Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 09, 2020

Pentagon Accuses Iran Of Shooting Down A Ukrainian Plane But Its Evidence Is Flimsy

The Pentagon is accusing Iran's air defense of shooting down the Ukraninan plane that crashed yesterday near Tehran. The Pentagon says that it was an accidental incident. But the evidence on which the claim is based is flimsy.

We reported yesterday on flight PS752:

Hours after Iran had launched the missiles a Ukrainian airliner crashed three minutes after it had taken off from Tehran airport. All 176 people on board died. The passengers were mostly from Iran, Canada and the Ukraine. The airplane was a three years old Boeing 737-800 NG operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, the country's flag carrier. Video shows the burning airliner coming down on a glide path. Photos from the crash site show shrapnel like impacts on the fuselage. The evidence is consistent with an uncontained turbine disc rupture but other potential causes can not be ruled out. The incident will be investigated like all other airliner crashes.

In the update we added:

Higher quality daylight pictures of the crashed Ukrainian plane show that at least some of the "shrapnel impact holes" are not holes at all but are debris or dirt lying on top of the aircraft pieces. Additional pictures also show no evidence of an externally induced event.

The Flight Data Recorders of the airplane were found. Iran will download the data from them or, if it does not have that capability, will ask some other country (France?, Germany?) to do so. A preliminary accident report will be published after one month.

Newsweek now reports:

The Ukrainian flight that crashed just outside the Iranian capital of Tehran was struck by an anti-aircraft missile system, a Pentagon official, a senior U.S. intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence official told Newsweek.
The aircraft is believed to have been struck by a Russia-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system, known to NATO as Gauntlet, the three officials told Newsweek.

Two Pentagon officials assess that the incident was accidental. Iran's anti-aircraft were likely active following the country's missile attack, which came in response to the U.S. killing last week of Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, sources said.

How would an Iraqi intelligence official, likely controlled by the CIA, know what happened in Tehran? The evidence the reporter notes is not very convincing:

Images began to circulate Wednesday of what appeared to be fragments of a Tor M-1 missile said to have been found in a suburb southwest of Tehran. Ukraine Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danylov said Thursday in a statement that contact with a Tor M-1 system was among the potential causes for the plane's destruction that his country was looking into.

Other potential scenarios involved a collision with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or another flying object, technical malfunction and a terrorist attack.

These are the two images in question:

bigger - bigger

The left picture was posted yesterday at 17:50 UTC on Twitter by the Farsi and English tweeting account "Azematt".


The second picture was posted by another Farsi and English tweeting account name "Liberalist_30" at 10:15 UTC today.

Both pictures show the navigation and steering head section of a 9k331 missile used in the Russian Tor M-1 anti-air system. (The warhead is behind the head section and explodes towards the sides of the missile. This leaves the head section intact.)

The Independent had already reported on the images and noted the problems with them:

Over the last day, at least two images of what appeared to be missile debris from Russian-made Tor missiles have appeared on social media. The photographs had not previously been uploaded to the internet before yesterday, but attempts to geolocate to the crash site have so far been unsuccessful. They may be unconnected.
Elliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, the digital investigation group famous for their investigation into the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, confirmed that the photograph of Tor missile debris were new images as far as the internet was concerned. But writing on Twitter, he suggested independent verification may prove elusive.

“There’s other examples of this type of debris documented in other conflicts, so there’s no way to know this is in Iran,” he said.

Even a blind chicken might find a corn. For once Higgins is right. There are certainly other pictures of used Tor missile heads available.


There are also many Farsi/English Twitter accounts that are operated by the anti-Iranian MEK cult known for its cooperation with U.S. intelligence services. Whoever provided the pictures might have done so to falsely accuse Iran.

The Tor-M-1 (video) is a highly-mobile Russian-made system used for medium altitude anti-aircraft tasks. In 2007 Iran bought 29 Tor M-1 units from Russia. The Iranian Tor are operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC).


It is likely that there are Tor systems around Tehran and it is certain that they were on high alert in the hours after Iran had launched missiles towards U.S. bases in Iraq.

But there were several flights out of Tehran in the early hours of January 8. The departure of flight PS752 was delayed. It took off at 6:12 local time. The airplane climbed out of Tehran airport in a rather straight line. The teams that man the Tor systems around Tehran must be used to the regular radar track of civil planes coming out of Tehran airport. That makes an accidental launch somewhat unlikely.

As the Independent also noted:

Early theories about the cause of the crash focussed on engine failure. On Wednesday evening, a Reuters report, citing five intelligence officers, said the western intelligence community was minded to believe technical malfunction was the most likely reason. Ukraine’s embassy in Iran initially sided this way, ruling out the possibility of a missile attack, before hastily removing the statement.

The Ukrainian plane had CFM 56 engines. These have in past years experienced uncontained failures. In April 2018 BBC reported:

A female passenger died after she was nearly sucked from the cabin of a Southwest Airlines flight travelling from New York to Dallas on Tuesday.
An initial investigation found evidence of metal fatigue where a fan blade had broken off, according to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

A similar incident was recorded in 2016 involving a Southwest flight that landed safely in Florida.

