January 11, 2020

"Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Saturday acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jetliner..."

"Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guard’s aerospace division, said his unit accepts 'full responsibility' for the shootdown. In an address broadcast by state TV, he said that when he learned about the downing of the plane, 'I wished I was dead.' He said Guard forces ringing the capital had beefed up their air defenses and were at the 'highest level of readiness,' fearing that the U.S. would retaliate. He said an officer made the 'bad decision' to open fire on the plane after mistaking it for a cruise missile....  The majority of the plane crash victims were Iranians or Iranian-Canadians.... Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani blamed the shootdown of the plane in part on 'threats and bullying' by the United States after the killing of Soleimani.... 'A sad day,' Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. 'Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster....' Iran’s acknowledgement of responsibility was likely to renew questions of why authorities did not shut down the country’s main international airport and its airspace after the ballistic missile attack, when they feared U.S. reprisals.... '"

AP reports.

ADDED: I object to the language "Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Saturday acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jetliner...." The word "acknowledged" assumes that we know the truth and Iran is coming into alignment with that truth. But we don't know for certain. I understand the sloppiness of thinking that causes ordinary people to jump to "acknowledged" when they feel they know the truth, but journalism demands rigor. The New York Times headline for this story is properly done: "Iran Says It Unintentionally Shot Down Ukrainian Airliner."

BUT: I have to complain about the NYT headline. Iran does not deny that it intentionally shot at what it shot at. So there was intent. It needs to be reworded to isolate the part of the action that is claimed to have been unintentional. The NYT was better than AP, but if I were working on writing the headline, I would not stop where the NYT did. Iran's assertion is that it intentionally shot at something it wrongly believed was a cruise missile.

161 comments:

rhhardin said...

Unintentionally but deliberately.

rehajm said...

‘US adventurism’. They spent some money on a good pr person...

It was the equivalent of a cartoon anvil dropped on his head.

Clyde said...

Surprising exactly nobody with an IQ above room temperature. Some jumpy air defense guy screwed up bigtime.

chuck said...

>> 'threats and bullying' by the United States <<

The Democrats and Iranians seem to be allies of convenience.

Lucid-Ideas said...

"Lord make my enemies ridiculous" now has an addendum. "...and incompetent."

Lucid-Ideas said...

I said yesterday they would've had minimum 60-70 seconds to check telemetry and establish a track proving it was an airliner. Airliners don't fly like tomahawks. Total BS.

rehajm said...

Trudeau seems like the type that will hop on the US adventurism wagon.

Howard said...

Conspiracy ideation is not lucidity.

gspencer said...

"In an address broadcast by state TV, [Gen. Hajizadeh] said that when he learned about the downing of the plane, 'I wished I was dead.'"

That can be arranged.

tim maguire said...

The part missing from the explanation, which so far no reporter has thought to ask is, why?

Tehran airport is a major airport, flights would have been arriving and departing every few minutes. So soon after take-off, this plane would have been following a flight plan along an established route that was used by all planes leaving Tehran. So what set it apart from all those other planes that weren’t shot down that night?

readering said...

Lost AA's train of thought.

Hagar said...

"Acknowledge" was correct. If the evidence already published was not overwhelming - with video of the missile tracks and shots of the shrapnel pocked wreckage- they never would have acknowledged.

Harsh Pencil said...

Like an idiot, read the comments at StarTribune. Half the comments explicitly blame Trump and Trumpists, one of them saying "Trumpists, own it." These people are insane.

rehajm said...

Lemme try:

If Democrats hadn’t impeached Trump he wouldn’t have been so mad...

Nope. It doesn’t work. Not sure why they do it...

MacMacConnell said...

"If Democrats hadn’t impeached Trump he wouldn’t have been so mad..."

So it's Nancy Pelosi's fault. :-)

Howard said...

Well professor if you want to pick nits the Iranians admitted to intentionally firing at what they thought was a cruise missile they did not intentionally shoot at an airliner so that act was there for ipso facto unintentional.

