AL (MAS) 9M-MRO - MSN 28420/404, CC BY-SA 2.0,

By Laurent ERRERA from L’Union, France – Boeing 777-200ER Malaysia AL (MAS) 9M-MRO – MSN 28420/404, CC BY-SA 2.0,


My theory of What Happened to MH370

By Stephen Bryen

March 15, 2014

It is the middle of the night.  The cabin lights are dimmed, most of the passengers have dozed off.  A large “bang” is heard, rousing the passengers.  Within a second or two, oxygen masks drop from above.  Eerily, there is no message.  The flight attendants say nothing. All the lights are now out, the temperature has dropped, and the oxygen is not flowing through the tubes.  The plane at first ascends a few thousand feet from its established pathway, in fact well above its safe altitude. Then it begins to turn and almost doubles back on its original course.  But now it is descending slowly so that by the time it crosses back over the Malaysian mainland, it is down to around 10 to 15,000 feet above sea level.  It now seems to stabilize and hold its altitude, as it flies on.

Observers on oil rigs at first saw the plane, a great distance away, and there seemed to have been a fire.  But after some 15 seconds, the fire was out, probably blown out by the jet-stream.

The plane can fly like this for many hours.  But the passengers all were made unconscious by the depressurization.  Some of them might remain alive, but none of them, including the flight crew staff, can function.

The pilots are both dead.  The transponder went off when the explosion in the cabin area happened.  We now know that the story that the transponder was off when the pilots made their last call to ATC (Air Traffic Control) was false.  The transponder went off after the call.

There were no cell phone calls.  This tells us unequivocally that everyone was unconscious or dead. Otherwise calls could have been made at any time as the plane flew on.  At the plane’s altitude over Malaysia, there is no doubt calls could be received.  But there weren’t any.

Years ago when I was learning to be a pilot my IP (Instructor Pilot) told me to take my hands off the stick and my feet off the rudder. “Just watch what happens,” he said, as I reluctantly let go of the yoke.  The plane flew on, in fact it was more level and stable than my piloting allowed it to be.  “An airplane wants to fly,” said the IP, “and it will fly if there is sufficient air speed.”

A wounded airplane, where the controls are mainly destroyed by a bomb, can still fly and can even seem to be on course.  Now when the plane was wounded, it could have turned sharply as the blast hit and the pilots grabbed or pulled at the controls.  But once the explosion was over and the pilots unable to do anything, the plane could go on for some time.  The evidence tells us the plane flew for some number of hours.

How far would it have gone?  If there was a rupture in the plane’s skin, as was probably the case, over time it would get bigger and incoming wind would eventually further damage the plane’s systems.

My guess is that there was a bomb on the plane.  Probably in one of the forward cabins.  Remember that the 9/11 hijackers and some of the wannabe hijackers, booked first or business class seats.  Whether there was any attempt to hijack the plane remains uncertain. It does not seem too likely, because some commotion in the plane’s cabin probably would have been detected.  The idea that sophisticated hijackers, or the pilot and copilot together, somehow flew the plane to a secret runway seems far fetched and unproven.

Eventually the plane will be located.  Probably it is deeply embedded in the ocean bottom.  It could have “landed” itself on the water and slowly drifted to the bottom, without breaking up.  That will make it hard to find.

Is such a self-landing possible?  With empty fuel tanks (no oil slicks) and gently descending, the plane could have put down safely, much like US Airways Flight 1549 that was brilliantly piloted to a safe landing on the Hudson river.  Readers will recall that the plane stayed afloat for some time as it drifted down the Hudson river.  There was no debris. Eventually it was stopped and salvaged.   Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-370, with no one conscious on board, could have laid on top of the waves and eventually filled with water and sank.

Without finding the airplane, it is impossible to demonstrate any theory.  No one so far is claiming to have blown up the plane or attempted to hijack it.  Military “primary” radars have not reported “seeing” the plane where it could have entered someone’s airspace. That does not prove it did not anyway happen.  A number of experts in Israel think it was an Iranian operation.  And Israeli air defense systems are on alert if in fact the plan is to use the plane as in a suicide attack on Israel, a replicate of 9/11. But right now there isn’t any convincing evidence for this kind of hijack.  And from the few facts we know –a plane at a very high altitude, calm pilots, and no cellular phone calls, points in a different direction.

There have been reports that some shoe bombs have been designed to blow up the cabin door of an aircraft.  Such a bomb might do a lot more damage, such as blowing out the windshields of the cockpit and depressurizing the aircraft.

Perhaps we will soon find out the answer to the mystery of the missing plane and lost passengers and crew.



  1. Florence Aaron
  2. Juliana Geran Pilon

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