Uncontained engine failures can damage the tanks of an airplane and can set it on fire. They can also lead to all kinds of other damage. Any plane that survives such an incident is very lucky.

It is possible that an Iranian Tor system accidentally brought down the Ukrainian plane. It is also possible that it experienced an engine failure that ruptured the full fuel tanks and set it on fire. Something else like a bird strike may have cause engine damage. There are many other possibilities. We will have to wait for more evidence and for the results of the ongoing investigation to learn what really happened.

But there is one thing that we can say for sure. Two pictures of missile heads taken at an unknown location by unknown persons at an unknown time are not sufficient evidence for any accusations against Iran.

Posted by b on January 9, 2020 at 18:49 UTC | Permalink

next page »

there's a video now (no metadata yet/plenty speculation yadda yadda, but still...)

Posted by: rototo | Jan 9 2020 18:56 utc | 1

"Two Pentagon officials assess that the incident was accidental."

In CIA-Pentagon/speak, the word "assess" means "we want that to be true, but we haven't a clue."

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jan 9 2020 18:58 utc | 2

Iran is quite sure the airplane did not explode in the air.

So sorry, no missile. It is very easy to determine from the crash site actually.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 19:08 utc | 3

Sina Toossi @SinaToossi 1h

Al Jazeera breaking:
According to #Iran's Civil Aviation Org, the Iranian & Ukrainian joint investigation teams have totally dismissed the airplane being hit by a missile.

Posted by: Anonymus | Jan 9 2020 19:11 utc | 4

Planes have some kind of ID so that they won't be mistaken for another one. I bet this has already been discussed here around, but I'd really like to know if it would be possible to manipulate from afar - let's through an electronic backdoor provided by Boeing - and change that ID so that a civilian airliner could suddenly appear on military radar to be an AirForce jet - in which case, the AA Iranian (or Donbass) system might flag the airliner as enemy and some hasty trooper pulls the trigger and shoots it down, assuming he just got an enemy. Because if this is technically possible, then it will be used sooner or later.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 9 2020 19:15 utc | 5

I posted this link to photos of the 737's engine at the Iran thread and repost them here. Here's the brief narrative:

"Some photos of one engine of the #Ukrainian_plane crashed near Tehran show signs of severe solid particle #errosion of leading edges of its blades.

"Could be a sign of poor/improper maintenance of the engine."

Walter so far is the only one to comment on that thread. I noted the initial thoughts were all linked to poor maintenance given the airline owner and nationality, and the new pathology known as Boeing Syndrome.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 9 2020 19:16 utc | 6

I suggest these two pentagon officials asses the damage to their bases and equipment in Iraq and make an honest report of it to the AMERICAN tax payers

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 9 2020 19:16 utc | 7

The USG and the Pentagon are probably trying to cover for Boeing. If this was really a casus belli creation attempt, they would not use the "shot down by accident" narrative.

P.S.: yes, it was the fan blade problem, not the main frame bolt problem, as I commented before in another thread. Memory failed me.

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 19:18 utc | 8

It happened four hours after the Iranian retaliation so that's not likely but what were the chances for a plane crash during all this anyway? Practically zero.

The Iranian retaliation was obviously a humiliating experience to the US so they decided to create another MH17 and downed the plane vith EW. It was fried out of the sky.

Posted by: mikh | Jan 9 2020 19:23 utc | 9

Of course there could be other actors than Iranian state. Dont forget that.

Video of projectile hitting the plane?

BUT everything could be edited today. So it doesnt really show anything.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 19:35 utc | 10

intersting that someone just happend to holding the camera still exactly where the airplane was allegedly hit. If the video is real...

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 19:36 utc | 11

It would be funny if it was not so sad.

Posted by: mikh | Jan 9 2020 19:23 utc | 9

Remember MH17?. That is what happens when a fast plane is hit by a fast missile and explodes in air. Miles and miles of body parts and debris. Farmers in Ukraine presumably still find stuff.

So no, this plane was hit by no one. Whatever happened on board, it was not hit and did not explode.

Our disinformation friend challenged with physics seems to have caught on to this simple fact of gravity. So what does he do?

Eliot Higgins ‏@EliotHiggins

More and more reports from people with access to the crash site that the wreckage has been bulldozed into a pile, making a truly forensic investigation next to impossible. #PS752

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 19:41 utc | 12

The boeing engines have failed before but not resulting in the complete destruction of the aircraft.
What are the odds of this happening in Iran at that time.

The US has used and does use terrorist style attacks.
What are the odds off US attacking in this way at that time.

I guess we have to wait for bellingcrap to investigate.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 9 2020 19:42 utc | 13

PM Trudeau speaking right now. Expect the worst - regurgitating US bullshit. "The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by Iranian ..."

Posted by: spudski | Jan 9 2020 19:44 utc | 14

Everyone must remember "US official says" means you are about to be told a lie.

