Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 11, 2020

Iranian Armed Forces Say They Inadvertently Shot Down The Ukrainian Plane - Updated

Updated below

The Iranian Armed Forces General Staff just admitted (in Farsi, English translation) that its air defenses inadvertently shot down the Ukrainian flight PS 752 shortly after it took off on January 8 in Tehran :

2- In early hours after the missile attack [on US’ Ain al-Assad base in Iraq], the military flights of the US’ terrorist forces had increased around the country. The Iranian defence units received news of witnessing flying targets moving towards Iran’s strategic centres, and then several targets were observed in some [Iranian] radars, which incited further sensitivity at the Air Defence units.

3- Under such sensitive and critical circumstances, the Ukrainian airline’s Flight PS752 took off from Imam Khomeini Airport, and when turning around, it approached a sensitive military site of the IRGC, taking the shape and altitude of a hostile target. In such conditions, due to human error and in an unintentional move, the airplane was hit [by the Air Defence], which caused the martyrdom of a number of our compatriots and the deaths of several foreign nationals.

4- The General Staff of the Armed Forces offers condolences and expresses sympathy with the bereaved families of the Iranian and foreign victims, and apologizes for the human error. It also gives full assurances that it will make major revision in the operational procedures of its armed forces in order to make impossible the recurrence of such errors. It will also immediately hand over the culprits to the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces for prosecution.

The Pentagon had claimed that Iran shot down the airliner but the evidence it presented was flimsy and not sufficient as the U.S. tends to spread disinformation about Iran.

It is welcome that the Iranian forces come clean about the incident.

That is not a given in such cases.

After the USS Vincennes in 1988 had shot down Iran Air Flight 655 and killed 290 people, including many children, the U.S. government denied any culpability. George H. W. Bush, the vice president of the United States at the time, commented: "I will never apologize for the United States – I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." Despite its "error" the crew was given medals and the captain was even awarded a Legion of Merit "for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer ...".

We can be assured by the statement of Iran's president that the responsible Iranian officer will receive no such a reward:

Hassan Rouhani @HassanRouhani - 4:43 UTC · 11 Jan 2020
Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people.
Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752

The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.

My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences.

Let us also not forget that the root cause of the accident was an assassination campaign which the U.S. launched against foreign military commanders of a country with which it is not at war:

On the day U.S. forces killed Soleimani, they launched another secret operation targeting a senior Iranian official in Yemen

The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The U.S. executed a long planned campaign against several Iranian officers in third countries without any reasonable justification:

“There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qasem Soleimani,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Friday. “We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper have likewise supported the case for an imminent plot.

“Did it exactly say who, what, when, where? No,” Milley told reporters this week. “But he was planning, coordinating and synchronizing significant combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region, and it was imminent.”

Can there be any "imminent threat" when one does not know the "who, what, when, where" of the threat? Why would killing a high officer prevent the execution of such a threat? The excuse is obviously bullshit.

It was the U.S. assassination of the Iraqi and Iranian national heroes Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and Major General Qassem Suleimani that led to the high alarm and nervousness which, in the end, killed 176 passengers and crew on board of flight PS 752.

Iran's foreign minister is right to point that out:

Javad Zarif @JZarif - 4:05 UTC · 11 Jan 2020
A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces:

Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster

Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.

The death of the people on flight PS 752 is the tragic outcome of unreasonable U.S. aggression.

Update 11:00 UTC

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp IRGC's Aerospace Commander Amir-Ali Hajizadeh just gave press conference. It was an IRGC air defense unit that shot the plane down.

Iran Front Page journalist Reza Khaasteh translated on Twitter:

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I wish I was dead and such an incident hadn't happened. We in IRGC accept all the responsibility, and are ready to implement any decision made by the Establishment.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I was in the country's west following attacks on US base in Iraq when I heard the news. We sacrificed our lives for our people for a lifetime, and now we're trading our reputation with God (disgracing ourselves) and appear in front of the camera to explain.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr says we had requested the establishment of a no-fly zone given the war situation. But it was not approved for certain considerations.

Revision: IRGC Aerospace Cmdr says Air Defence operator sent a message to his commanders; but after he didn't receive any response for 10 seconds, he decided to shoot it down.

Video of IRGC Aerospace Cmdr. showing the place on map where the Ukrainian plane was shot down by the air defence.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I informed Iranian officials on Wednesday morning, and said we speculate our own passenger plane has been shot down. But the General Staff of Armed Forces quarantined all those who knew about it, and decided to declare it later.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: The officials, including Aviation authorities, who kept denying the missile hit, are not guilty. They made those remarks based on what they knew. We are to blame for everything.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: We were at that time ready for an all-out war with US. We had reports of cruise missiles fired at Iran. It was an individual's error that caused this tragedy.

What I find inexplicable is that the crew of Tor M-1 air defense system did not really consider that the Tehran airport was operating and that civil traffic was likely. More than ten planes had already taken off before the Ukrainian flight took to the air. The accident happened shortly after 6:00 am local time. Pure speculation: I suspect that a crew change had happened at 6:00 am and that the overnight crew did not really brief the one taking over.

Another leak (ukr) from the Ukrainian side of the investigation gives some hints on how the plane came down (machine translation):

"We took up the restoration of fragments of the aircraft. It was necessary to determine how these pieces of metal dumped into a huge pile should be interconnected.

The intrigue remained until late. The fact is that there were no damages on most parts of the aircraft. There was no explosion and no fire in the engines or on the wings. It is possible that the plane could fall almost intact. Unlike the remains of the Boeing MN-17, there were no immediately visible signs of defeat by combat elements on the fuselage and wings. A lot of damage to the case is the result of a fall. But after laying out all the fragments of the aircraft, it became obvious that the bottom of the cockpit was missing.

Among the wreckage, fragments of the upper part of the cabin were identified. And then the find finally took place - at about 22 hours. On a fragment of the cockpit, we found holes in the damaging elements of the warhead of the rocket, which pierced the skin. We found! For the first time, direct evidence appeared in this case, which made it possible to prove what caused the death of the aircraft. For us it was a turning point.

So what we now understand:

Russian anti-aircraft missile "Tor" hit the liner in the lower part of the front of the fuselage, directly under the cockpit.

A direct hit and the cabin flared up inside. Instantly turned off the transponder of the aircraft, which gives signals about the flight. Instantly lost contact.

While there is no data, one or two missiles have caused such damage. It is possible that the second missile also hit the fuselage from below close to the first. But all this remains to be clarified.

We continue to lay out fragments of the aircraft until the complete collection of all surviving parts.

We expect that today we will gain access to all objective control data.

In cooperation with Iranian colleagues, we get the impression that those who contact us sincerely want to help themselves and figure it out, in general, there are no problems. Let's hope that such a mood and working contacts remain with us now."

Posted by b on January 11, 2020 at 4:21 UTC | Permalink

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Some more info from Sputniknews

"Iranian Air Defence System Operator Had Faulty Communication, Made Bad Decision With 10 Seconds to Make Up His Mind - Iranian Military"

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 11 2020 11:40 utc | 101

Russ @ 44
"the kind of screw-up more usually associated with the US or Boeing themselves."

Rather the kind of screw-up usually associated with any large organization.

Posted by: joe | Jan 11 2020 11:40 utc | 102

From the Ukrainian part of the update "There was no explosion and no fire in the engines or on the wings."

So who were all these witnesses. NYT quickly obtained video and other video circulated on social media. Even the 'witnesses' had their narrative in place.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 11:42 utc | 103

It is possible the fire was in the fuselage of the plane, coming from the center fuel tank after the missile hit

Posted by: Yetanotheranon | Jan 11 2020 11:46 utc | 104

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 11:42 utc | 103

That New York Times video had people asking why a smoking guy was pointing his phone at a dark sky when for a long time nothing happened. It is the only video presumed to show the hit itself. I suspect it was doctored after the fact when they had the satellite information. Otherwise it would be a lot of preknowledge.

There is no use putting too much conspiracy into it - a war game turned very bad as war is no game. The outcome is that the US and Iran have shown their capabilities to hurt each other.