AllenS said...

OOOOPS!

Oso Negro said...

It was a somber flight on Ukraine International Airlines from Bangkok to Kiev the day after the shootdown.

Karen of Texas said...

"...beefed up their air defenses and were at the 'highest level of readiness,' fearing that the U.S. would retaliate."

So, he acknowledges that they engaged in an act that by their thinking should have incurred retaliation. Because killing and American and attacking our embassy did get a response...obviously not one they were expecting, but still, points to their desire to escalate, does it not?

Beasts of England said...

’...if you want to pick nits the Iranians admitted to intentionally firing at what they thought was a cruise missile...’

I think ‘claimed’ would be more accurate and honest than ‘admitted’. Further, I’d say ‘claimed without evidence’.

Hagar said...

AA sounding like Chuck?

jnseward said...

Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Nancy Pelosi, and the foreign minister of Iran all agree. It's Trump's fault.

stevew said...

Mistakenly.

It's just this war and that bastard Trump!

rhhardin said...

Seek out J.L.Austin's "Three Ways of Spilling Ink," on intentionally, on purpose, and deliberately. Amusing examples of various combinations.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Howard

I understand how current events can be triggering and coincidence is comforting, so whatever helps you sleep at night bud.

Bob Boyd said...

Alternative headline:
Iranians Now Claim They Mistook Departing Airliner For Incoming Cruise Missile. (Developing)

gilbar said...

an officer made the 'bad decision' to open fire on the plane after mistaking it for a cruise missile

a Cruise Missile, flying along at EIGHT THOUSAND FEET???????
A CRUISE MISSILE, FLYING ALONG AT EIGHT THOUSAND FEET???????
A CRUISE MISSILE, FLYING ALONG AT EIGHT THOUSAND FEET?????

exhelodrvr1 said...

Democrats, Iran, and LLRs coordinate their talking points for the weekend talk shows and blogs.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"So what set it apart from all those other planes that weren’t shot down that night?"

Maybe it was late with activating the transponder, maybe the radar operators unintentionally switched the scale on the radar scope and misinterpreted it ...

Any number of possibilities

Hagar said...

Most all of the IED's exploded in Iraq since 2003 had critical components manufactured in Iran and were planted by locals hired and paid for by Suleimani's Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

Howard said...

Seem you the one triggered, lucid. Conspiracy theories are stupid but however people that believe in them are merely ignorant. there is some evidence that conspiracy ideation is a sign of mental illness Whatever helps you get through the day,tiger.

stevew said...

A question: do we even have cruise missiles in the vicinity?

Blaine said...

Headlines need to be simple and straight forward. Iran says it accidentally shot down the airplane, is simple and straight forward. Adding what Iran thought would blow the whole headline out of proportion.

Beasts of England said...

’do we even have cruise missiles in the vicinity?’

Not in the vicinity of eight thousand feet AGL and climbing.

gilbar said...

stevew said...
A question: do we even have cruise missiles in the vicinity?


That's what i wondered!
But, people (wikipedia people) call AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missiles: Cruise Missiles

So, then i thought; maybe THEY'RE not terrain following? But; they are
So, yes, we have "cruise missiles in theater... BUT!
A CRUISE MISSILE, FLYING ALONG AT EIGHT THOUSAND FEET???????

Big Mike said...

The word "acknowledged" assumes that we know the truth and Iran is coming into alignment with that truth. But we don't know for certain.

The Hell we don’t.

I understand the sloppiness of thinking that causes ordinary people to jump to "acknowledged" when they feel they know the truth, but journalism demands rigor.

Where have you been since circa 2001?

Bob Boyd said...

The poor dears were so frightened by crazy Trump that they did what any poor dear would do and just fired at the first thing that moved.
Most journos can relate, picturing themselves doing essentially the same thing only they're hiding from a gang of drunken, Maga-hat-wearing, Trump voters in a dark, scary wood in flyover country and they have somehow gotten hold of a revolver.

