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Mendocino County Today: Monday, March 17, 2014

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THE LATE RAINS have much improved the outlook for a pretty good salmon run this season, which begins April 5th. According to the Chronicle’s Tom Stienstra, “Summer is expected to provide for a solid year of fishing. The Sacramento River Index forecasts an ocean abundance of 634,650 adult salmon. That is less than 2013 (834,000 adult salmon, which turned out to be right on), but it is four times higher than the forecast from 2008 to 2010.”

ADD TO THE ENDLESS LIST of things I didn't know, and also according to the invaluable Stienstra, the Chron's outdoor guy, "…few of the Klamath fish stray south of Fort Bragg, so Klamath numbers have little impact on Bay Area prospects.”

STIENSTRA also reports the good news that 12 million hatchery fish raised in Shasta County will get a ride downstream so they don't have to run the lethal gauntlet of water diversions, pumps, predators and so on that the Sacramento River has become. Most of the six-inchers will get out to sea and be back as adults in a few years.

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Someone had been walking in and out

Of the world without coming

To much decision about anything.

The sun seemed too hot most of the time.

There weren't enough birds around

And the hills had a silly look

When he got on top of one.

The girls in heaven, however, thought

Nothing of asking to see his watch

Like you would want someone to tell

A joke — “Time,” they'd say, “what's

That mean — time?,” laughing with the edges

Of their white mouths, like a flutter of paper

In a madhouse. And he'd stumble over

General Sherman or Elizabeth B.

Browning, muttering, “Can't you keep

KennethPatchenYour big wings out of the aisle?” But down

Again, there'd be millions of people without

Enough to eat and men with guns just

Standing there shooting each other.

So he wanted to throw something

And he picked up a baseball.

— Kenneth Patchen

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WHY WOULD HOLLY MADRIGAL think that endorsements from Congressman Jared Huffman, lame duck State Senator Noreen Evans and lame duck Assemblyman Wes Chesbro will help her become Third District Supervisor? Electoral support for these three is, as they say, soft. They stay permanently in office because the Conservative Democrats, and you have to hand it to them, have captured the California Coast from the Marin end of the Golden Gate Bridge north to the Oregon border. South of Marin they're also Obama conservatives.

MOVING FORWARD! Speaking for myself, of course, Holly's terrible trio represents a kind of political kryptonite. In the three of them you see everything gone wrong in this country. Support for Huffman, Evans and Chesbro means support for the plutocracy that funds them, that funds all professional Democrats from Obama on down to these three Mike Thompson-clones. “Moving Forward.” It's sad. I'm sure Holly is in favor of moving forward and I'm sure she's a nice person in the blanded down, vacuous manner that voters seem to go for these days. But she certainly hasn't shone any light as mayor of Willits or as a member of the County’s Solid Waste Board where she's in full support of the $5 million Coast transfer station boondoggle and, natch, she seems to think the management of Mendo Public Radio is simply swell.

PINCHES brought something special to the Board of Supervisors. Agree with him or not, he was a totally independent voice, and certainly independent of this flabby, pseudo-liberal stranglehold that the Northcoast Democrats have placed us in. He's going to be missed.

MADRIGAL is running against three men. She'll get the knee jerk feminist vote, which is quite large in this county, but that vote would also go to Eva Braun if she were the only woman in the race and the only man was Abe Lincoln. The other candidates are men. One is former supervisor Hal Wagenet, a real estate guy named Woodhouse and Clay Romero, a machinist. As a supervisor, Wagenet attended meetings. Beyond showing up, we can't remember him doing much of anything at all beyond automatic support for the ongoing scam called the North Coast Railroad Authority. If Woodhouse has any ideas about County government he has yet to reveal them. Ditto for Romero, although he can at least say he works hard for a living and has made a business that supports him and his family.