Posted by: lgfocus | Jan 9 2020 19:46 utc | 15

Get the Swiss and Germans in on the investigation. Does this plane not call home to Boeing?
Today:Russian Satellites to Monitor Iran After Attack on US Bases, Plane Crash - Roscosmos

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian space agency Roscosmos is planning to use its satellites to monitor the situation in Iran following its recent missile attack on US bases in Iraq and the Ukrainian Boeing crash, according to a statement published on the organization's website on Thursday.

the u.s.' 52nd state, little canada's Justin yesterday said "don't rush to speculate" A day is a long time for politicos:

Canada’s CBC broadcaster reported later that the US had shared intelligence on the Ukrainian Boeing crash in Iran allegedly indicating that the plane was shot down. The broadcaster said that Ottawa regards the intelligence that it received as "credible".LINK

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 9 2020 19:47 utc | 16

I used to follow Azim/Azematt for a while (I just wanted to hear different voices at that time). He is a disgusting rumor-maker who wouldn't give up even after being exposed several times. I really don't understand why some people find it meaningful to "oppose" the Iranian regime by making rumors or exaggerating the losses of the regime and the gains/achivements of its enemies. I cannot exclude that Azim is paid by some Arab country or Israel, but of course it could be that he is just one f.ed up individual ...

Posted by: noname | Jan 9 2020 19:48 utc | 17

The IRGC has already refuted the "unnamed officials'" claim:

Iran Denies 'Illogical Rumours' as US Officials Say Ukrainian Boeing May Have Been Downed by Missile

Since the IRGC controls Iran's entire air defense system, they know for a fact they didn't do it.

Also, there's the logical argument:

Abedzadeh stated that at the time of the crash, several Iranian and foreign civil jets were in the air at the same altitude as Flight PS752 and hence the claim that it was downed by a missile holds no water.

So, a lot of near identical targets flying at identical altitudes - and yet only one missile is fired? Virtually impossible.

They have also declared the data will be downloaded in Iran, but since they don't have the capacity to interpret it, it will be sent in a third country, "possibly France".

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 19:50 utc | 18

Peter AU1

IF it was the US they would of course not be doubting right now, especially not Trump.
If it is a false flag it is Israel that want US to believe it was an attack by iranians.
They have done it before.

Israel pose as arabs and bomb american facilities

USS Liberty incident where Israel attacked the american ship

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 19:50 utc | 19

thanks b... the de javu of mh 17 investigation is hard to stomach...

the odds of this happening 4 hours after the iranian response to qassem being murdered is bizarre.. a bit too bizarre in fact..

Posted by: james | Jan 9 2020 19:50 utc | 20


I doubt the aircraft was hit by any sort of missile, but I think most of the smaller surface to air missiles target the engines.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 9 2020 19:51 utc | 21

>I posted this link to photos of the 737's engine
>Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 9 2020 19:16 utc | 6

If I saw a farm tractor turbocharger that looked like that, I would definitely be ordering a new one. (I know nothing about jet engines; I've rebuilt lots of Ford tractor diesel engines.)

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Jan 9 2020 19:53 utc | 22

Oh no this wont end well,
propaganda won again, BEFORE any analysis they claim Iran did it, people in the west want war against Iran ...

Canada’s Trudeau claims ‘intel from multiple sources’ points at Iran shooting down Ukrainian Boeing over Tehran

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 19:54 utc | 23

Remember this is the same Canada:

2012: Canada closes Iranian embassy and kicks out diplomats

There are people in Canada that have wanted war with Iran for a long time...

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 19:56 utc | 24

I hope for simple mechanical failure but would not be surprised if MEK snuck a shoulder-launched weapon into Iran and was encouraged by their handlers to create a useful "diversion" after the Iranian counter-attack. Given recent events you can expect the psychopaths in DC to just about anything no matter how vile. The loss of all those innocent people to maniacs and their schemes is both heart-breaking and sickening in equal measure. It's very hard to be anything less than disgusted with the world these days.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jan 9 2020 19:56 utc | 25

On these CFM 56 engines, can information relative to the engine maintenance schedule or a catastrophic event be remotely accessed? I am not an expert, just Joe Six Pack here! Maybe some astute people on this blog or the host would know? I have this link for perusal.

CFM56-7B Advanced Vibration Monitoring

But importantly, what kind of financial system rewards an aviation company upward in the economic arena from the loss of human life in a catastrophic event? Only in America, and I am glad I have no shares in that decrepit Boeing company.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Jan 9 2020 19:57 utc | 26

Tudeau ....

"Could have very well have been..."

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 19:59 utc | 27

Zanon 19

You could be right as the US is still putting its narrative together. MH17 was similar, US had no narrative in the first day or two whereas brit news was proclaiming Putins missile so it seems MH17 was a Brit operation with the US quickly coming on board. Brits along with Israel would also have to be considered as suspects in the downing of the plane in Iran.
But then Trump is, or seems to be, on good terms with the current Ukraine regime. Just a matter of waiting and the culprits will most likely convict themselves by what they say and do over time.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 9 2020 19:59 utc | 28

Looking for any excuse to start a war. We all get another round of MH17, Iranian edition. I smell bullshit coming from Canadian PM Trudeau speech uttering the nonsense "Intelligence suggest...shot down" and followed by a disclaimer. No competent investigator would make such statements given the political climate we're all in.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 9 2020 19:59 utc | 29

FWIW: not much is heard from the Kremlin. Mr. Putin has engaged himself in meetings; in Syria, inauguration of TurkStream pipeline, and today -

The actions speak loudly.
Putin oversees drills of Russia’s Northern and Black Sea Fleets in Crimea
"During the drills, two Mig-31K fighters practiced target firing using the Kinzhal ballistic missile."