Sebastian said...

"Iran's assertion is that it intentionally shot at something it wrongly believed was a cruise missile"

So, war crime?

Francisco D said...

Conspiracy theories are stupid but however people that believe in them are merely ignorant. there is some evidence that conspiracy ideation is a sign of mental illness

I would be a little more generous and say that conspiracy mongers are likely to have read too many spy novels or watched too many TV dramas.

Sebastian said...

"journalism demands rigor"

ICWYDT. I like a little tongue-in-cheek sarcasm early on a weekend morning. Funny stuff.

Michael K said...

. there is some evidence that conspiracy ideation is a sign of mental illness

Especially when you are chair of the House intel committee.

Tim Wolter said...

Very similar to the USS Vincennes incident in 1988. The technology was a bit less advanced, leaving room for more human error, but shooting down an airliner based - apparently - on electronic info from a fighter jet still on the ground? Equally bad.

Reagan issued a prompt, formal diplomatic apology. The US later settled a claim with Iran in the International Court of Justice for 61 million dollars. Specific guilt was not admitted, probably reflecting the complicated nature of the screw up.

This seems a good template. The settlement should be adjusted for inflation. For extra security please notify all parties in the area as to the flight path and schedule of the jet carrying the pallet of cash to Canada.

TW

Bob Boyd said...

journalism demands rigor

You know what else demands rigor? Operating an anti-aircraft missile battery at the airport.

Jeff Brokaw said...

There was never any possibile explanation besides the blindingly obvious one: they shot down a civilian airplane and killed 176 people including many of their countrymen.

It just doesn’t matter whether it was intentional, unintentional, whether they “mistook it for a cruise missile” or not, because all that goes to state of mind prior to pressing that button. It’s completely irrelevant because there is no explanation that absolves them of 100% fault.

And “Trump made me do it” is the new “the dog ate my homework” apparently.

Leland said...

why?

Tehran airport is a major airport, flights would have been arriving and departing every few minutes. So soon after take-off


The problem shouldn't be about Air Defense wrongly tracking the airliner. The issue is Tehran knew they were going to be initiating an attack and should have grounded all flights during the volley to prevent this type of confusion. When Russia took down the Malaysian 777, the Ukrainian airspace was considered closed and other aircraft had diverted around it.

Lucien said...

My thoughts exactly, Ann. I would favor “Iran admits it shot down airliner, but claims it was unintentional.”

Krumhorn said...

We really don't need the false protection of guns, guns, guns! to protect Americans here at home. It's all a farce.

America’s armed forces are very precisely the reason we are safe here at home. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool or delusional.

- Krumhorn.

Danno said...

Absolutely right, Krumhorn.

JAORE said...

"... but journalism demands rigor..."

Why focus on days gone by, never to return?

dbp said...

A US incursion could take 3 forms: Stealth aircraft, you won't see them on radar. Cruise missiles, fly low, not at 8,000 ft and climbing. Conventional aircraft, you will know because your RADAR is being jammed and you should get away from the emitter, AGM-88 is on its way.

narciso said...

The bigger picture



https://warontherocks.com/2020/01/battle-of-the-bastions/

MacMacConnell said...

What would be cool? If Soleimani's replacement was on that airliner.

narciso said...

Much like carolyn glick referred warlier:



https://www.nysun.com/foreign/claim-that-trump-lacks-a-strategy-rings-false/90969/

Ann Althouse said...

"My thoughts exactly, Ann. I would favor “Iran admits it shot down airliner, but claims it was unintentional.”"

See, you get into trouble when you go for a fancier verb than "says."

I would not use "admits," because that implies Iran is telling the truth. Don't build in any vouching for the speaker. Just report the facts. The only facts are that Iran said something and that the airliner crashed.

Unknown said...

STOP HITTING YOURSELF

Unknown said...