Apart from that I am beginning to understand the wisdom of having a spiritual guide as head of state.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 11:51 utc | 105


You are probably right. I was looking up some of the earlier reports in Tasnim and run onto this by the head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran.
"“The aircraft was flying for more than one and a half minutes after it caught fire,” he said, adding that the crash location shows that the pilot had decided to return to the airport."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 11:57 utc | 106

To let the civilians planes to flight while expecting they could have an US retaliation is a big mistake, because, as the Israeli did in the shooting-down of the IL-20 in Syria, the US plane could choose to be "radar-shadowed" by the civilians planes and use the civilians planes as shields before bomb the Iranian targets

Posted by: David | Jan 11 2020 11:58 utc | 107

Its a relief that we got past that B/S.
Give Iran some credit for difficult admission.

Also, excellent posting at Z/H with some good commentary - brought out the intelligent ones:

Posted by: jared | Jan 11 2020 12:02 utc | 108

Why does the sharp, unexpected right turn not show up on the flight radar path if the plane had not been hit with a missile yet? Was the transponder off?

Posted by: Boo | Jan 11 2020 12:03 utc | 109

Too many moving pieces. Too many red flags.

Ten civilian flights? How could you even find that many who want to get on a plane as war is commencing? All the pilots. all the flight crews, all the air controllers are happy with this? How would you even find a full planeload who want to get on a Ukrainian flag carrier? And red flag for Ukraine, red flag for Canada, red flag for 737. If posters here guessed wrong boy was the deck stacked on this one. Simply on the basis of never believing what we are told and the huge pile of red flags, doubt continues.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 11 2020 12:04 utc | 110

I should point out that reality is drifting more and more into caricature . In this case Iran is taking on the side of the decent good guys while the western side is the cartoonish stupid villain. The evil empire. of this is because our propaganda arm can't keep up. Evil empires in movies always have atrociously incompetent PR branches.

Posted by: tuyzentfloot | Jan 11 2020 12:04 utc | 111

Brilliantly expressed article.
Thanks B - you speak for all of us.
'Friendly fire'.
Just another Middle East tragedy -- remember 170, and many more people, are dying every day as a direct result ofthe USA illegal occupation and slaughter.
Compared to Falluja and Raqqa - well you can't compare.
The comments are also mostly excellent aand certainly speak for me.
But it is certainly exposing some and showing their real allegiances.
Unlike Mark 4, I suggest Iran has taken the high moral ground.
Admitting it and holding the unfortunate defense crew to account.
But the real culprit is the USA and its warmongering.
They must leave the Middle East one way or another.

Posted by: Emily | Jan 11 2020 12:06 utc | 112

Lots of trolls and lots of empty opinions here today. Sometimes comments turn out like that - cognitively empty & righteous.

What do we really know:
1) Iran was under attack by the biggest criminal on the planet - JUSA
2) Iran did not close its airspace to civilian air traffic whilst under possible/probable military attack - CATASTROPHIC MISTAKE especially in the light of the Israeli well known habit of hiding in the radar shadows of civilian planes (when attacking Syria for example),
3) Iran decentralised its air-defense in expectation of an attack - SECONDARY MISTAKE
4) Iran admitted to its responsibility and error even at a preliminary stage of the investigation (unlike those who never admit to any of their war crimes and/or drag investigations until everyone forgets about the crime).

Everything else commented here is either trollish BS or jumping to conclusions.

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 12:07 utc | 113

Since I had so much fun with idle speculation before on this subject, I will now go back to my very first guess: Perhaps the plane was loaded with Five Eyes assets being evacuated from Tehran due to their "reduced operational effectiveness" that resulted from the assassination. Maybe the shoot-down thus wasn't an accident, and this confession is just Iran offering up an insincere "Oops! My bad!" to close the lid on those spooks' coffins.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 11 2020 12:07 utc | 114

"Russian anti-aircraft missile "Tor" hit the liner in the lower part of the front of the fuselage, directly under the cockpit.

A direct hit and the cabin flared up inside. Instantly turned off the transponder of the aircraft, which gives signals about the flight. Instantly lost contact.

While there is no data, one or two missiles have caused such damage. It is possible that the second missile also hit the fuselage from below close to the first. But all this remains to be clarified."

If this is the case, it is doubtful the pilots and perhaps the cockpit controls would have been in any condition to turn the aircraft after the first hit.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 12:10 utc | 115

This is one good reason to make certain Iran does not get nuclear weapons.

Russia and China absolutely are working to keep Iran from getting nukes. And those are Iran's closest "allies", who are risking sanctions to help Iran survive the maximum pressure hybrid war.

Time to get real about Iran.

The regime should have let the Russians sell them the S-400, and let the Russians build an integrated defense system with communications for all units. It might have prevented such a tragedy. But the regime is full of pride and wants its weapons to be built by Iran. Thus, tragedy has befallen Iran. Needlessly.

They need to come up with a diplomatic, negotiating strategy (like listen to Putin) and change the present terms of engagement. The US will crush them economically otherwise. Trump doesn't have to fire a shot. Iran is stumbling backward, not just on a back foot.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 11 2020 12:16 utc | 116

Posted by: tuyzentfloot | Jan 11 2020 12:04 utc | 111

Good and evil is not reality, it is perception. Only good guys go to war, bad guys go hide somewhere.

Posted by: David | Jan 11 2020 11:58 utc | 107

Sure but how could the US threaten to retaliate without warning civilian flights off? They did it within the jurisdiction of the US.

he US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would ban US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia after Iran launched a missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq.

Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition personnel, the US military said on Tuesday.

The FAA said it issued the airspace ban “due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations”.

Several non-US airlines had flights over parts of Iraq and Iran at the time, according to FlightRadar24 data. They are not directly affected by the FAA ban, but foreign carriers and their national regulators typically consider US advice carefully when deciding where to fly.

Or, as this is not really the duty of US authorities, why did Ukrainian airlines and others decide to fly nevertheless?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 12:17 utc | 117

Immediately after I knew of the Urkainian airliner accident, as i was following the news at the minute ( only three hours of sleep that day/night...), I thought why in the Earth the air space was not closed in the verge of an imminent strike.

Thus, apart from the IRGC, and on their discharge for the honest recognition, but wrong admission of full responsability, the responsability falls, besides, on the Iranian authoritiy responsible for denying the close up of the air space for civilian aircrafts. Who this authority would be in the case of Iran?

On more discharge of the IRGC, and in prevision of full schadenfreude and taking of advantage by the US, that the civilioan airliners can be turned into war weapon got demosntrated after the 9/11 event in the US. It is preciselly because of this blurred event that from then on civilian airliners should not be in the air while an air military operation is about to start.

On moral grounds claimed by both, Ukraine and Canada, they should claim for the fair compensations, accept the apologies from Iran, and shut up, since both countries are main responsible and participants for far more human casualties for the carnage, in this case totally voluntary and pre-planned, which took place during and after the Maidan nazi coup d ´etat, including the shot down of a civilian airliner, the snippers´s massacre in Kiev and the burning of the anti-Maidan activists in the Odessa House of Unions, plus the target assasination of all the Donbass militias´commanders, along with beating, looting, raping and killing by shelling of high scores of numbers of Donbass civilians.

Canada is also culprit of illegaly hijacking a high executive of Chineses IT giant Huawei on the orders of the US on the gorunds of economic war on China. Thus, that guy running right now Canada should shut up asap.

On the trolls here claiming that Iran lose its moral grounds now because of this, no way men, they remain up high, since no other country in the world today would have claimed responsability, the least the US where all these shills come from to post here. Not tov mention that the origin of these events is in the initial false flag on the Kirkuk base as alibi for the US strike on PMU and Iraqi military base, plus the strike to target PMU and IRGC Commaders, Al-Muhandes and Soleimani.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 11 2020 12:21 utc | 118

just having any sort of decency in a countries leadership is something a person can be proud of and Iranians have that.

I don't have a radio or TV but I do a bit of work for a mate who always has the radio going in the shed. The other day, I was tinkering in the shed and the five eyes narrative was repeated ad nauseum through the day. It reminded me very much of MH17.

Wouldn't it be something to have a leadership worthy of respect.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 12:21 utc | 119

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 11 2020 12:07 utc | 114

Hmmm, good thought. But to be believable it needs some actual facts to back it up.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 11 2020 12:21 utc | 120

Red Ryder

Good reason? It is the other way, if they Iran nuclear weapons, Trump would never had attacked them like this. And these attacks will go on now.

Iran was refused to even get the S-300 for years by Russia. Iran has not refused to buy S-400 they have not even been offered.

Diplomatic strategy? It doesnt matter what Iran do or say. Havent 50-60 years of american meddling in Iran proved that you?