Be a fly on the wall see his thoughts

General Soleimani was key figure in cooperation with Russia - Iran leader’s top adviser

"Soleimani was a key figure in our bilateral partnership with Russia and showed big respect for Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he had close relationship", Ali Akbar Velayati said

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 9 2020 20:02 utc | 30

I would advice everyone to take a look at the video @
That clearly points toward a false flag or planned attack by someone that just happen to record a video in the middle of the night, framing exactly where the alleged attack occur! Unless the video itself is created in editing application.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 20:06 utc | 31

The plane was going in the wrong direction anyway (flying away from Tehran) to be something that the Iranians might suspect of being an incoming missile.

Nonetheless it's a huge coincidence that two huge events involving Iran happened within hours of one another and which the western media have connected together.

Posted by: Brendan | Jan 9 2020 20:09 utc | 32

To who the Pentagon wants to kill now? Remember Iranian flight 655 that was shootdown by USS Navy ship, Vicencennes, in 1988, killing 290 Iranian passengers?

Posted by: Maria S Calef | Jan 9 2020 20:11 utc | 33

BBC, NPR, CBC radio are all yelling "Iran Did It!!!" So it's now true that Iran shot down a planeload of its own citizens. The actual facts don't matter and if the actual report doesn't agree with our esteemed media, it will mostly be overlooked.

On a slightly related topic, last night CBS TV news mentioned the foreign press reports of 80 dead US soldiers, but just sort of mumbled something I couldn't make sense of, and that was the end of it.

On a completely unrelated topic, whatever happened to UK leaving the EU? Is it still happening in three weeks, or did the story fall into my personal memory hole?

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Jan 9 2020 20:14 utc | 34

On the night of the Iranian strike on U.S. bases, I remember someone here posting a rumour that the Iranians downed some sort of aircraft/jet believed to be a U.S. fighter jet and then the comment was deleted.

Does anyone else recall that post?

Posted by: Circe | Jan 9 2020 20:19 utc | 35

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Jan 9 2020 20:14 utc | 34

This is an old old template when the Deep State is dealing with unfriendly States. They go into immediate full court blitz that they know who is guilty. Even the case of poor Gov. Eliot Spitzer has the same tail tail signs. Immediate, Spitzer is Guilty !!!!

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 20:19 utc | 36

@ Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 20:06 utc | 31

It would be a false flag only if there were Americans in the plane.

Unless Americans are willing to go to war for Canadians...

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 20:20 utc | 37

Trudeau is all over the place. First saying that Iran shot it down, then saying it's too early to assign blame. Either way the narrative is out there.
Does seem "highly likely" that Iran did the deed unintentionally. Should be very easy to check if any aa units fired any ordinance but iran will need a lot of transparency if it wants to save face but whom to trust?
If Iran did it then apologise and chop off the person(s) head of whomever is responsible. Move on!
If they didn't then opening the investigation to whomever wants to take part is the best way.

Posted by: pleasebeleafme | Jan 9 2020 20:21 utc | 38

vk @37

That's not true. It would be too obvious.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 9 2020 20:23 utc | 39

@ Zanon 34.

That video show an explosion in the air. For a missile to get to the aircraft it would have to fire it's engines which would produce light. I see none. We also don't know what this is a picture of. There is no evidence of where, there is no way to know whet exploded in the air.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Jan 9 2020 20:23 utc | 40


I think the aim is rather to frame Iran in civilian killing, the response is not clear right now but economic or even military response. Just like Israel want. The video is too good to be true, alot of hasbara out now, wouldnt surprise me if Israel are the information Trudeau based his claims on.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 20:28 utc | 41

Highest probability is, us peons will never know the true events.

One thing is for sure. Now days, 99% of global unrest is caused by commerce, and the struggle over $...

Posted by: ben | Jan 9 2020 20:31 utc | 42

@ circe

It was on some guys twitter feed. Canthama and/or YNMS re-twitted it I believe. It was said it happened somewhere in the vicinity of Bandar-al-Abbas or Busheer if I'm not mistaken.

@ PeterAU1

IR-homing targets heat sources. TOR missiles seem to be radar guided only.

Posted by: Hmpf | Jan 9 2020 20:31 utc | 43

@35 Circe

I do.

Posted by: spudski | Jan 9 2020 20:32 utc | 44

@ 35 Circe

Yes, I remember that but not sure it was posted on MOA. I do recall distinctly that the location of the shoot-down was Bandar Abbas, a long way from Teheran.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 9 2020 20:35 utc | 45

Why is no one considering the possibility of a false flag attack via a bomb on board?

Ukraine and Iranian investigators have already ruled out a missile.

What's left is engine failure or bomb on board.

Doesn' the lack of communication with the tower suggest a bomb over engine failure?

Rouhani's tweet demonstrating Iran's grudge over IR655:

Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655

Never threaten the Iranian nation.

Like it or not, this tweet created a perfect opportunity for a ff that is blamed on Iran.