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“WHY THE EMPTY BALLOTS?” wonders Ukiah Daily Journal editor KC Meadows in Sunday’s editorial. “Of all the county offices potentially on the ballot, only one incumbent faces a challenger, the county clerk-assessor-recorder. Only one other race has candidates — John Pinches' 3rd District supervisor seat. And that, we suspect, is only because he is retiring. All the other elected offices in the county on the 2014 ballot: the district attorney, sheriff, Fifth district supervisor, two judges, county auditor, and county tax collector will be held by incumbents (with the exception of Auditor Meredith Ford who is retiring. Her assistant (Lloyd Weer) will slide into the seat, running unopposed.) Why is this? Are people so happy with the way our county government is running that they simply accept that those in office should keep their jobs? Are people just too busy to run for local elected office? Is it too much trouble? Is it too expensive? Do incumbents have too much advantage? Is it a job no one wants any more? (These are full time jobs that pay very well. It can't be that they don't pay enough.) We'd like to hear from you. Why is it that no one wants these jobs any more? … Together maybe we can figure this out.”


DA: You have to be an attorney to run for District Attorney and there are actually very few attorneys with the relevant criminal experience to do the job, and even fewer, if any, who have the name recognition to run county-wide. Running countywide for anything is tough, hence our permanent, and permanently overlarge, cadre of judges. And if you do run for DA, it’s hard to get traction (e.g., support from other attorneys, especially) against the incumbent DA who has mostly done a good job. (If he doesn't prosecute Peter Keegan for the murder of his wife, Susan, he'll go straight to the top of our Not Doing A Good Job roster.) And you can argue about his method of dealing with pot cases — basically, the DA sells misdemeanors, a policy unique in the state. But Eyster's accessible. You can make an appointment to argue with him, which we've done. And he's reasonable, and reason and a sense of proportion is what we want in the County's top law enforcement officer.

Sheriff: Sheriff Allman is an excellent politician. Nobody could successfully take him on, and he has nimbly avoided scandal. Allman's quite popular with the voting public, a popularity he's achieved via a unique ubiquity; the Sheriff doesn't seem to miss a public event, and quite a few private ones, anywhere in the County, from Covelo to Gualala. Captain Greg Van Patten, we hear, is Allman's likely successor, with Deputy Jason Caudillo a possible candidate for the job down the line. Way down the line. The job is Allman's for as long as he wants it.

Dan Hamburg, with his copious lunatic baggage (see below for his take on 911) could not hold public office any place in the country, but here in Wacky Central, the Fifth District of Mendocino County, he goes over boffo, mondo boffo. A cult guy for some years (the upscale Adi Da rape and dope cult captured Hamburg), Hamburg shares his constituents’ general lack of interest in the actual operations of the County — they're all Big Thinkers. Taking on Hamburg, and someone should have taken him on, means the Wendy Roberts Treatment from Hamburg's sleazy core supporters, all of them also active in the Northcoast Democrats, Mendo branch. Roberts lost to Hamburg 4,000 votes (roughly) to her 2,900 votes (roughly). She was vilified as a pawn of developers, although developers are non-existent in the Fifth District and hard to find anywhere else in the County. A liberal Democrat, Roberts couldn't beat back the lies about her fast enough to defeat Hamburg, a putative liberal. The Potemkin local branch of the National Women's Political Caucus — maybe ten members — also endorsed Hamburg over Roberts, neatly mooting the organization's ostensible purpose. Hamburg is a registered Green, a defunct political entity in Mendocino County, and when it wasn't defunct entirely a creature of the Democrats.

COUNTY TREASURER: The bureaucratic elected offices have never garnered much interest and this year is no different. Nobody follows what they do, and Mendo has very few people with even the minimal financial savvy to handle the job. John Sakowicz had expressed passing interest in the Treasurer’s job but even he, thick-skinned as he is, didn't run.

BOTTOM LINE: Fewer than half of eligible Americans bother to vote. The political apathy and hopelessness prevalent in the country also prevails here.

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“I’m on record re 9/11. ‘The New Pearl Harbor' by Massimo Mazzucco, merely provides further confirmation that 9/11 was a shameless and unspeakably evil hoax perpetrated on the American people and the world. Perhaps most interesting in the Mazzucco documentary is the technical information that explains why the two hijacked planes couldn't have been flown into the WTC buildings at the speed they were traveling. Turns out that when a plane is flying near the ground it must drastically reduce speed or it starts to come apart because of increased air resistance. The planes that hit those buildings were replacements. Quotes from aeronautical engineers at Boeing seal the deal here. Part of the horror of this scam is that they offloaded passengers and forced them to ‘call home’ on their cell phones and read prepared statements. That's how we got the fiction behind ‘Let's roll.’ (Latest ‘Loose Change’ [an earlier conspiracy film] reports that Cleveland Airport was evacuated that morning due to ‘terrorist threats’ and that the news media reported that Flight 93 landed there and offloaded passengers to a cleared building.) At the end of one of the recorded cellphone calls (which, you recall, could not have been made from the hijacked plane's reported altitude), a flight attendant whispers ‘it's a frame.’ The cabal didn't notice this. The financial report is devastating. Turns out part of the motive was 220 billion in bogus Russian bonds. Web savvy people have written several articles about YouTube suddenly zeroing out viewing statistics on controversial 911 videos. And the one on ‘911 & Operation Northwoods’ has just plain old disappeared. Dan.”