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 11 2020 12:21 utc | 121

Did someone send false signals to the Iranians?

Posted by: ChasMARK | Jan 11 2020 12:26 utc | 122

Bevin 30
An outstanding comment.
I think you speak for most of us.
Thank you = sincerely.

Posted by: Emily | Jan 11 2020 12:38 utc | 123

Red Ryder 116

Do you mean to say no nuclear armed state has made a mistake, That no nuclear armed state has a friendly fire incident, than nuclear armed state hits civilians. Shit happens in the fog of war and US is thousands of miles from home. If Iran had nuclear weapons the yanks may well be staying at home rather than circling Iran and barking like mad dogs.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 12:40 utc | 124

The Daily Mail says right in the first paragraph that the communications were jammed, so let us look beyond the flight patterns to electronic warfare. Daily Mail link

Posted by: Jonathan W | Jan 11 2020 12:43 utc | 125

Posted by: ChasMARK | Jan 11 2020 12:26 utc | 122

Of course they did. But Iranians should have seen that coming.

Some people still think they can continue with this stupidity - like Jerusalem Post on the tit for tat "Kindergarten" strategy.

What they are doing is "showing capabilities" and testing weapons systems. They had a "game" of conventional war justified by "not killing anybody". Well they did. Both parties. Real all out conventional war is impossible without mass casualties on all sides. And all out unconventional/assymetric war just draws out the misery.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 12:21 utc | 119

I was talking about the ability to be sad and apologize. I prefer not to have a religious authority dictating my private life.

5 eye propaganda is vile. Other people's propaganda is not much better. No one sane trusts their government.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 12:46 utc | 126

Norwegian @120

Sadly, no facts. Perhaps if we had full bios on the passengers we could tally up how many had done undergrad studies at George Washington University, but spooks usually have fictional biographies so I am not sure how much help that would be.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 11 2020 12:49 utc | 127

Some points to consider:

Iran didn't cancel flights because they most likely had an agreement with the ZioAmericans allowing them to attack the US bases, and were told there would be no retaliation..

Don't commercial aircraft have radar identification beacons on them ?

Why was Zelensky ( Pres. of the Ukraine ) being so reasonable and calm about the whole situation, telling everyone not to jump to conclusions, when his handlers ( zioamerica ) were crying shoot down almost from the beginning.

What was the reason for the plane's hour long delay at the airport ?

Posted by: Fog of War | Jan 11 2020 13:02 utc | 128

Red Ryder #116

Iran has no need of nuclear weapons. ICYMI on Wednesday it proved it has the capability to destroy US military assets in the region with great accuracy (incl. Al Udeid) as well as the critical infrastructure of US Gulfie allies. As MoA has been saying for months (years?) it is Iran which exerts the "maximum pressure".

Now that the US has declared its second occupation of Iraq (see b's previous piece) the US will soon be in a position (again) of fighting a major insurgency in Iraq. Trump's ratings will plummet as the coffins start arriving home. That should fix the sanctions issue pretty fast.

Recommended reading:

Posted by: Soleiman's Ghost | Jan 11 2020 13:09 utc | 129

Posted by: Fog of War | Jan 11 2020 13:02 utc | 128

Zelensky is out of the US orbit as his sponsor Kholomojsky seems to have decided that his business interests are with Russia - but apart from that, Zelensky is a Russian speaker, with a Jewish background, and not part of the Western Ukraine Bandera proto-fascists.

Don't commercial aircraft have radar identification beacons on them ?

If your system is not compromised and can read it.

The Boeing was hit by a Tor system, related to the BUK of MH17 fame. There were a lot of flights over Teheran airport at the time. Can anyone find out if the Ukraine Airlines flight was the only Boeing and is the hack specific to Boeing?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 13:15 utc | 130

It is sad that the real victims of this escalation so far has been 176 souls that have nothing to do with this affair. As Iran has already notified the Swiss embassy prior to attack on American bases, it is curious why Iran did not close its airspace and ground flights following the attack. I personally put the blame on USA for its disproportionate responses in the entire affair as it created the conditions that lead to this horrible accident, but Iran could have been more careful by considering that human factors can prove catastrophic under tense circumstances.

It is also wise that Iran accepts the guilt and apologizes. I am sure that they will do more.

Posted by: Innocent Civilian | Jan 11 2020 13:16 utc | 131

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: The officials, including Aviation authorities, who kept denying the missile hit, are not guilty. They made those remarks based on what they knew. We are to blame for everything.

Well well - there's always the human factor. As the saying goes: there's no fool-proof plan.

Days of investigative speculation undone by (probably) a small bureaucratic error which resulted in a lack of communication.

The IRGC must learn this: modern warfare is not fought with bravery, but with cold-blooded rationality. We're not in ancient warfare anymore: this is industrial warfare, waged with machines which kill humans (and destroy other machines) in a mass scale with maximum efficiency, operated by mathematical calculations at superhuman speeds. This is the era of the nerds, not of the macho men.

So, before indoctrinating its soldiers with random religious texts and tales of martyrdom, the IRGC better teach them to fill a fucking log and keep their nerves in place first. And welcome to the 21st Century.

Posted by: vk | Jan 11 2020 13:17 utc | 132

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 13:15 utc | 129

add: Is Boeings Friend or Foe System different from other Airlines? Or does commercial Boeing simply look a lot like military Boeing?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 13:18 utc | 133

1/2 According to reports, SIX of these people were NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS.
Visiting IRAN.
At the same time.
on the same plane.
What are the chances that it's coincidence?

Posted by: dave | Jan 11 2020 13:22 utc | 134

Assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists

Posted by: dave | Jan 11 2020 13:22 utc | 135

There is only so much human error can explain. If the missile in the famous video is what caused the crash, note that it was flying EAST. The jamming incident explains a lot. Several outbound civilian flights had taken off in the late afternoon following the same flight pattern, so WHY at that time? Also, why does Trump not want to share the intel, saying people have no right to see it?

Posted by: Jonathan W | Jan 11 2020 13:28 utc | 136

Anyone have a full list of the people killed in the crash? Was it 176 people? I havent found a list detailing 176 people. Or is it that the crew members is not included in the lists?

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 11 2020 13:31 utc | 137

@ Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 13:18 utc | 132

Pains me to keep the gossip going, but is an interesting consideration.

Didnt they say the commercial Iranian flight that US shot down some years back also transmitted misleading signals?

Anyway as hypothetical is worth consideration. Plane could be hacked to induce shoot down.

My sympathies to families of those.

Posted by: jared | Jan 11 2020 13:37 utc | 138

129 "Can anyone find out if the Ukraine Airlines flight was the only Boeing and is the hack specific to Boeing?"

One Embraer, seven Airbus, two Boeing.

The other Boeing took off headed for Hong Kong only seconds before the Ukraine flight. Looks to be the green flight path that turns back east southeast shortly after takeoff.
The Ukraine flight was the only Boeing that took the northern flight path.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 13:40 utc | 139

@Posted by: CognitiveDissonance | Jan 11 2020 5:25 utc | 15

Saying Soleimani was a hero for fighting ISIS is just like saying Hitler was a hero for fighting Stalin.

One would think that what you wanted to mean is the opposite. that "is just like saying Stalin was a hero for fighting Hitler", otherwise has no sense, unless yo uwrtie from Pompeo´s trolls´HQ.....that you highly likely do...

Stalin, with all its faults, was indeed a hero for fighting Hitler and the whole "Coalition of the Willing" behind him, juts those currently harassing Iran, against USSR and the whole socialist world.

Soleimani was a Commander of a country´s military in war over mutiple fronts. Yes, he was in the side of good and God.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 11 2020 13:41 utc | 140

Lots of idiots here. Be glad they accepted responsibility within a reasonable time frame. This is what happens in a WAR. Who drove the Iranians to this point? They certainly have my respect, unlike those cowboys.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 11 2020 13:46 utc | 141

Jan @ 40
"Or could Iran have been enticed to make a false admission to protect Boeing's reputation and/or the Ukraine airline's reputation. Perhaps a carrot of lesser severity in the new sanctions?"

This doesn't seem to comport with what we know/have been told about how the Iranian govt and religious leadership works.

Still it does seems an extraordinary lack of common sense that commercial civilian flights were allowed to fly around under conditions of such high tension in the country. Also night take-offs. Better to wait until morning . . .