We already know that USA has been engaging in information warfare via the disinfo that Soleimani was planning "imminent" attacks and Iran had aimed away from places where US personnel might be.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 9 2020 20:35 utc | 46

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jan 9 2020 19:56 utc | 25

If the Iranians say it did not explode in mid air it did not. You see something like that on the ground.

Iranians are going full transparency now. They are faced with experts from
Boeing: Desperately want this not to be a technical issue
Ukraine: Oh well,...
Canada: Oh well...
Britain: Oh well...
They would have to agree on a technically convincing story though. Making up a missile would be hard.
My guess is that the technical issue was engineered by some secret service.
Or that you should not fly with Boeing. Nor with Ukrainian airlines. Or via Kiev.

It is psyops. New York Times involved as well.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 20:37 utc | 47

Here's the post from the night of the Iranian missile strikes:

"State media: Iranian Air Defense downs US Jet near Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf."

The jet fighter tweet

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 8 2020 1:34 utc | 179

I was also searching around that night and came across a twitter link to that claim, but didn't post it here thinking it might be false.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 9 2020 20:41 utc | 48

Bellingcat claim this is the place of the recording.

Watch this "ELINT NEWS" twitter account, its an israeli intelligence account that suddenly shows up and gives more detailed info! Not suspicious at all.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 20:52 utc | 49

After I heard Iran was shooting missiles at Iraq, I punched up to see if civil air traffic was in the area and was shocked to see so many civilian planes flying. Iraq had a huge corridor flying basically north and south, just east of Baghdad. And Iran had planes going in several directions. I thought it odd planes were flying in the area considering missiles were being fired. For whatever that's worth.

Posted by: Boo | Jan 9 2020 20:53 utc | 50

Chance of that particular plane accidentally crashing on that particular day just hours after #Iranattacks is of the order of 1 in a million?

Given those odds I'd happily bet it's not an accident but an intervention.

What odds would you give for a professional IRGC missile crew to mistakenly ID a slow fat passenger airliner—ascending outbound amongst various other flights—as an inbound US stealth bomber? About the same or less as an RF missile crew shooting down a slow fat high altitude passenger airliner on a straight path over the Donbas minutes before it enters RF airspace?

My money's always been on the Ukrainians for that one, probably via Avakov's office.

So how about odds for an MH17 style false flag attack that fizzled due to the IRGC precision missile attacks on US bases in Iraq?

$100 USD anyone?

Posted by: Non | Jan 9 2020 20:53 utc | 51

Circe | Jan 9 2020 20:19 utc | 35 fighterjet down

I remember it. It doesn't matter though. We await the Imperial Logic, which demands that Iran submit. We wait while their suited fatheads try to get 70,000 fodder units far enough from Iranian launch sites, so they can go ahead and bomb the insolent untermensch to oblivion.. (oops, sorry, wrong nazis). I meant bring freedom and democracy, of course.

Nothing to do with individuals. It's simply the ways the factors are. A very high level of disequilibrium between the Classical Empires and an "empire" that is failing due to stupidity, ignorance and corruption.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 9 2020 20:55 utc | 52

pleasebeleafme 38 "If they didn't then opening the investigation to whomever wants to take part is the best way."

You have to be troll putting up garbage like. The MH17 investigation crew would like tobe in on this one too.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 9 2020 20:55 utc | 53

It is obviously psyops. Could be preemptive if this turns out to be a terror act. Might also be Boeing trying to avoid admitting it was technical.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 20:59 utc | 54

The US knows that Iran shot down the civilian aircraft because its satellites detected it. Officials said that the infra-red cameras picked up the missile's blips, according to American media.

But don't hold your breadth waiting for the evidence. We heard the same thing ago five and a half years ago about MH17. You'll just have to trust the evidence that's too sensitive to publish!

Posted by: Brendan | Jan 9 2020 21:03 utc | 55


Although I knew the Tor system used radar to pick up targets, I had thought the missiles were more or less Igla. US would be monitoring radar emissions in Iran 24 7, so it will be interesting if the US comes up with something showing radar emissions at the time and place to back up their claim.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 9 2020 21:03 utc | 56

@47 somebody

Canada is up to the neck in this as you could not pick a scenario that would inflame the Iranian and Ukrainian ex-pat communities more or re-focus attention on the "evil Iranian" govt than this butchery. The western narrative after the assassination was not spinning well.

As usual, what was the motive for the Iranian govt? There is none. Who benefits? That's obvious. Why the Ukrainian jet? Lots of other flights took off that night. If this was not an accidental shoot-down or mechanical problem, then it qualifies as one of the most cynical and barbarous acts in a recent history full of these.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jan 9 2020 21:07 utc | 57

@ Zanon | Jan 9 2020 20:52 utc | 49

Most likely it is fake. Doctoring in an explosion onto a black background in a video stream is a basic task when using compositing software. That video doesn't proof anything.

Posted by: Hmpf | Jan 9 2020 21:08 utc | 58

Meanwhile, there's no evidence that Soleimani was planning "imminent" attacks on USA ...

... but Democrats have no plans to add Trump's murder of General Soleimani to the bogus Articles of Impeachment.

Empire First!