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FOR NO OTHER REASON than it’s been a long time since anyone read Steve Talbot’s revealing article on about the Judi Bari bombing, we’re providing this link to the piece because it’s been so fastidiously ignored by persons offering uninformed on-line opinions of the case. Talbot, for those of you who came in late, produced the original, non-propaganda version of Who Bombed Judi Bari, which aired originally on KQED out of San Francisco in 1991 about a year after the bombing.

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(aka Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs)

Do Not Give A Rhyming Dictionary To That Old Fart!

We don’t know where you’re taking us,

Miss Vickie. Is it to war with Russia?

Do we really need the Ukraine?

Are we the United States of Prussia?


Are you Point Lady for the neocons,

Projecting a century of American empire?

You’d launch our army, navy and our air force,

You’d throw my low-rent neighbors into that

Military/industrial/Ivy League pyre?


You want the restoration of Khazaria

Coronation of your in-laws, the Kagans,

You want a Khaganate of Nuland,

A demented dream of the spaced out Reagans?


Oh why, Miss Vickie, must we cross the dark Dnieper?

Will only the blood of the bear suffice?

Will only the blood of my neighbors appease?

Do you desire post nuclear paradise?


If you yearn to ride with Vlad the Hammer

As the neocon Lady Godiva

We will arrange your peak moment,

If you just don’t go to war with Ivan.


Miss Vickie, you’re the haughtiest,

Your schooling the plutocrapiest.

Some say your politics are Zionist,

But you're just a typical exceptionalist.


You say you want to bring them democracy

But you wouldn't know it from okra seed.

— Bill Hatch

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LOST IN THE FOG OF DENUNCIATIONS OF JOHN SAKOWICZ at the KZYX Board meeting in Fort Bragg on Monday, March 3, by his fellow board members were the specific complaints Sakowicz itemized when it was his turn to speak after his eight fellow KZYX Board members took turns telling him he was outtaline for filing an FCC complaint. So for the record, Sako told his fellow board members that:

• General Manager John Coate had meddled in recent elections by recruiting an opponent against Sako, then Sako found out “John Coate doesn’t like me,” by which Sako apparently meant that if the candidate had not been Sakowicz, no such candidate recruitment would have taken place.

• The formation of the Community Advisory Board, which is required by the station’s own bylaws, had come too late.

• The station has a history of exclusion, excluding the AVA, Beth Bosk’s New Settler Interview, Ukiah Daily Journal Editor KC Meadows, and Ukiah low-power FM station KMEC.

• The station’s finances are unnecessarily obscure. Budgets don’t match from one version of the budget to the next. It’s hard to track the station’s true budget. (And Sakowicz is the Board Treasurer.)

• The station does not conduct open hiring. Sako says the station should have invited former newsperson Christina Aanestad to apply for the position instead of simply announcing the hiring of Mr. Kislinger and Ms. Flynn.

• Open lines has been canceled. It’s an important public forum. Without Open Lines the public’s rights to access to the airwaves are being violated. Open Lines should be restored.

At no time did any Board member or Board candidate address these complaints (other than a few of the dissidents saying that Open Lines should be restored.)

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by Emily Hobelmann

Marijuana laws in California are officially a clusterfuck. At the state level, we’ve got Prop 215 and SB 420 in play for guidance on all things medical marijuana, but many complain that the laws are too vague to facilitate a functional system. And then there’s just straight up state marijuana law. (Go ahead, knock yourself out with state Health and Safety Code about marijuana stuff.)

