Conspiracy Chronicles, Lebanon

Ocean Alert: Hunting for Bodies or Treasure?

Conspiracy Chronicles series, no. 6

Is the search-and-rescue ship Ocean Alert hunting for the victims of the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash, or is it prospecting for gold?

So asks this article in al-Akhbar, no doubt prompted by the atmosphere of suspicion that has enveloped the post-crash drama. My sources tell me that everyone has a pet conspiracy theory. Here are some of the more outlandish ones:

(a) The plane was carrying 50 of the richest Lebanese Shiite businessmen and was blown up by some kind of salafist terror group.

(b) The plane was brought down by the Mossad in order to take out a wealthy Hezbollah financier.

(c) The plane was carrying some huge amount of gold, which is now being stolen by professional foreign prospectors on the ocean floor.

We apparently still don’t know the cause of the crash, but hopefully this bout of ridiculous conspiracy theorizing will come to an end soon. For those of you who would like to keep theorizing and are technically-inclined, check out the movement of the ship Ocean Alert during the past few weeks (thanks Toufoul).

Update: For even more conspiracy theories surrounding the crash, see this article in French Slate (thanks Tajaddod Youth).

Update 2: Michael Young joins in.

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9 thoughts on “Ocean Alert: Hunting for Bodies or Treasure?

  1. Of course Michael Young joins in!

    I’m afraid to say conspiracy theories are what we Arabs do best. This was a tragic accident which killed dozens of innocent passengers. Let their souls rest in peace and let us stop imposing our fantasies upon them.

    Posted by Sasa | February 12, 2010, 4:19 pm
  2. It seems this company Ocean Alert got a permission 3 month ago singed by minister Aridy to look for the gold on the fifty’s plain. Future news TV showed a tour of the ship and had a report of its work.
    The disappointing peace of news though was the part where the professional divers of Lebanon were not granted permission to help the army in the pulling of the bodies which could have finished the job much faster for they have the equipment and men power to do so.

    Posted by kt | February 12, 2010, 4:20 pm
  3. The entire episode is a cocktail of mysteries. The chain of events itself is open to all speculations, until an official technical report is published. Put that over a bed of a multitude of circumstances given by the cold war presently at work in the country and surroundings.
    I guess that, in all cases where big insurance money is involved, all parties get at work from the first minute to get the other paying the compensations…If you add that to the secrecy that is supposed to be the natural thing for many of the parties involved –if they are involved that is- , there you have a better than life scenario for a wonderful thriller! Based in Lebanon! With Hezbollah money in it! With gold diggers in the waters “waiting” in the area! Add a missile! Add even the –poor thing- wife of a French Ambassador! Add whatever ingredient you want, the recipe is still on elaboration!
    For my part, the part that interested me from the beginning was the way the unity government would manage the EA crisis. Unless it’s been done in Arabic, I’m still to find a detailed account on it. Nevertheless, the confusing atmosphere surrounding the information about it doesn’t promise a very good verdict. However, I find myself sometimes imagining what the headlines and tv discussions would have been if the government was not one of “unity”…
    So my question goes to Ghassan Karam, who seemed to be the most down to earth from the beginning: I heard the minister of transports, G. Aridi, -looking quite haggard, by the way- having a very long explanation on all initiatives taken by the government, taking personal responsibility on about everything. Was Young’s article, among others, written before that press conference? Why is the Akhbar article still making rounds after Aridi’s explanation? Did I miss the result of that press conference somewhere? Or is the minister’s credibility so low that everybody can pretend he didn’t say anything?

    Posted by mj | February 13, 2010, 4:38 am
  4. …“the professional divers of Lebanon were not granted permission to help the army in the pulling of the bodies which could have finished the job much faster for they have the equipment and men power to do so”(kt#2). Their voices have been heard from the beginning, quite loudly. Who exactly didn’t trust them enough to allow them to go and help? Did Aridi offer any explanation about it? What did the investigative journalists of Al Akhbar –the most daring, so far, in suggesting shocking explanations- find about it?

    Posted by mj | February 13, 2010, 5:11 am
  5. The divers have a union, their leader spoke out to one of the medias and explained that they the divers have contacted the mysteries involved, defiance, interior so on and offered their assistance. They never got back to them even though they were ready with their equipment that he explained how well it is for the 45meter depth because they are fishermen as well and this is their coast they know it. He added that they were asked for help before, including the time bombing of Harrier’s in 2005 when they pulled some SUV from the waters. Any ways the families and relatives of the victims are questioning now it is get even more sad.

    Posted by kt | February 13, 2010, 1:18 pm
  6. I personally don’t believe in all these conspiracy theories, but the way in which the catastrophe was dealt with by the Lebanese authorities leaves much to be desired.It has created a state of confusion that is not easy to dissipate.But then again, what else is working properly in this country?So one should not be too surprised by what’s going on!

    Posted by Georges Melki | February 14, 2010, 2:02 am
  7. OCEAN ALERT and it’s company Deep Sea Explorers : Opportunits Scavangers !

    Look into their history ! In Spain 2007, in Uk, in USA. These people admit they are treasure hunters using high tec. and there’s no shame in that.

    What is a shame is the fact that with the help of another Lebanese opporutnist,(W.N) they came in claiming in public that they are looking for the Ethiopian wreck, when in fact they were 10 clicks away looking for the C-46 sunken airplane (1957) carrying 450 kgs of gold !
    And the poor families wating by the shore everyday for the return of the remains of their loved one !! Shame
    Now the big question : Could this have happened in Lebanon wihtout the knowledge or involvement or coverage of at least one official authority ??
    They tried in 2006 ( Ocean Alert) and were stopped by the Lebanese Navy.
    Someone wanted a piece of the cake for themseleves rather than the treasury of the state.
    Will this be followed up and investigated in furthemore ? ! I hope but personally, knowing a bit about Lebanese hisotry, I doubt it…

    Posted by CAP | February 22, 2010, 1:35 pm
  8. Well it isn’t Ocean Alert only in the Lebanese waters… Another explorer (gold hunter is today there) and that is the well famed ODYSSEY EXPLORER… Check where it went as well…

    Posted by Rokoz | February 25, 2010, 4:14 am
  9. The captain of that ship is an acquaintance of mine; Archie Coulter. He verified that the ship was looking for wreckage. Saying that this verification is late might just be the understatement of the century, but I only saw this story a couple of weeks ago.

    Posted by Khaled Alameddine | June 8, 2015, 10:38 am

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