I am so, so saddened to hear of the cause of this terrible incident, and I do blame it on the USA, which started this provocation of Iraq-Iran.

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 11 2020 13:46 utc | 142

Staying in the domain of facts rather than speculation and having worked on the design of air defence systems, I can add a tidbit of info. TOR system can be in a configuration without a surveillance radar, with only a tracking radar. Then when not integrated into a wide area system with centralised control, the crew of such system cannot track aircraft, they can only detect aircraft. Detecting an approaching aircraft/target, tracking it from the moment of detection and not really knowing where it originated from is probably why the crew had to make a faithful decision in a very short time.

Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) looks great in theory but has many drawbacks (relatively easy spoofing) therefore is generally not relied upon, especially not by the second grade EW countries. I remind everybody how, during 1st Gulf War, US air defence in Kuwait shot down (at least) one British bomber (killed pilot);returning from a mission in Iraq. That much for IFF even within first EW grade countries of NATO.

Stand-alone air defence units (not integrated) in a very complex air space environment (with civilian air traffic in the air, possible drones, cruise missiles, low observability military planes, etc etc) are a definite recipe for disaster. Trying to avoid the cost of air traffic disruption (or loss of overflight fees) despite high risk of an even bigger cost happened in Ukraine already (MH17) and Iran did not learn from it. (It does not matter who shot down MH17 Ukraine is responsible). Whoever did not close down the civilian air traffic after shooting missiles at US targets is really responsible for this tragedy, slightly more than JUSA. But governments never learn because their power protects them from the need to learn.

General note to self: never fly Boeing and stay away from flights which approach any of the war zones that JUSA regularly creates.

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 13:47 utc | 143

On the reported taking advantage by Germany to target Iran as terrorist state and ask for more sanctions, we must recall Gemrnay´s responsability along with the US, Canada and current Ukrainian regime, for the terrorist events which gave place to the nazi coup d´etat in the Ukraine, amongst them, the Maidan Snippers event, but not only, also those enumerated by me in another comment above.

Also we must add Germany´s responsability in the war information which gave place to the jsutification of the destruction of former Yugoslavia as a way of getting rid of an European superpower inclined to the Est which could oppose current German hegemony in Europe, which, being Germany an Us occupied country, only means US hegemony over Europe.

Go preparing for the "renaissance" of the IV Reich and its evolution, and not only in hairdos....

Germany, along with UK, is responsible for all the evil has happened in Europe since the falling of the Spanish Empire. GLADIO and many other operations come to mind.

Thus, better shut up when labelling others as terrorists...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 11 2020 13:52 utc | 144

Time to remind the pro-US/Zionist trolls here that, as war criminal GHW Bush was quoted, the US will never admit it is wrong, let alone trying to fulfill stupid ancient texts for their sheeple Zionist Jew and right-wing Christian voters and political funders (think Rothschild, Adelson). The End of Days may not become reality, but a Yinon Plan/AIPAC, Greater Israel is all too likely a prospect. All because Lord Balfour didn't have the balls to tell Lord Rothschild to go pound salt, and the US was too stupid to avoid taking up the Zionist cause after WW2.

The US has SO MUCH more to apologize for, like LIES about WMD's, Syria gas attacks, Kuwaiti babies thrown from incubators, South American death squads, reaching back beyond "Remember the Maine".

So the US/ZATO needs to take the hundreds of logs out of their own eye before endlessly demanding Iran take the sliver from their eye.

The US is run by lying, hypocritical psychopaths, from the Oval Office down through Congress, to the bowels of the NSA/FBI/CIA/Mossad and the Pentagon.

Posted by: A P | Jan 11 2020 13:59 utc | 145

. The greatest irony of it all:
-- That the US almost never compensate the families or counties hit by 'mistakes' or killed as 'collateral damage'.
-- That the Iran authorities and judicial system make some compensation obligatory.
-- That Iran has been cut off from the means to aquire US dollars or Euro and have been cut off from all international payment systems: Any compensation would have to be paid in Iranian reals and used within Iran.
. Good for future tourism by airplane travel to Tehran?

Posted by: Oū Sī / 區司/ Usman | Jan 11 2020 14:00 utc | 146

Saying Soleimani was a hero for fighting ISIS is just like saying Hitler was a hero for fighting Stalin.

The only world player that has been unselfishly good in recent memory is Cuba by sending its doctors throughout and Venezuela under Chavez sending oil to poor people including those in the US.

Posted by: CognitiveDissonance | Jan 11 2020 5:25 utc | 15


One can make any classifications of "good, but not unselfishly", "kind of good" and so on, but this is a pernicious type of whataboutery. Basically, we should find reasons to be obedient subjects of the Empire, yes, the Empire is not good but almost no one is much better, so find better deals for seeds for our little garden, focus on that, convince others not to do anything either.

To understand the Empire, one has to read stories about school bullying. A charismatic kid accumulates a circle of friends and a victim. The victim is harassed, his/her stuff damaged, and a creative combination of verbal humiliation, physical humiliations and outright assaults keeps the circle amused. If anyone defends the chosen victim, the efforts redouble against that person, so the majority is either actively sycophantic (bravo, Mr. Johnson, bravo, Mr. Trudeau!) or sullen. But not too sullen (OK job, Madam Merkel, we will punish you only mildly). That can raise the wrath of the dominant clique too.

It is often the case that the victim is "not perfect". And the removal of the top bully does not have to change the school into paradise. But doing nothing is a coward option, however "sensible". It is also stupid, nobody can deliver paradise, but avoiding hell is totally possible, so why we should be content with hell?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 11 2020 14:03 utc | 147

Or, as this is not really the duty of US authorities, why did Ukrainian airlines and others decide to fly nevertheless?

@Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 12:17 utc | 117

UIA is by far the worst airliner I have ever travelled in. I used this airliner for travelling to Armenia, even when trying to avoid it at all costs by the bad critic reports on it, but not offered other alternative for that date by my tour operator.

All in all, the pilot was one of the best I have travelled with....I must admit....

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 11 2020 14:05 utc | 148

BTW, "Hitler as a hero for fighting Stalin" is not a fanciful example of what people can say, there are people busy raising monuments, commemorative ceremonies etc. for heroes fighting Stalin as comrades in arms of Hitler, and these people are precious allies of the Empire.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 11 2020 14:08 utc | 149

@ Posted by: CognitiveDissonance | Jan 11 2020 5:25 utc | 15

Evidence available strongly indicates Soleimani was indeed extremely popular in Iran.

It is probable the USA expected brand new and stronger anti-government manifestation in the streets of Tehran after he was murdered. Pompeo claimed right after - in cheerful tone - that "Iran is nearer regime change after Soleimani's assassination".

Given Pompeo's curriculum, it was probable that the CIA had the wrong conjunctural assessment of Iran. They expected that a "silent majority" would revive the riots of some months ago, leaving the theocracy one step closer to collapse. Unless there was indeed serious consideration about using "tactical" nukes, that's the only rational explanation for Soleimani's murder.

His hopes of regime change were quickly dashed by the millions who showed up in the streets of Tehran for his funeral. He was indeed very popular, the official propaganda was true: Soleimani's reputation really preceeded him.

Right after the funeral day, Trump quickly sought contact with the Ayatollah to negotiate a scale down. Rumor says he even agreed with a "proportional" retaliation against an American target. And then the Iraqi parliament debacle happened, which put the USA in a very embarassing situation.

In the greater scheme of things, this accidental downing of a commercial plane was a very small price to pay. It's one of those once in a blue moon incidents where the imponderable overcame what 99.99% of the then available evidence indicated. It doesn't change the morality of the conflict: the USA still has to get out of Iraq, and Iran's cause (regardless of its theocratic regime) is still just. Or do you expect a prosperous Iran to rise from an hypothetic American occupation of the country?

The days of the Marshall Plan are still over. The USA can't nation build anymore - it simply doesn't have the resources (as it had in 1946).

Posted by: vk | Jan 11 2020 14:09 utc | 150

It would be very optimistic to assume that JUSA would just gloat at this accident and milk it for its maximum propaganda value. Unfortunately, it is likely that the leading shitbags of the World will not fail to use the shell shock state of the Iranian air defense to bomb soon for the benefit of lower losses due to Iranian FUD. I can only hope that the Iranian air defense will recover it’s mental state quickly or the loss of life will be much much bigger than one plane load. Soleimani was a nasty military character, but his style of organisational skills is sorely needed for a quick reorganisation of the Iranian air defence under clear and present danger.