On top of that, since the passage of Prop 215 eons ago, all sorts of medical marijuana legislation has cropped up from city-to-city and county-to-county. Humboldt County governance is still developing it’s own medical marijuana regulations, as we know. I understand the proposed outdoor marijuana cultivation ordinance for smaller parcels will be revisited at the April 3rd Board of Supe’s meeting.

(California NORML maintains a fairly up-to-date web page with guidelines to the different cultivation guidelines across the state. The page does not include information on local governments’ dispensary regulations, which vary.)

Now legalization is officially kinda popular. California Democrats are backing legalization in their party platform. And check out this Huffington Post story: Many CPAC Attendees Say Marijuana Should Be Legalized. Why of course it should. The right to self-determination, we own our bodies… That’s right.

But it looks like California will remain stuck in the quagmire for now. The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act — the single remaining hope for legalization via the 2014 ballot — seems like its campaign is going nowhere fast. The crew behind the initiative is apparently lacking the millions of dollars they need to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Meanwhile, California lawmakers are actively trying to further regulate — not legalize — marijuana at the state level. A brief rundown of what’s happening:

1. Assembly Bill 1588 would have increased the required distance between schools and medical marijuana dispensaries from 600 feet to 1,000 feet and it would have increased fines on any violators. The bill got shot down in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on March 11th.

2. Assembly Member Jim Frazier introduced Assembly Bill 2500 in late February. If passed, the bill would amend the state vehicle code so that:

“It is unlawful for a person to drive a vehicle if his or her blood contains any detectable amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol of marijuana or any other drug classified in Schedule I, II, III, or IV under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act…”

Any marijuana user knows that THC from a weed-injestion session stays in the ole system for a while, like days — 21 days is the stoner rule of thumb as I know it. So if AB 2500 passes, marijuana users would theoretically have to wait three weeks after hitting a joint, smoking a dab or eating a pot candy to get behind the wheel.

AB 2500 was referred to the Assembly Public Safety Committee on March 13th.

3. Assembly member Tom Ammiano introduced Assembly Bill 604 just over a year ago. If passed, the bill “would enact the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act and would create the Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement within the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.”

Since when did the ABC deal with medical matters? AB 604 has been in the Assembly Public Safety Committee since September of last year.

4. And Senator Lou Correa introduced Senate Bill 1262 just a few weeks ago. SB-1262 “would require the State Department of Public Health to license dispensing facilities and cultivation sites that provide, process, and grow marijuana for medical use, as specified, and would make these licenses subject to the restrictions of the local jurisdiction in which the facility operates or proposes to operate.” I.e., Fortuna would be able to maintain its ban on dispensaries.

The bill would also require the state Health Department to establish quality assurance testing standards of medical pot. It would require dispensaries to have certain security requirements in place. And the bill would require the establishment of certain requirements for doctors to recommend medical marijuana, “including prescribed procedural and recordkeeping requirements.”

The bill would establish a stricter protocol for medical marijuana recommendations for minors and it would require the Medical Board of California to “audit a physician and surgeon who recommends medical marijuana more than 100 times in a year to ensure compliance with existing law and would require the board to establish a certification process for physicians who wish to issue medical marijuana recommendations…”

Uh oh. That last part might cramp California’s style.

At the national level, Jared Huffman, our boy in Congress, just introduced the Western Drought Relief Bill on March 13th. The press release from Huffman’s office says the bill meets these two basic principles: “We’re all in this together.” and “Do no harm.” (Press release.)

The bill would do all sorts of water-related things throughout the state and, according to the press release, the bill “cracks down on illegal water diversions for marijuana cultivation. Illegal water diversions not only reduce available water for legal uses, but create a significant environmental threat in Northern California and other rural parts of the state.”

(Huffman also introduced the “PLANT” act last year, which “would establish new penalties for causing environmental damage while cultivating marijuana on federal public lands or while trespassing on private property.” Looks that puppy is stuck in a congressional committee.)

On that note, the US Forest Service released a video called “Marijuana Grows and Restoration” on Feb. 28th. The video provides the Forest Service’s perspective on the harm trespass grows inflict on national forests.

There is a passage in the video about water diversions. “Not only are they clearing vegetation, brush, trees, whatever’s in their way,” a male narrator says, “they’re diverting water from stream courses, building dams.” (“They” being trespass growers.) Then a female narrator says, “Marijuana plants require both sunlight and tremendous amounts of water. A single plant can use up to 15 gallons of water per day.” That seems like a lot. Is that true?