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 9 2020 21:15 utc | 59

TASS has relevant topic stories. Evidently RU has decided on policy post hoc, as otherwise they'd remain silent. Among other this is "80 people dead" and so forth. They almost never say untrue, it's breadandbutter in the game to be credible.

What US says is worthwhile if you remember to reverse the meaning. If they say missile, bet it was simply a junk engine in a junk airplane that picked up too many rocks on a dirty tarmac...

See Carlin on YT... They Lie. video title> "George Carlin: BULLSHIT! That's our FUCKING JOB!!! |Jammin' in N.Y.C| «QC'z/AR»"

I doubt that "The US" knows a damn thing.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 9 2020 21:15 utc | 60

Sad Canuck

What drives the Canadian attitude on Iran? It seems to be very aggressive - what is history behind it, I remember this event some years ago too:

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 21:17 utc | 61

Peter AU1 @56 This is not going to happen. The US will not reveal the effective extend their monitoring. Only Trump may do such a rag action. Also if the US had attack IRan, it would have been with old cruise missiles, not the latest generation of Furtive cruise. Their first use if for Russia or China taste, not less.

Posted by: murgen23 | Jan 9 2020 21:18 utc | 62

Calm down everybody.
Let's gather facts.

The above mentioned video that supposedly shows a ground-air missile needs analysis.
And foremost I mean mental analysis.

I do note that approximately 11 seconds after the supposed explosion, the boom is heard. So this guy is at just over 3km distance from the plane (I think it would be possible to locate him).
But why did he start to video that part of the sky? Had another missile just exploded?
Is the firing of a missile, or rocket so conspicuous that he started video-recording because its liftoff blast (not its sound! remember he's 11 seconds removed) was visible?

If there was a mistake by an Iranian unit, I think it would be wisest for Iran just to admit that. But it's simply be too early for that: they need to do the true investigation and analyses.
Meanwhile, I too find myself entertaining the thought of (not so) Clueless Joe in (5). Note that MH-17 was a Boeing manufactured a/c too, and that it too was flying in what we would colloquially call a war zone. Too many similarities to pass the first sniff test. Boeing seems to be a common denominator, that at least is a fact.

Also, the way this will be spun by Western MSM will perhaps be a major indicator of the how and why. The 'Cui Bono?', as it were.

Lastly, why do current world events always seem to revolve around the miserable Ukraine?

Posted by: bjd | Jan 9 2020 21:18 utc | 63

@ Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 20:28 utc | 41

But with coffins with American bodies arriving home (each one covered with the Stars and Stripes...), popular support for a hot war against Iran would spike to 99% in the USA. The reinstation of the draft would not even be necessary.

Bang! Trump would have his hot war - and his reelection (just like George W. Bush).

With mainly Iranian victims (and some Canadians, probably of Iranian origin), the narrative becomes more turvy. This is specially true when you realize Trump publicly stated this was an accident, and not an act of war.

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 21:19 utc | 64

Not to be gruesome, But the Tor uses a fragmentation warhead. If the plane was brought down by a Tor then that is going to be obvious when the autopsies are performed.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2020 21:25 utc | 65

Slightly off-topic, but Putin was mentioned above.

I want to point attention once again to the strange absence of Russia/Putin in the whole affair since the murder of Suleimani.
Only on Jan. 4th was there contact between Zarif(Iran) and Lavrov(Russia), and it was initiated by Zarif!

Unless I'm missing something -- this is giving someone the cold shoulder if ever there was! Is Russia cross with Iran over something??

Posted by: bjd | Jan 9 2020 21:27 utc | 66

Actually, I'm still waiting for Obama's 'definitive proof' of a BUK missile launch to take down MH-17.

Mr. Obama? We're waiting......

Posted by: Occams | Jan 9 2020 21:27 utc | 67

The video & location is compliant with missile theory. The haste of Iran to buldozer the site amount to avow. Also, the fact that IRan AA is unable to differentiate a cruise missile with a fat slow civil plane 50m wide, is compliant with Iran ineffectiveness to protect themselves in Syria from Israel air strikes.

Posted by: murgen23 | Jan 9 2020 21:28 utc | 68

I wish the Iranians had halted all civilian traffic that night, for this precise reason and the question is why didn’t they. This is all US and Israel need to deflect attention from their atrocities. Who knows, maybe it shot down but if it was I highly doubt it was by Iranians.

Given the state of Being planes, not hard to believe a mechanical failure, though.

Posted by: Alpi | Jan 9 2020 21:32 utc | 69


Just an asinine desire to 'please' Tel Aviv. It's even worse now with a Zionist supported and funded Ukranian firster in one of the highest Cabinet portfolio's in Canada, and a PM that is pretty much a total puppet.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jan 9 2020 21:33 utc | 70

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jan 9 2020 21:07 utc | 57

As usual, what was the motive for the Iranian govt? There is none. Who benefits? That's obvious. Why the Ukrainian jet?

If I was asked that question I would say "Because I can prepare prepare in safety in Ukraine which is friendly to the US neocons (V. Nuland) "

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 21:36 utc | 71

@ murgen23 68

But they sure can precise hit airfields and oil installations, you gotta admit.