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 14:11 utc | 151

143 "Stand-alone air defence units (not integrated) in a very complex air space environment (with civilian air traffic in the air, possible drones, cruise missiles, low observability military planes, etc etc) are a definite recipe for disaster."

From my understanding, all Russian and perhaps previous to that society defence systems are made to be able to operate as stand alone units incase the network goes down. This appears to be what happened in Iran Whoever was commanding that unit, with coms down had make a decision with no input from the wider defence network.
US, five eyes and mossad are very good at covering their tracks at times, but modus operandi and narrative give them away.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 14:20 utc | 153

The obvious result of several generations of recruiting/hiring military and/or military technicians for loyalty and obedience instead of intelligence. It is lucky for everyone that they found that out now, before nuclear weapons were available.

Besides, most of the passengers were traitors or students tainted by Western education. They were enemies of the Bearded Ladies, so I expect that the sorrow was for the media. Murder of the undesirables (Persian Deplorables) was "Mani's" approach to politics in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. So this is a fitting memorial.

President Trump's words about "cultural sites" was just a hint that we know where the Bearded Ladies planned to hide. HellFire awaits. [NB: Hamas (Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza) has their headquarters in the sub-basement of the only functioning hospital in Gaza. Hiding among the innocent is a separate chapter in the in the Arabic (Official) version of the Koran.].

Posted by: Mike-SMO | Jan 11 2020 14:23 utc | 154

You can always blame the airport for not shutting down the traffic but that is usually easier to say after the fact. Of course, you could shut down all air traffic across the globe as a precautionary measure. It is convenient to speculate retrospectively that - after the Iranian strike in Iraq - Tehran should have shut down its airport ( which it had except for a few flights). This is where the theory of Iranian misinformation boomerangs: even if the state media had shown the Iranian strikes in Iraq on TV, what reason did anyone have to believe it? Farsnews reported that 80 American soldiers died in those strikes but now the US says that was not true either. So what reason had anyone to believe anything. This is not comparable to the crash in Ukraine at all. There the plane was flying above the warzone, here the distance between Tehran and Iraq was about 800 km. Of course, it would be convenient for the US to command every airport in Iran to shut down....

Posted by: Jonathan W | Jan 11 2020 14:26 utc | 155

"Now, nearly a year later, Santamarta claims that leaked code has led him to something unprecedented: security flaws in one of the 787 Dreamliner's components, deep in the plane's multi-tiered network. He suggests that for a hacker, exploiting those bugs could represent one step in a multi­stage attack that starts in the plane’s in-flight entertainment system and extends to highly protected, safety-critical systems like flight controls and sensors."

" An attacker could potentially pivot, Santamarta says, from the in-flight entertainment system to the CIS/MS to send commands to far more sensitive components that control the plane's safety-critical systems, including its engine, brakes, and sensors. Boeing maintains that other security barriers in the 787's network architecture would make that progression impossible."

What Boeing is saying here is admitting the plane can be taken over from the ground, or at least many things disrupted, but their security is that good nobody can break into it. I believe most Boeing aircraft send automated data back to Boeing (maintenance, faults and so forth) which may mean Boeing always has an open line into the aircraft. Boeing being part of US MIC.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 14:31 utc | 156

Well Peter 153, you are right about the ability to operate stand-alone. But such is a fall-back tactic, not a to begin with tactic. When comms and the operations centre are destroyed no civilian aircraft are supposed to remain in the air. I did not read that all Iranian comms were down. I also did not read a statement that their radars were jammed. BTW, I have experienced radar and comms jamming by a US aircraft carrier and despite being targeted at military frequencies, it is disruptive to all civilian comms and civilian aircraft as well. Therefore, this plane would not have been flying under radio and radar jamming conditions.

I can only repeat the two obvious root causes: you expect a military retaliation but do not close down civilian air traffic and you scatter your air defense units unconnected to a centre (which essentially leaves considerable destructive power in the hands of below average brains connected to twitchy fingers at least somewhere in such scatter - imagine the statistical risk level).

Never assume that this could never happen in your country. Only countries without governments are safe. The only difference is whether the government admits or not, TWA800 anyone?

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 14:49 utc | 157

I can sit at home with my laptop and monitor almost all commercial air traffic in my area with an antenna, ABS software, and a RTL SDR donegal. It is not that difficult and the internet is not needed as long as the aircraft withing withing range of the antenna. They transmit in 1.090 gigahertz. RTL-SDR Tutorial: Cheap ADS-B Aircraft RADAR

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: We were at that time ready for an all-out war with US. We had reports of cruise missiles fired at Iran. It was an individual's error that caused this tragedy.

Certainly they were on high alert and it could have been an individual error combined with a system malfunction, the aircraft straying out of its commercial lane or any confluence of events.

Something may be lurking beneath the surface. The media jumped on and pushed the story hard and that always leaves me suspicious. The borg was correct and knew what happened immediately and reported it truthfully. An even stranger event.

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 11 2020 14:50 utc | 158

@Posted by: Sasha | Jan 11 2020 14:05 utc | 148

To add....I tried hard to change my connection to Moscow, but no way, just imagine what my mood was on travelling by Kiev connection on a flag airline of a now nazi state being myself a real left, pro-Russian activist...

While in the long queue to check in and baggage dropp in, I dedicated myself to, out of curiosity, observe my Ukrainian flight companions, and must say they all seemed to me, by their face´s expression, peaceful and patient stance, innocent people totally misdirected by a bunch of oligarchic and foreign interests, mainly residing in North America...

One would say they mostly seemed and innocent crowd who then provided a quite peaceful flight and connection, i must adit also quite effectiveness by the Kiev airport personel related to timely departure and baggage organization...

On harsh contrast, I suffered a quite disturbing incident protagonized by some Iranians coming from the US in a flight to Teheran....I had been the first to place my handbaggage in the compartment up my sit, when some US diaspora Iranian women( clearly way over-empoverished by the US life style even for an European like me.. ) arrived, dropped my baggage out the compartiment so as to place theirs, leaving mine on the floor, without leaving any place left for it in the compartment, which obly me to put it further from I was sat, something I usually try to avoid as long as possible by sometimes standing up in the line to boarding while others remain sat. I complained in English ( which they clearly understood...) adding Spanish temperament, to no avail, such was their stuborness to prevail...

Then, during the flight, they kept talking to me as if nothing unpolite had happened, including the one sat by my side....I got to the conclusion that they had been obviously brutalized by living in the US, since the attittude of Iranians in Iran during all my travel was astonishingly polite and hospitable....

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 11 2020 14:56 utc | 159


A little bit of factual history for you to learn the facts of the situation.

"Russia has signed a contract to supply Iran with sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

The contract got the go-ahead after international sanctions on Iran were lifted earlier this year, following a deal over its nuclear programme.

Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia are all opposed to the missile contract.

Russian officials say the first batch could be delivered 18 months after Iran has specified the S-300 type that it wants. Technical talks are continuing.

"The deal to supply the S-300 to Iran has not only been signed between the parties but it has already come into force," said Sergei Chemezov, head of Russia's Rostec arms firm, speaking at the Dubai Airshow-2015.

The $800m (£545m) contract, signed in 2007, was frozen by Russia in 2010 because of the international sanctions. President Vladimir Putin unfroze it in April.

Israel and the US fear the missiles could be used to protect Iranian nuclear sites from air strikes.

The missiles can shoot down jets and other missiles hundreds of kilometres away
The S-300 can be used against multiple targets including jets, or to shoot down other missiles.

The S-300B4 variant - delivered to the Russian armed forces last year - can shoot down any medium-range missile in the world today, flies at five times the speed of sound and has a range of 400km (248 miles), Tass reports."

When the Russian deal was suspended Iran filed a lawsuit seeking billions of dollars in damages.

Mr Chemezov said Saudi Arabia had asked Rostec repeatedly not to supply the S-300 to Iran.

But he insisted that it was a defensive weapon. "So if the Gulf countries are not going to attack Iran... why should they be threatened? Because this is defence equipment," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying."

As for the offer in 2016 to sell the S-400 to Iran,which it turned down, here is one source:

Minister of defence of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) Hossein Dehgan said: "We produce a system to ensure air safety at three levels. Available high-range deficiencies we made up for the purchase of s-300, we do not have any need to purchase other systems", — quotes Agency Tasnim statement Dehgan.