There is a gut-wrenching sequence about poisoned fishers. A Fox Farm soil bag lurks in the background of a couple shots. Yikes. There’s guns, pesticides, rodenticides, irrigation lines, emotionally distraught government employees. Last Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors called for stiffer federal penalties for trespass grows. Shouldn’t they call for nationwide legalization as well?

All of these bills and regulations, proposed or in action, are band aids for the open wounds of prohibition. All these laws, yet chaos persists.

There is no doubt that humans are fucking up the environment. That’s old news that keeps on giving and getting weirder. (Like, what’s with China using chemical-spraying drones to “clean up” pollution?) But in the case of marijuana, will tighter regulation serve to clear the chaos of prohibition?

Maybe. And if the marijuana mess ever gets straightened out, what are we going to do about psychedelics?

In 2010, a couple of years before his death, actor Larry Hagman (the dude from the TV show Dallas) talked about LSD with Joy Behar on HLN. He said that LSD took away his fear of death. He also said, “I think it oughta be mandatory that all our politicians do it at least once.” YouTube clip here. Hagman might be onto something. After all, there are current studies that demonstrate the medicinal value of LSD, MDMA and psilocybin.

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Locks and Surveillance Return to Martin Luther King Jr Way

by Summer Reese, Pacifica In Exile

"Troubled Radio Network Resorts to Hardware to Lock Out Employees From National Headquarters"

Berkeley — In a familiar refrain, the brand new chair of the Pacifica National Board could be found on the morning of Friday March 14th barricading the doors of a small building at 1925 Martin Luther King Jr Way in Berkeley. After only six weeks on the job, the barricade was being erected against the organization's executive director Summer Reese, a woman thirty years her junior, who had just been presented with a 3-year contract for employment only six weeks earlier, after working for 20 months as an interim in the executive director position. Reese had been the chair of Pacifica's National Board for the previous 3 years, but she never found herself pressed into duty as an ad-hoc locksmith. The network's employees, who usually work in the building on Friday, were nowhere to be found.

This was not the first time the building containing the nation's first non-commercial listener-sponsored radio operation locked out its employees and found itself decorated with a padlock, but it may be one of the strangest. The evening before, a virtually new-elected board (seated a mere 43 days before) rejected legal counsel, tabled every matter on the evening's agenda, rushed into a secretive closed session, voided a contract signed before they were seated, and immediately terminated Reese.

According to as many as 10 members of the board of directors and as reported to the "New York Times", no reason was offered and little discussion ensued prior to a narrow vote.

The radio network had announced just a few hours earlier that it had sucessfully paid off a quarter million dollars in severance pay for laid-off employees at it's New York division WBAI-FM, a financial obligation many had feared would lead to the sale of one of the network's real estate properties and leave one of its stations homeless.

Padlocks were last installed in Berkeley in the summer of 1999, when the Pacifica National Board responded to the on-air revelation of an email by board member Michael Palmer of the proposed sale of one of the network's five noncommercial radio licenses and intentions to shut down operations and reprogram other stations. Long-time news reporter and radio host Dennis Bernstein read the misdirected email on the air at KPFA-FM and found himself forcibly removed by security guards who emptied and padlocked the station, which remained unoccupied for 19 days. Several years and many lawsuits later, the network emerged from receivership with a new organizational structure that allowed station members to elect their representatives to local and national boards of directors.

The ensuing decade has been tumultuous for Pacifica as the organization experienced dramatic management instability with 11 people serving as the executive director and almost constant turnover in the station manager positions. Recently, a request for proposals was issued for a leasing agreement for the New York signal and several board members have publicly called for the outright sale of the New York signal. Reese was known not to have favored a license sale.

The network's insurance broker had recently written a letter warning the board of directors that Pacifica's high level of employment litigation posed a threat of "uninsurability" and future litigation was to be avoided.

Rumors that the employee lockout executed by the new chair of the board, Margy Wilkinson, and now herself the interim executive director, had potentially cost the network as much as a million in government funding proved to be unsubstantiated, as the fired executive director had arranged for the required forms to be filed remotely, although her employment had been terminated at midnight the day before.