Posted by: Alpi | Jan 9 2020 21:38 utc | 72

maybe using another boeing caused disaster to push the war narrative. win win, boeing avoids the blame and the warmongers get another fake reason to go to war.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 9 2020 21:39 utc | 73

Non | Jan 9 2020 20:53 utc | 51

Exactly. The very fact that military units would be on high alert makes it even less likely they would somehow convince themselves that a large plane flying much slower than military aircraft, having taken off from Tehran and climbing outbound, transmitting a civilian transponder code, was some kind of threat. Has to be the least likely of all possibilities.

It did cross my mind that a small, MANPAD missile might be able to do small enough damage as to not cause the plane to immediately disintegrate, assuming the plane was still at low enough altitude. It is not inconceivable that the US would order a sleeper cell to take down a civilian plane, sending a message to Iran that while you may be able to strike our military targets at will, we have no compunction in responding with a strike against your civilians. But I'm certainly still leaning toward lousy maintenance on a plane that can least tolerate poor maintenance, a Boeing. And lord knows the US doesn't want that subject brought up again!

Posted by: J Swift | Jan 9 2020 21:40 utc | 74

Have you seen that? "Ukranian Whistleblower Reveals MH-17 Tragedy Was Orchestrated by Poroshenko and British Secret Service
Mythology That MH-17 Downing Was Done by Donbass Volunteers Has Fallen Apart"

Posted by: Anna | Jan 9 2020 21:41 utc | 75

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 9 2020 21:25 utc | 65

Yep, this won't survive for long if the experts Iran has been inviting have an inch of self respect.
Boeing will need exemption from sanctions to take part in the investigation.

It is a huge financial issue. If clear that it was a technical defect Boeing will have to pay the families of the victims, never mind the added bad publicity. If Ukraine international airlines did something wrong in the maintenance of the plane (that was done the day before the accident) Ukrainian airways or the maintenance contractor will have to pay/go bankrupt. If Iran did it they will have to pay eventually. If terror act I presume no one will pay.

Iranian accidentally shooting the plane is extremely unlikely when you look at the map and the direction the plane was taking. It seems impossible looking at the crash site - and journalists have been photographing the crash site right after the crash itself arriving practically the same time as first responders.

It is a stupid psyop when they realized that doing this investigation internationally Iran has come out of Western isolation - Canada had no relations with Iran since 2012.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 21:42 utc | 76

Also, did anybody factor in this already: The FAA banned US airlines from flying over Iran and Iraq after a missile attack on US troops?

Posted by: bjd | Jan 9 2020 21:44 utc | 77

It seems it serves the purpose of a diversion from the real story, the US drone assassination and stand down after its base was hit with Iranian missiles.

We are given 2 options here, a missle shoot down or mechanical failure. Neither is likely to be true. Its too much of a coincidence to be an accident and Its too unlikely Iran would be responsible (no motive and not that incredibly incompetent to confuse an airliner with an attack). All it takes is a Ukrainian mechanic operating on instructions from higher up. Thats likely what caused the delay on the ground.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 9 2020 21:45 utc | 78

An alleged video showing a projectile downing the plane has surfaced on the internet. It was imediately classified as "verified" by the media:

Watch: Video Reportedly Captures Moment Iranian Missile Downs Ukrainian Airliner

Make your own conclusions.

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 21:46 utc | 79

Posted by: bjd | Jan 9 2020 21:27 utc | 66

I want to point attention once again to the strange absence of Russia/Putin in the whole affair since the murder of Suleimani.
Only on Jan. 4th was there contact between Zarif(Iran) and Lavrov(Russia), and it was initiated by Zarif!

I dare not second guess 4-D Chess player Putin but I am certain that Russia must have studied closely the near disaster it was facing had Khodorkovsky/Berezovsky tandem taken over the levers of power in Russia. What they are up to now I have no idea but Putin appears to have "usually normal" relations with Israel, whatever that means.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 21:47 utc | 80

Despite your valiant efforts at scientific reason and a concern for forensic reality, we all know that the doubt, the tension and the interests in play will spin this tragedy into whatever the US and its proxies (Canada this time) want. Even turning on the internet these days fills me with ennui and fatigue. The global shitshow will just cruise on regardless of what we bluster on about here in our impotence. We're like a support group for Terminally Powerless Anonymous:

ME:"Hi I'm Patroklos, and I have a problem with serial commenting on the neoliberal order and an avaricious US global hegemony and I've been sober for 1 day"
YOU: "Hi Patroklos..."

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 9 2020 22:00 utc | 81

If the FAA, as I noted in (77), sent out a NOTAMS, and the assumption is that all major airlines usually follow such a notice, the question is: at what time was that NOTAMS lifted? Was is lifted at the time the airliner took off? If not, may the airline have been negligent?

Posted by: bjd | Jan 9 2020 22:04 utc | 82

Posted by: Walter | Jan 9 2020 20:55 utc | 52

It is a sad topic but that was a good one. Gave me a smile. Thanks, Walter.
If it wouldn't be so true...

Posted by: Cemi | Jan 9 2020 22:04 utc | 83

So who is Nariman Gharib that allegedly recieved the footage? Why was he selected?