The Iranian defense Minister Dehgan said that "Iran has the necessary defensive system that is able to ensure aerospace security of the country".

In the past year, 2019, Russia indicated it would offer to sell the S-400.
“We are open for discussions on delivering S-400 Triumph air defense systems, including to Iran. Especially given that this equipment is not subject to restrictions outlined in UN Security Council’s resolution issued on June 20, 2015,” a representative of the press service of the Russian Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation told Sputnik on Friday."
Iran's own reported.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 11 2020 14:57 utc | 160

Thanks b for the update and the excellent coverage.

What an epic mistake to not close the airspace. I'm impressed that the IRGC admitted full responsibility and even gave a detailed description of the human error. Adding in the EW jamming and it is easy how this could happen. What a horrible tragedy.

Posted by: Sorghum | Jan 11 2020 14:59 utc | 161

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 11 2020 12:07 utc | 114

Yes, this was my first guess as well. Who was actually on that plane. Ukraine is CIA/Mossad territory, but the Russians may have ways to find out who are on a flight to Kiev, and they may choose to pass that information on. Then again, it might just be a mistake as admitted.

Posted by: veto | Jan 11 2020 15:01 utc | 162

I am very surprised by this admission. Are the Iranians just closing the door on this Passenger jet and shifting the focus of conversation? Was there an actual mistake made by their Air Defense?
Having apologized for an event that occurred under the Fog of War Iran will definitely get credit from most Westerners as our governments never apologize. Why would a vicious psychopath apologize? We are all Palestinians' to our governments in the 'Free West'?
I don't believe this admission changes the dynamic now under way: the U.S. has no defense in the M.E. from Missile attack, if they continue to move forces to the ME to get to 100,000 (I calculate the Iranians as being able to field 100,000+ regulares and militia)it will be viewed as an act of war as will bringing in Patriot systems.
All eyes must now be on what Washington DOES not what it says as, to most observers, it always appears to be lying.
Bonus points for all westerners: can anyone think of a Western hero since DeGaulle or JFK? I can't and I really wish it were otherwise.

Posted by: dorje | Jan 11 2020 15:03 utc | 163

My final comment on the topic. I blame both the war instigators and the local decision makers for this tragedy. Yet, it is my strong impression that the person who pressed the button, the US Cretin in Chief and Jonathan W here share about the same level of reasoning.

It is immensely comforting to know that one’s life may be in the hands of such individual at some point in life, hope NOT.

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 15:07 utc | 164

The obvious result of several generations of recruiting/hiring military and/or military technicians for loyalty and obedience instead of intelligence. It is lucky for everyone that they found that out now, before nuclear weapons were available.

Posted by: Mike-SMO | Jan 11 2020 14:23 utc | 154

Too late! Do you think that Pompeo got recruited/hired for intelligence? Or any believer of the esoteric cult recently named "inter-agency consensus"? Not to mention that brainwashing in educational programs of our finest institutions (check bio of Fiona Hill) can dampen deleterious side-effects of intelligence (independent thinking and crap like that). They got the nukes, and a galore of other toys to play with, as we had seen in the case of Suleimani. And this process of creating esoteric supremacist doctrine is quite a bit longer than the history of Iranian revolution.

I used the word esoteric to mean a doctrine with multiple levels of initiation and knowledge, with deference to the higher levels. As Pompeo was explaining, there was a full consensus among the people of the highest knowledge level, so Congressional blokes should know their place. Most of them did, with a notable exception of a yokel from Utah.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 11 2020 15:13 utc | 165

kiza This is from last year. A good chance that after the Iranian missile strike, US would have been trying to disrupt IRGC command and communication systems. IRGC manned the Tor unit and according to Iran their coms were out at the time of the incident.
"The cyberattacks — a contingency plan developed over weeks amid escalating tensions — disabled Iranian computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers, the officials said. Two of the officials said the attacks, which specifically targeted Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps computer system, were provided as options after Iranian forces blew up two oil tankers earlier this month."

Kiza, adding this sort of crap in each comment really does give you away. "which essentially leaves considerable destructive power in the hands of below average brains connected to twitchy fingers"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 15:15 utc | 166

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 13:47 utc | 143, 164

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 15:15 utc | 167

Iran is sure taking a beating here as are those who were "wildly speculating" as to whom was to blame. Let me remind everyone that it was the US who first came out and accused Iran of shooting this plane down.
How did the US know so early? Curious that!
Unlike when the US shot down an Iranian airliner with 290 a board and never apologized and rewarded those who shot that plane down, Iran has admitted full responsibility& will compensate the families as well. This was a tragic mistake and it does not mean Iran's military is incompetent. I can assure you this will never happen again and those responsible severely punished. This also in no way, justifies the US illegal actions that it took that lead to this event in the first place.

Posted by: Annie | Jan 11 2020 15:32 utc | 168

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 13:47 utc | 143

add: You best try not to fly at all ....

This here happened over Austria in 2014.

Brief summary: Planes disappearing from flight controller screens, electronic warfare tests suspected. Electronic warfare tests suspected. Quote: If they try these systems they should do it over the desert.

Of course, airspace over Austria and Germany was not closed. No one was informed about it.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 15:36 utc | 169

Another thing to take into account, with trumps threats of attacks on cultural sites, Iran brought Israel into the game. Both US and Israel have been desperately trying to make out the Soleimani hit and other US agressions against Iran are purely US and Israel has nothing to do with. Iran ignored the bullshit and said they would hit Israel if US attacked. With that, Trump could not strike Iran openly, but retaliate he did although he could not brag about it.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 15:40 utc | 170

It seems to me that this is an accident and accidents are not usually just one thing that goes wrong but a series of events.
Lastly, you have people manning air defense systems, their job is to defend an important military site, and here comes something very low and unexpected. They would have had seconds to identify and respond. They probably responded as they were trained to do....hesitation is not a quality that ensures long life in combat.
Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 11 2020 8:52 utc | 64

There was a very interesting book published in 1980 (or 1985?) by Jim Reason and Barbara Mycielska which analysed in great detail a number of catastrophic accidents, including several airline crashes, a couple of major shipping accidents, and others. What they found in every case was that in a serious crisis there are always human errors; these human errors are in their essential characteristics very mundane and ordinary - it is only the details of the context that transforms them into errors with catastrophic results.

Human beings make errors all the time, they make mis-communications all the time, they fail to notice things all the time - but usually the results are not catastrophic. what transforms a mundane error into a catastrophic error is almost always the superposition with that error of not one but many many adverse conditions that impair judgement and/or amplify the negative consequences.

B mentioned the possibility of a change of shift at 6am, the incoming crew not being fully briefed. The Aerospace Commander mentioned a request for no-fly zone that was refused (maybe an incoming operator was aware of the request but not of the refusal). Lots of US aircraft were menacing at the borders of Iran (probably trying to map the air defence radars etc). There were reports of unidentified objects (presumed possible missiles) in Iranian airspace (maybe false-positives detected by sensitive equipment, or perhaps even the US somehow spoofed them, or maybe unidentified objects really were detected but had unexpected explanations). The passenger aircraft "unexpectedly" turned towards the sensitive military base (the flightradar24 data clearly shows this was usual for this flight, but if the operator only just came on shift it may still have been unexpected). Lack of sleep is common in such situations, and almost all of the catastrophic accidents analysed by Reason and Mycielska had loss of sleep as a component. Other factors likely to increase the risk of catastrophic human error include personal problems (family, health, recent bereavement, recent divorce etc), high stress (guaranteed to be present), suboptimal design in the human-machine interface of the air defence system, suboptimal integration of the air defence unit in an overall air defence network (see Kiza | Jan 11 2020 13:47 utc | 143), inadequate integration with information on civilian flight activities, misunderstandings of contextual information, etc.

When this incident occurred, what the Reason and Mycielska analyses clearly shows is that there would almost certainly have been a whole cascade of adverse circumstances - possibly including some of the above, and certainly including many others - that together impaired the operator's ability to make the best decision at a very critical moment. That is what transforms a mundane error into a catastrophic error.


Aside from that, what really distinguishes the men from the boys is the extraordinary openness and honesty of the Iranians.

Someone who makes a mistake and covers it up and denies it is a coward. (Seen a few of those recently?)

Someone who quickly, openly, honestly, humbly and appologetically admits to the error, releases full available information, cooperates with investigators, accepts blame, denies potential attribution of blame on others and promises full accountability is a hero.