The abrupt firing of the executive director, despite a signed contract, echoes similarly reckless behavior by the Pacifica National Board that includes an equally abrupt rehiring of a chief financial officer despite coworker complaints, a 2012 990 form that had to be amended after filing, and a 13-month bank reconciliation backlog at the Berkeley station, and a confrontation between a human resources lawyer hired by the network and some of the network's board members in early February at a DC-area board meeting.

10 members of the network's board of directors, who consider themselves an embattled minority on the 22-person board have expressed consistent distress at the recent actions of the board and called for board members to pay attention to their fiduciary responsibilities and cease their reckless and irresponsible behavior. Many have publicly speculated that members of the board wish to dissolve the 65-year-old radio network and are using their elected positions on the board of directors to try to drive the organization into a state of collapse deliberately to faciliate a sale.

Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica's storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 in-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tales to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin's incendiary performances on WBAI.

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Dear Editor:

There are interesting comments by Edward Snowden in his recent testimony to the European Parliament. When asked if he had exhausted all his avenues before leaking the classified information he said that he reported his concerns to ten different officials, none of whom took any action. The reaction fell into basically two categories — warnings not to “rock the boat” and “let the issue be someone else's problem.” He also pointed out that as a private contractor he was covered by Presidential Policy Directive 19 which set up a system for questioning classified government actions. The NSA in the past has denied he ever brought his concern to anyone's attention. Given the methodical way he has handled the release of the information I am sure he has the names, dates, and times of his conversations with the officials and their responses.

In peace, James G. Updegraff, Sacramento

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by Chris Brummitt & Jim Gomez

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — When someone at the controls calmly said the last words heard from the missing Malaysian jetliner, one of the Boeing 777's communications systems had already been disabled, authorities said, adding to suspicions that one or both of the pilots were involved in the disappearance of the flight.

Investigators also were examining a flight simulator confiscated from the home of one of the pilots and dug through the background of all 239 people on board, as well as the ground crew that serviced the plane.

The Malaysia Airlines jet took off from Kuala Lumpur in the wee hours of March 8, headed to Beijing. On Saturday, the Malaysian government announced findings that strongly suggested the plane was deliberately diverted and may have flown as far north as Central Asia or south into the vast reaches of the Indian Ocean.

Authorities have said someone on board the plane first disabled one of its communications systems — the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS — about 40 minutes after takeoff. The ACARS equipment sends information about the jet's engines and other data to the airline.

About 14 minutes later, the transponder that identifies the plane to commercial radar systems was also shut down. The fact that both systems went dark separately offered strong evidence that the plane's disappearance was deliberate.

On Sunday, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference that the final, reassuring words from the cockpit — "All right, good night" — were spoken to air traffic controllers after the ACARS system was shut off. Whoever spoke did not mention any trouble on board.

Air force Maj. Gen. Affendi Buang told reporters he did not know whether it was the pilot or co-pilot who spoke to air traffic controllers.

Given the expanse of land and water that might need to be searched, finding the wreckage could take months or longer. Or it might never be located. Establishing what happened with any degree of certainty will probably require evidence from cockpit voice recordings and the plane's flight-data recorders.

The search area now includes 11 countries the plane might have flown over, Hishammuddin said, adding that the number of countries involved in the operation had increased from 14 to 25.

"The search was already a highly complex, multinational effort," he said. "It has now become even more difficult."

The search effort initially focused on the relatively shallow waters of the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, where the plane was first thought to be. Hishammuddin said he has asked governments to hand over sensitive radar and satellite data to try to get a better idea of the plane's final movements.

With more information, he said, the search zone could be narrowed "to an area that is more feasible."

Investigators have said the last known position of the plane could be anywhere on a huge arc spanning from Kazakhstan down to the southern stretches of the Indian Ocean. Given that a northern route would have sent the plane over countries with busy airspace, most experts say the person in control of the aircraft would more likely have chosen to go south. The southern Indian Ocean is the world's third-deepest and one of the most remote stretches of water in the world, with little radar coverage.

Australia has a powerful military radar system with an approximate range of 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) used to monitor the Indian Ocean west of the country. But the radar would have to have been pointed in the right direction at the right time to have picked up detailed flight activity, said John Blaxland of the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

Without any alarms triggered at the time, the radar data probably would have recorded at most a blip on a screen, which likely wouldn't provide enough information to track the plane, Blaxland said Monday.