There are some info on google, he seems to be some cyber activist that do not like the iranian state.

Does that tell us who could have sent him the video? Namely person, parties that equally do not like the iranian state and want it hurt by the release of the video? (If the video is real).

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 22:04 utc | 84

Crash site is a tragedy. Debri as far as eye can see. Just like Shanksville, PA and Pentagon in 2001. Just tragic.

Posted by: Alpi | Jan 9 2020 22:10 utc | 85

@ 46 Jackrabbit

I agree with you on this one. Long live dissenters like Circe and you who sometimes annoy me but keep the tone of the threads lively and stimulating and sort of high level and maybe make us question group thinking. I am sure I annoy people too but heaven forbid we end up like james... Now I have done it...

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 9 2020 22:15 utc | 86

Posted by: Alpi | Jan 9 2020 22:10 utc | 85

Just like Shanksville, PA

Sorry but No. That was a hole in the ground !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 22:16 utc | 87


To your final query: Because they are compliant. Because they do anything for money. Because in minds of some they are sympathetic. Sounds better than bribing someone from Burkina Faso.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 9 2020 22:17 utc | 88

To b:
What can we make of NOTAMS here?
I am not an expert -- you are. Was there still a NOTAM in effect when the plane took off??

Posted by: bjd | Jan 9 2020 22:29 utc | 89

@ Tom_LX 87

Do you always need a sarcasm disclaimer? I thought you would pick that up.

Posted by: Alpi | Jan 9 2020 22:30 utc | 90

@61 Zanon

I do not pretend to have extensive knowledge of the Iran-Canadian affairs but it likely goes back to the US embassy hostage situation and the role Canada played. Others more knowledgable may confirm but I expect the large Iranian-Canadian expat community includes people hostile to the current government in a manner similar to the way Ukrainian-Canadians are virulently Russophobic. Political parties currying support by playing with immigrant politics is nothing new in Canada. It's an interesting coincidence that this meddling in immigrant politics is often associated with planes falling out of the sky and Canadians dying. The timing and fact that this was a Ukrainian jet stinks to high heaven and I expect the truth of what happened will be an abomination which is standard operating procedure for TPTB.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jan 9 2020 22:30 utc | 91

Trudeau Says Evidence Indicates Iranian Missile Brought Down Ukrainian Flight

"US officials shared intelligence with Canada..."

An outrageous and unfounded concoction. Justin Trudeau's 'weapons of mass destruction' moment in history. PS @61: 'What drives the Canadian attitude on Iran?' The most powerful Israel lobby in the western world bar none. And the Banderite lobby with which it is linked isn't too shabby either.

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jan 9 2020 22:32 utc | 92

Posted by: Alpi | Jan 9 2020 22:30 utc | 90

Sorry Alpi but I'm on my second Cuba Libre and the neurons are not firing as perfectly as they should.

Apologies :-)

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 22:32 utc | 93

I'm starting to think gross negligence of the airline.

Posted by: bjd | Jan 9 2020 22:34 utc | 94

Never fear, the intrepid Eliot Higgins is here!

Just as he did for the MH17 Ukraine crash, I am sure that Mr. Bellingscat can accurately discern what happened to this Ukrainian airliner by utilizing the crack digital forensic skills that he developed while playing World of Warcraft video games and "inspecting" women's underwear samples from the lingerie company that he used to work for.

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 9 2020 22:34 utc | 95

Thanks Sad Canuck and John Gilberts for the answers, I also remember the Harper regime, explicitly zionist.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 22:35 utc | 96

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 9 2020 22:34 utc | 95

You can be sure that they know exactly where Putin was standing when he hot the FIRE button.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 22:36 utc | 97

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 22:36 utc | 97

I have to say that drinking Cuba Libre is not too helpful in formulating comments. There is a huge difference between "hot" and "hit"

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 22:39 utc | 98

Remember Neda Agha-Soltan? A beautiful Iranian woman, walking back from the 2009 Green Color Revolution in Iran, caught on video as someone (Evil Iranian Agents, they tell us) shot her in the chest and she died a horrible death, on camera. Within hours, the video was all over the world-wide media.
What were the odds of that? Rather close to the odds that someone was randomly videoing empty sky in the middle of the night, I'm guessing.
I heard that two passengers checked in, checked their luggage, but did not get on the plane.
So the debris field is as far as they eye can see?
Sounds like an explosive event, to me.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jan 9 2020 22:41 utc | 99

Mr. Zelensky cut short his trip to Oman, where he was spending the holidays, and was returning to Kyiv. “Horrible news from the Middle East,” he said in a post on Facebook. “My sincere condolences to the relatives and loved ones of all of the passengers and crew members.”

While airlines in the former Soviet Union have a generally poor safety record, Ukraine International Airlines says on its website that its safety is audited and meets Federal Aviation Administration standards for code-sharing flights with foreign partners. It had not previously suffered a fatal crash, according to a list of Ukrainian aircraft accidents compiled by the Flight Safety Foundation.

(emphasis mine)
That's 'code sharing' (I don't know what that is).
But does it usually follow FAA issued NOTAMS...?

Posted by: bjd | Jan 9 2020 22:41 utc | 100

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