Posted by: BM | Jan 11 2020 15:42 utc | 171

Posted by: Sorghum | Jan 11 2020 14:59 utc | 161

If they had no advance knowledge when the US attack would come, they could not close the airspace or would have had to close the airspace indefinitively.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 15:42 utc | 172

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 14:49 utc | 157

I can only repeat the two obvious root causes: you expect a military retaliation but do not close down civilian air traffic and you scatter your air defense units unconnected to a centre (which essentially leaves considerable destructive power in the hands of below average brains connected to twitchy fingers at least somewhere in such scatter - imagine the statistical risk level).

You are right about the root causes but they could not have avoided 1 (expect taking a different route for revenge) as they may have had to wait indefinitively and 2 is actually effective, as the enemy then cannot take out all of the air defence with one strike.

Two sides decided to impress the other with what they could do, and one side seemed to have forgotten to warn the other side about potential casualties.

You are correct about communications being taken out completely would mean no flights. But how about communications being compromised? The Iranian on the trigger was told there was a cruise missile if what the Iranians say is true.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 15:54 utc | 173

Now Russia and Germany call on Iran to get back to the nuclear-deal.

Merkel and Putin agree Iran nuclear deal should be preserved by all means

Merkel nor Putin realize that that deal is dead long ago, they should call on the US to start following it for one!

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 11 2020 16:03 utc | 174

"Now we need to see if the Aircraft did Deviate from the Path" (IronForge 6:01 utc | 28)

B, I'm a little surprised you haven't brought up the subject of flight direction. Iranian statements say the 737 was approaching a military installation. So at the time it was hit, was it off its normal course? And if so, why?

Posted by: Pnyx | Jan 11 2020 16:06 utc | 175

This tragedy is exactly the type of outcome a "maximize pressure" campaign, where the full military and economic might of a superpower pressures for year after year. The very point is that "something gives", being mass uprising, weapon accident, coup or anything else. Responsibilities will need to be shared over time: the ones starting targeting Iranian military assets without warning are simply just as guilty as the ones failing to safeguard their air defense from errors. This proposed analysis is not new: since Nuremberg trials the ultimate blame for all evils are lied at the feet of those initiating the war or the aggression.

After the dust has settled, this will become a trial before the international courts: combining the assassination, the voiced threats before and after and (if there's evidence to submit) any activity from the US air force near Iran that night.

Posted by: John Dowser | Jan 11 2020 16:10 utc | 176

Ruptly Video Agency’s Cameraman Killed In Iraq – Sputnik and RT Chief Editor

On Friday, two reporters were shot dead in Basra, Iraq by unidentified armed men after filming protests in the country.

Recall caretaker Abdul Mahdi revelations on Trump´s blackmail related to snippers who will shot at demonstrators and security forces all together...

Trump, nor the US will anytiem recognize or apologize...that would be like "waiting for Godot"...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 11 2020 16:10 utc | 177

1) NO Commercial airliner has an IFF. ONLY military aircraft have IFFs which provide an encrypted means of Identifying a Friend from a Foe.

2) ALL commercial airliners have transponders that transmit their unique, unencrypted ICAO address.

3) The Tail Number and thus the owner and operator of an aircraft can be determined from the unique ICAO address transmitted by the aircraft transponder.

4) ICAO addresses can be easily spoofed - in other words, a military aircraft can pretend to be a commercial aircraft.

5) Therefore, the aircraft ICAO address CANNOT be relied on to identify an aircraft.

6) A RADAR signature CANNOT distinguish a commercial airline aircraft from a military aircraft - especially since some military aircraft use 737 airframes.

7) Therefore, there was no way for the Iranian SAM operators to be sure that the Ukrainian Airliner was not a hostile enemy aircraft.

8) The shoot down of the Ukrainian Aircraft says nothing about the competency of the Iranian Air Defenses.

9) The shoot down does say something about the competency of the Iranian Civil Aviation Authority which should have taken the FAA lead of grounding all commercial air traffic.

I hope that the above facts will dispel some of the wild, inaccurate, speculative theories but I fear that many are so delusional that no amount of information can bring them back to reality.

Posted by: Prometheus | Jan 11 2020 16:25 utc | 178

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 11 2020 16:10 utc | 178

I don't think you can claim them one of them seems to have wondered on twitter why no one was killed on the anti-US demonstrations ...

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 16:26 utc | 179

On the subject of differentiating between civilian and military aircraft and friend or foe. 9 11. Civilian aircraft taken over by supposed allies of the US. Most likely with some US government involvement. There are no rules with the US.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 16:27 utc | 180

Zanon 175 "Now Russia and Germany call on Iran to get back to the nuclear-deal."

From your link...
Putin "After the US refused to abide by the agreement, Iran announced suspension of its obligations as well. I would like to underscore that these obligations were voluntarily embraced by Iran. Iran is ready to come back to full compliance with the JPCOA."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 16:40 utc | 181

“ IRGC Aerospace Cmdr says we had requested the establishment of a no-fly zone given the war situation. But it was not approved for certain considerations.” There is your government bureaucrat and decision maker, the principal candidate to front a firing squad. And front he may, whilst the Boeing CEO who helped kill 346 people and f*** up the civilian business of Boeing probably forever got “penalised” with a $65M golden parachute. This after getting at least $25M per year for stock buybacks he organised worth $5B instead of building reliable planes.

Three stories of this world: an honest unfortunate soldier (probably), an incompetent bureaucrat and a systemic crook of a systemically crooked country. How to find all the money to pay out an endless line of money hungry crooks without war and pillage? Just not possible.

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 16:42 utc | 182

This site and its comments have been an unfortunate repository of ridiculous, reflexive anti-American nonsense over the past few weeks. The speculation about the flight, and inability to accept Iranian responsibility, was one of the more silly charades.

Posted by: Daniel Lennon | Jan 11 2020 16:46 utc | 183

Trump's sneak attack against the Ukraine passenger plane has successfully turned attention away from the general crap he is up to in the region. Karl Rove's empire creating a new reality.
"Trump said in the Fox News interview that if Iraq wanted the United States to leave, he would tell them: “You have to pay us for the money we put in.”
He said the United States has $35 billion of Iraq’s money “sitting in an account.”
“I think they’ll agree to pay. Otherwise we’ll stay there,” Trump said.
Pompeo told reporters a NATO delegation was in Washington on Friday to discuss the future of the Iraq mission and a plan to “get burden-sharing right in the region”"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 16:46 utc | 184

What I find inexplainable is that the crew of Tor M-1 air defense system did not really consider that the Tehran airport was operating and that civil traffic was likely.

I wrote a similar comment yesterday. I also added that it was inexplicable how the missile crew mistook the plane for a U.S. fighter jet that exhibits different characteristics. The Iranians must thoroughly investigate how this could happen. Throughout this I held back because I had a very bad feeling from the start. That's why I recalled the deleted tweet the night of the missile strike that a U.S. fighter jet had been downed. However, I just didn't want to believe Iran could make such a mistake and was hoping someone would prove my suspicions wrong. I especially was reluctant to admit my gut feeling when Trump and co. were using it to demonize Iran. Of course it was hard for Iran to grapple with the stunning truth that after successfully trying to avoid U.S. casualties they would make such a fatal mistake and it was being used against Iran. There was only one way out of this and Iran has done the right thing today.

This tragedy is the worst possible outcome. I feel terrible for the families. I'm glad Iran has faced the truth. I also feel bad for Iran that tried to avoid casualties on the U.S. side and ended up with unintended casualties on its own side.

This is tragic for everyone. This cannot happen again. In the heightened tension of war, mistakes happen, but I can't understand why those flights weren't grounded. I understand that all other flights got out safely, but it just takes one and tension was so high. I mean myself in my safe corner of the world was on the edge of my seat and holding my breath.

So I can imagine the tenseness in the theater of Iran not knowing how the U.S. would respond and naturally imagining the worst.

In this highly charged atmosphere NOTHING should have been left to chance. Preparedness, coordination and communication is everything. This was a fatal human blunder, yes, blunder, that Iran must learn from.

However, I must place the burden of blame on the U.S. for igniting the hostility that led to this awful, staggering tragedy. Trump was quick to point the finger at Iran but HE made the worst mistake of ALL! Trump is very lucky Iran had the wisdom to show restraint that night! If the U.S. had incurred casualties further escalation would lead to war.