"So to expect that's going to deliver some kind of miraculous tracking of an aircraft over a week ago ... I think we might be a bit disappointed," Blaxland said.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he will speak with Malaysian officials Monday to see if they wanted additional search help.

Asked whether any Australian agency had picked up any information suggesting the plane flew near Australia, Abbott said: "I don't have any information to that effect, but all of our agencies that could possibly help in this area are scouring their data to see if there's anything they can add to the understanding of this mystery."

Malaysia is leading the search for the plane and the investigation into its disappearance.

In the United States, Dan Pfeiffer, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the FBI was supporting the criminal probe.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, said on ABC's "This Week" that so far "there's nothing out there indicating it's terrorists."

Investigators are trying to answer these questions: If the two pilots were involved in the disappearance, were they working together or alone, or with one or more of the passengers or crew? Did they fly the plane under duress or of their own will? Did one or more of the passengers manage to break into the cockpit or use the threat of violence to gain entry and then seize the plane? And what possible motive could there be for diverting the jet?

Malaysia's police chief, Khalid Abu Bakar, said he asked countries with citizens on board the plane to investigate their backgrounds, no doubt looking for anyone with terrorism ties, aviation skills or prior contact with the pilots. He said that the intelligence agencies of some countries had already done so and found nothing suspicious, but he was waiting for others to respond.

Police searched the homes of both pilots Saturday, the first time they had done so since the plane vanished, the government said. Asked why it took them so long, Khalid said authorities "didn't see the necessity in the early stages."

Police confiscated the elaborate flight simulator that one of the pilots, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had built in his home and reassembled it in their offices to study it for clues, Khalid said.

Zaharie, 53, who has three grown children and one grandchild, had previously posted photos online of the simulator, which was made with three large computer monitors and other accessories. Earlier this week, the head of Malaysia Airlines said the simulator was not in itself cause for any suspicion.

Malaysian police were also investigating engineers and ground staff who may have had contact with the plane before it took off, Khalid said.

Even though the ACARS system was disabled on Flight 370, it continued to emit faint hourly pulses that were recorded by a satellite. The last "ping" was sent out at 8:11 a.m. — 7 hours and 31 minutes after the plane took off. That placed the jet somewhere in a huge arc as far north as Kazakhstan in Central Asia or far into the southern Indian Ocean.

While many people believe the plane has crashed, there is a small possibility it may have landed somewhere and be relatively intact. Affendi, the air force general, and Hishammuddin, the defense minister, said it was possible for the plane to "ping" when it was on the ground if its electrical systems were up and running.

Australia said it was sending one of its two AP-3C Orion aircraft involved in the search to remote islands in the Indian Ocean at Malaysia's request. The plane will search the north and west of the Cocos Islands, a remote Australian territory with an airstrip about 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) southwest of Indonesia, military chief Gen. David Hurley said.

Whoever disabled the plane's communication systems and then flew the jet must have had a high degree of technical knowledge and flying experience, putting one or both of the pilots high on the list of possible suspects, Malaysian officials and aviation experts said.

(Courtesy, the Associated Press, with writers Ian Mader and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur and Kristen Gelineau in Sydney.)


  1. Lazarus March 17, 2014

    The 3rd……? Mr. Anderson, I don’t think you can have it both ways. When Clay Romero first came out you published his mug shot on your pages dishing him, now you praise him for supporting his family? Or…. do you just feel he is the pick of the litter……..?

  2. Bill Pilgrim March 17, 2014

    re: Empty Ballots… It’s not apathy so much as a deep and abiding cynicism that our current political system is rigged, unresponsive, and rotten to the core. With few rare exceptions politics is viewed by most who would run as a commercial enterprise, a stepladder to influence, wealth, and power, rather than a means of serving ones fellow citizens.
    “…what god, man, or hero shall I place a tin wreath upon?” (Pound)

  3. Jim Updegraff March 17, 2014

    In regard to my letter re Edward Snowden I note I made an error. It reads he was covered by Presidential Policy Directive 19. It should have read he was NOT covered – – -.

    Jim Updegraff ps: To err is human.

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