“Iran Jet Disaster A Setup?” by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich and Finian Cunningham (Information Clearing House)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich and Finian Cunningham follows:
The 19-second video published by the New York Times last week showing the moment an Iranian missile hit a passenger jet has prompted much social media skepticism.
Questions arise about the improbable timing and circumstances of recording the precise moment when the plane was hit.
The newspaper ran the splash story on January 9, the day after a Ukrainian airliner was brought down near Tehran. It was headlined: ‘Video Shows Ukrainian Plane Being Hit Over Iran’. All 176 people onboard were killed. Two days later, the Iranian military admitted that one of its air defense units had fired at the plane in the mistaken belief that it was an incoming enemy cruise missile.
“A smoking gun” was how NY Times’ journalist Christiaan Triebert described the video in a tweet. Triebert works in the visual investigations team at the paper. In the same tweet, he thanked – “a very big shout out” – to an Iranian national by the name of Nariman Gharib “who provided it [the video] to the NY Times, and the videographer, who would like to remain anonymous”.
The anonymous videographer is the person who caught the 19-second clip which shows a missile striking Flight PS752 shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Khomenei airport at around 6.15 am. This person, who remains silent during the filming while smoking a cigarette (the smoke briefly wafts over the screen), is standing in the suburb of Parand looking northwest. His location was verified by the NY Times using satellite data. The rapid way the newspaper’s technical resources were marshaled raises a curious question about how a seemingly random video submission was afforded such punctilious attention.
But the big question which many people on social media are asking is: why was this “videographer” standing in a derelict industrial area outside Tehran at around six o’clock in the morning with a mobile phone camera training on a fixed angle to the darkened sky? The airliner is barely visible, yet the sky-watching person has the camera pointed and ready to film a most dramatic event, seconds before it happened. That strongly suggests, foreknowledge…
Turns out that Nariman Gharib, the guy who received the video and credited by the NY Times for submitting it, is a vociferous anti-Iranian government dissident who does not live in Iran. He ardently promotes regime change in his social media posts.
Christiaan Triebert, the NY Times’ video expert, who collaborated closely with Gharib to get the story out within hours of the incident, previously worked as a senior investigator at Bellingcat. Bellingcat calls itself an independent online investigative journalism project, but numerous critics accuse it of being a media adjunct to Western military intelligence. Bellingcat has been a big proponent of media narratives smearing the Russian and Syrian governments over the MH17 shoot-down in Ukraine in 2014 and chemical weapons attacks.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
“The Iranian military has claimed this was the nature of the shoot-down error. It seems plausible given the existing electronic warfare used by the Pentagon.” Then this is the first time that the Iranian military’s thoughts have been conveyed to this reader. This is a very interesting report.
I read a report on Fort Russ, which I found utterly confusing and I now realize that that report may have been confusing because key elements were left out, namely elements that Finian here relates to us. The Fort Russ article mentioned human error and culprits. I scratched my head over that one. Why is someone who commits an error a ‘culprit’?
And are we going to see some grunt get sacrificed in order to cover up higher-ups who are responsible for ‘policy’? Grounding or not grounding civilian aircraft during a crisis is a policy decision. The psychos could not exploit this radar-fooling tech if the Iranians had simply grounded all civilian aircraft during the crisis.
I am eager to know what is discovered about all this in the coming days.
The Fort Russ article by Joaquin Flores: “BREAKING: Iran Admits it Shot Down Flight 752 – Citing Human Error”
And then I came across an article on SOTT, by Joe Quinn, that added much detail to Soraya and Finian’s report. It is titled “Was Iranian Missile Operator Tricked Into Shooting Down The Ukrainian Airlines Plane Over Tehran?”
An excerpt from Joe Quinn’s above article follows:
For some as yet unknown reason, our guy had suddenly become convinced that the Boeing 737 was an ‘enemy target’. As per protocol, he had requested authorization to launch, but his superiors could not be reached because of ‘some problem with the communication network’. Again according to protocol, he had a 10-second window in which to decide whether to launch or not. Still convinced the 737 was a cruise missile or enemy aircraft, he launched the two missiles that sealed the fate of the 178 people on board.
The Iranian government and military has taken full responsibility for the shooting down of Flight 752, but no one has yet explained why a presumably well-trained missile system operator, having watched 9 commercial airliners fly past him that night, was so convinced that the 10th one was an enemy target that he made a decision – by himself – to shoot it down.
Iran purchased 29 Tor-M1 air-defense systems from Russia in late 2005. In 2012, Wikileaks revealed that they may have quickly become compromised…
Unluckily for Iran, two years after their large purchase of M1s, the Russians rolled out Tor-M2E which, significantly upgraded, included “protection against spoofing.” As it relates to general internet usage, spoofing means:
“when a hacker or malicious individual impersonates another user or device on a network, duping users or systems into believing they are communicating or interacting with a different person or website.”