So in conclusion, Iran did not deserve to suffer this tragedy, but hopefully it puts everything critically important in perspective, and the lesson everyone should take from this is that WAR is NOT an option ever and must be avoided at all costs, because human tragedy in war is certain.

Trump is an arrogant, overconfident upstart who dodged service and underestimates war and what fuels it! He had Soleimani murdered and set off a chain of events including the PS 752 tragedy and the chain reaction still to unfold. He has an obsession with Iran and it will lead to no good! Iran must prepare, have drills, perfect and be ready for the worst and leave NOTHING to chance. Meanwhile on this end Trump, let me be clear: the Zionist with the dangerous obsession must be stopped either by removal or, better yet, defeat to the ONLY viable trustworthy anti-war candidate, Sanders.

I'm sorry for all the families suffering this tragic loss, and I'm sure all Iran mourns this loss and I am glad that the leadership did the right thing to allow for their own mourning.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 11 2020 16:47 utc | 185

with the downing of the plane Iran was showing the Western mafia that it ain't fuckin around neither. The missiles at the bases was political cover for the war act. The war actors on both sides, when it really comes down to it, when the shit hits the fan, don't give a flying fuck for public opinion - they play to public opinion, and deceive the public, naturally, but they don't sweat it, that's for damn sure. The State is gonna do what The State is gonna do.

Iran shot down the Ukie plane to show that two can play at that 9/11 game. Nasty as they wanna be - that was the message.

Posted by: reant | Jan 11 2020 16:56 utc | 186

@ Posted by: Daniel Lennon | Jan 11 2020 16:46 utc | 185

Maybe. Maybe not.

On average, though, I think this blog is on point, with a relatively low rate of mispredictions.

P.S.: the USA will still have to get out of Iraq, though.

Posted by: vk | Jan 11 2020 16:59 utc | 187

I think Iran is lying about this. I think the airplane was brought down as a covert op by The Borg, the Hegemon - the US its assorted usual suspects. I think this was the trick that Trump had up his sleeve. My guess is that Iran sees copping to this as the best way to disarm it. Canada, the US and Ukraine will try as hard as they can anyway to get as much mileage as they can out of it. But Iran made that quite a bit more difficult by confessing.

Posted by: paul | Jan 11 2020 17:01 utc | 188

@Prometheus 180
All your points except point 8 are totally correct. The problem with your point 8 is that someone delegated critical decision making to individual scattered units without ensuring sufficient supply of information. This is an organisational problem but not a unique problem to Iran’s military. Anybody who served in a real military knows the varying quality of the crews. Even giving live munitions to some endangers many friendlies. This accident is not a reflection of general quality of Iranian military, just an indication of inadequate organisational thinking.

With airspace closed to civilian and to own military planes, no problem at all. Or after the destruction of the military C3, the units must operate autonomously.

What a typical and deadly cocktail of incompetent government bureaucrats and military thinkers. As someone above says - better not fly at all because such deadly cocktail could hit you even in “civilised” Austria (they started military jamming in the middle of busy civilian airline traffic). What is your life worth compared with their “certain considerations”?

Posted by: Kiza | Jan 11 2020 17:07 utc | 189

@185 Daniel Lennon

I think your judgment stinks. When it comes to Zionist U.S., it is better to err on the side of high SKEPTICISM and scrutiny. Save your high and mighty criticism for Trump and Pompeo, the architects of really prolific mass deception, in regards to Iran and the murder of Soleimani!

Posted by: Circe | Jan 11 2020 17:12 utc | 190

Human culture has "evolved" into a chaotic non-equilibrium thermodynamic (NET) system, in which - like the weather - making accurate long term predictions about what's going to happen given any event is practically impossible.

What human culture shares with the weather is the possibility of extreme state change (bifurcation) given a small change in an "input" variable. Which specific variable might be responsible, and what the new state of the system will be after bifurcation, are effectively impossible to predict in advance.

Nonetheless there are deterministic elements in the general cyclic path followed by an NET system until bifurcation. So while aggregate climate behavior shows long-term predictable trends, short term weather varies widely.

Thus while the long-term trend of U.S.-Iran relations is deterministic, the short term impact of any specific event is unpredictable.

Posted by: Trisha | Jan 11 2020 17:14 utc | 191

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 11 2020 14:03 utc | 148

Looks like you describe Trump's empire.

I don't know what they do in schools nowadays but in my time the only bully would be the teacher. If and when we all ganged up, the teacher would not have a chance.

Only two types of teachers had a chance to survive - the ones who ruled by terror, or the really gifted ones who transformed lessions into something magical.

So this would be my definition of empire, rule by terror or transform everybody to want to follow.

In Trump's empire everyone is just hoping for the next guy.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 17:14 utc | 192

My previous comment was for 184 Daniel Lennon.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 11 2020 17:15 utc | 193

This news also confirms there was no ‘deal’ brokered between the US and Iran before hand to make it a show of force only. I’m surprised there is no further speculation on many possible deaths in the missile strikes inside of Iraq.

Posted by: Bush | Jan 11 2020 17:17 utc | 194

I agree with many commentators here that commercial flights should have been closed. Flights are routinely grounded with short notice at any airport in the world when conditions warrant (weather, technical problems, etc.), even when planes are full of passengers awaiting take-off. Most of the criticism has been against Iran for this error.

If reports are true, both Iran and the US knew for sure missiles would be flying one or two hours in advance. I assume all NATO countries were quickly informed of this as well(??). Many NATO countries (as well as others) had their commercial airlines flying to and from Tehran.

Any Airline can decide to ground a flight if conditions warrant. It makes me wonder, were these Airlines notified (by their own governments) of what was happening around them and decided to fly anyway? There seems to be many questions as to the nature of the communications and warnings that took place in those crucial hours leading up to the event.

Posted by: Kabobyak | Jan 11 2020 17:18 utc | 195

I don't wish to make excuses for mistaking a civilian airliner for an attacking aircraft, but it is well worth remembering that the 9/11 attacks were carried out using commercial airplanes. Hence, a plane making a turn immediately after takeoff might seem, to an anxious and frightened AA operator, as though it is about to make a suicide dive. Shit happens, especially in war-like conditions. The "collateral damage" from U.S. activities in the so-called "War on Terror" absolutely dwarfs the downing of this plane.

Posted by: Rob | Jan 11 2020 17:35 utc | 196

@185 Peter AU1

It's like I wrote previously, instead of the U.S. leaving Iraq, dumbo Trump wants to escalate occupation and the potential for war by bringing in reinforcements under the NATO flag and christening this flagrant occupation with the ridiculous acronymn: NATOME.

He's off his Zionist-induced rocker. Remember NATO and no fly re Libya? This is worse! Iraq must kick the U.S. out of Iraq before it's too late.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 11 2020 17:36 utc | 197

I got the facts and my conclusions wrong, sorry. It may have been due to wishful thinking on my part. Sincere condoleances to all those who lost loved ones.

BUT, this shows up just how close we are to a World war, when one person has 10 seconds to decide to shoot or not. Imagine if a similar situation happens during the upcoming NATO "exercises" with 35'000 troops plus ships and aircraft just off Kalingrad or the Russian border in the Baltic.
Someone will have even less time to work out whether the ******* (fill in as necessary), is for real or not.
Don't think "military competence" is going to save humanity. It won't.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 11 2020 17:37 utc | 198

" Now Russia and Germany call on Iran to get back to the nuclear-deal. "

Sometimes I wish Putin would keep his mouth shut. Why doesn't he insist the US goes back to the deal, or that Europe do its part in the alternate trade mechanism with Iran ? It seems all these leaders are afraid to point the finger at the real culprit.

Posted by: Fog of War | Jan 11 2020 17:38 utc | 199

A belated reply to Bevin @30: One contextual variable seriously cloudin Iranian decision making was Trump's threat to hit 56 cultural sites, essentially threatening Iran with cultural genocide - as has occurred in Syria and Iraq (Think Palmyra). This, on top of threatening the ruling elite, having just hellfired Iran's leading general. Under these circumstances, which could be expected to make Iran hypervigilant (and over reactive to threat), Trump and Pompeo must share a large portion of the blame. Given US history in Iraq, Syria and Libya, these threats would be taken as truthful and consistent with prior US actions. Reflective consideration of adverse consequences is absent from the current US playbook.

Posted by: Abierno | Jan 11 2020 17:46 utc | 200

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