In military terms however, spoofing usually refers to radar-spoofing and involves capturing enemy radar signals and sending them back in an altered format in order to confuse the radar operator about what he is seeing…
Another way that the Tor-M1 system (and operator) could have been ‘spoofed’ that night is through alteration of the identifying signals sent by the transponder on the Ukrainian airliner. The newer ADS-B transponder systems that are today on most airliners are known to be vulnerable to hacking. Of most concern to transport authorities is the potential for hackers to inject ‘ghost aircraft’ into the ATC system, but it is equally possible for a hacker to inject data directly into the aircraft’s ADS-B so that it transmits false data about its identity, location, speed and direction.
In 2012, researchers from the Air Force Institute of Technology showed that a variety of “false injection” attacks can be readily coded on a commercial software-defined radio platform and launched from the ground or air with a cheap antenna. Attacks could cause aircraft to believe a collision is imminent, flood the airspace with hundreds of false transmissions, or prevent reception of legitimate messages…
Another curious part of the official story of the shoot-down of the Ukrainian plane involves a clique of Iranians who were responsible for documenting and distributing video footage of the missile launch and its impact with the plane, the crash, and photographs of what are allegedly the remains of the Tor-M1 missile.
On January 9th, an Instagram account called ‘Rich Kids of Tehran’ – described as “a popular social media account showcasing Iran’s young and wealthy as they flaunt their wealth and jet around the world” – posted a video showing what was apparently a mid-air explosion. That same day, the New York Times contacted the administrator of the ‘Rich Kids of Tehran’ account and received the video in high resolution, and later confirmed its authenticity.
related: “Soleimani assassination only one of many (and not the most consequential) US acts of war against Iran” by Stephen Gowans (Stephen Gowans)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
While the assassination of an Iranian general by a US drone attack in Iraq has been construed in some quarters as a consequential act of war, it is only one, in a long series of US actions, that constitute de facto acts of war by the United States against Iran that have caused considerable harm to the country.
Ever since Iranians overthrew the US puppet ruler, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1979, Washington has pursued an unceasing campaign of aggression against the sovereign state with the aim of returning Iran to its orbit. Since 2018, US aggression has intensified. In a stepped up effort to topple the independence-minded government in Tehran, Washington has undertaken campaigns of destabilization on top of information-, cyber-, and economic-warfare—significant aggressions against which the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani is but a minor act…
To destroy Iran’s economy, Washington has acted to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero. Additionally, by “sanctioning many of the country’s largest banks, including its central bank, it has severed most of Iran’s financial ties to the world. Other major non-oil sources of revenue have also been targeted—including the auto, aluminum, and petrochemical sectors—and insurers are prohibited from covering Iranian shipments,” according to The Wall Street Journal.  The sanctions, in the words of US president Donald Trump, are “massive.”  Indeed, the United States has used its economic weight and pressure on other countries to impose a total embargo on Iran, adding the Islamic republic to the list of countries now facing a total US embargo, including Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Cuba.  Significantly, all of these countries share a single thing in common: refusal to submit to US domination.
The “massive” sanctions are hardly limited, surgical, or targeted—that is, restricted to government figures with exemptions for the civilian population. On the contrary, as the Iranian diplomat Majid Takht-Ravanchi explained to the United Nations Security Council in June,
The sanctions are basically designed to harm the general public, particularly those who are vulnerable, such as women, children, the elderly and patients. The sanctions harm the poor more than the rich, the ill more than the healthy and infants and children more than adults. In short, those who are most vulnerable suffer the most. For instance, patients who have severe conditions and therefore need scarce and expensive medicines and advanced medical equipment, which in most cases must be imported, suffer the most.
“Sanctions aren’t an alternative to war,” tweeted Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif in June. “They ARE war.”
related: ““We Do Not Seek War,” Says President Who Just Started A War” by Caitlin Johnstone (Caitlin Johnstone.com)
Caitlin’s statement could profitably have been qualified in order to make it clear that she was talking about a ‘hotter’ war.
related: “The Long Planned U.S. Assassinations In Iraq Will Increase Its Political Chaos” by ? (Moon of Alabama)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
The Trump administration has given various justification for its assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani and commander Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. It claimed that there was an ‘imminent threat’ of an incident, even while not knowing what, where or when it would happen, that made the assassination necessary. Trump later said the thread was a planned bombing of four U.S. embassies. His defense secretary denied that.
That has raised the suspicion that the decision to kill Soleimani had little to do with current events but was a long planned operation. NBC News now reports that this is exactly the case:
President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.
The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.
The idea to kill Soleimani, a regular General in an army with which the U.S. is not war, came like many other bad ideas from John Bolton…
There was no intelligence of any ‘imminent threat’ or anything like that.
This was an operation that had been worked on for 18 month. Trump signed off on it more than half a year ago. Those who had planned it just waited for a chance to execute it.
We can not even be sure that the embassy bombing had caused Trump to give the final go. It might have been that the CIA and Pentagon were just waiting for a chance to kill Soleimani and Muhandis, the leader of Katib Hizbullah, at the same time. Their meeting at Baghdad airport was not secret and provided the convenient opportunity they had been waiting for.
Together Soleimani and Muhandis were the glue that kept the many Shia factions in Iraq together. The armed ones as well as the political ones.
The bolding in the above quote is mine. As Caitlin Johnstone does, MoA is setting aside the de facto state of war that exists between the US and Iran. He too should qualify his statements in that regard. Otherwise, This is another interesting, informative report.