Trump Derangement Syndrome

KILLS

narciso said...

Confesses might be more accurate.

Ann Althouse said...

I would say: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says that it deliberately shot down the Ukrainian jetliner, claims it mistook the passenger plane for a cruise missile.

Unknown said...

Imagine the headlines

if we shot our own plane down

for no actual reason

Different standard

than for the weak and insane

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Democrats hardest hit.

BarrySanders20 said...

The black box recording of the pilot must have convinced Iran that it couldn’t lie its way out of this. I suppose they could have claimed a rogue actor fired the SAM, but when video traced it back to their Revolutionary Guard, the game was up.

Kevin said...

Trump kills top Iranian General.

Iran retaliates by killing its own people.

News media talks about World War III.

robother said...

Buried the lede. Another Iranian General wishes he was dead. Hope Trump reads that nugget of real news and orders his DOD Make A Wish Foundation to make it happen.

walter said...

Are we getting on the ground reports from Martha?
Is her weepy Soilyman fan dude crying about the plane crash?

Big Mike said...

When Russia took down the Malaysian 777, the Ukrainian airspace was considered closed and other aircraft had diverted around it.

Almost unbelievable how many misstatements in this sentence. Russia did not shoot down MH17, it was shot down by the Russia-sponsored rebels using a Russian BUK missile. The airspace was closed, but only below a certain altitude. Literally dozens of aircraft transited that airspace on the day of the shoot-down. At the altitude MH17 was flying it should not have been targeted.

Narayanan said...

Do Airplane ever fly without navigation lights in black-out mode?
Do missiles flash lights?

Spectaculating rigor being applied.

Larry J said...


Blogger Lucid-Ideas said...
I said yesterday they would've had minimum 60-70 seconds to check telemetry and establish a track proving it was an airliner. Airliners don't fly like tomahawks. Total BS.”

People under pressure make mistakes. In 1988, the USS Vincennes was tracking an aircraft over the Strait of Hormuz. The crew thought it was an Iranian F-14 (Iran was the only other country that bought the F-14) and that it was descending. They shot it down. The problem was it was an Iranian Airbus A-300 airliner that was climbing. Everyone on board died, all 290 of them.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Iran-Air-flight-655

Bob Boyd said...

You just can't find good help these days.

John henry said...

Ann, I think, said

"journalism demands rigor"

Smells like horseshit to me.

It might be nice if journalism demanded rigor. If there is anything that 300 years of publishing has taught us, it is that there is no rigor in journalism. Never has been, probably never will be.

If a paper has a choice between actual, honest, reportage and fake news, the choice will always be made based on which attracts the most eyeballs.

The media is horseshit all the way down.

(except packaging journalists, of course)

John Henry

CWJ said...

Still, the most glaring thing about this shootdown is that the plane took off outbound from Tehran and at 7000 feet or so was undoubtedly still climbing. But this was allegedly confused for an inbound cruise missile. I also imagine that the radar signatures of a commercial 737 and a military cruise missile are different. Iranian training and discipline must consist of shoot down anything you see.

walter said...

journalism implies rigor.

BUMBLE BEE said...

The sad part is that my friends who take NYT as bible, do not parse the headlines and therefore are left with a residue of "fact". Much like those folk who "listen to TV news", in one ear and out the other leaving that troublesome "ring around the cerebrum". Thanks to The Professor to straighten these headlines up.

William said...

Whatever the circumstances regarding the downing of the airliner, the lying about it afterwards was calculated and intentional. Will the people responsible for these lies be held responsible?.....The killing of Soleilmani was part of the chain of events that led to this catastrophe. Soleilmani's prior bad behavior was part of the chain of events that led to his death. Why isolate Soleilmani's death as the prime mover in these events?

narciso said...

indeed, that's what differentiates from mh 370, kal 007 and iran air 655, in that novel I reference re the Saudi succession, the villain is the one who directed Lockerbie in part because of the events in the last incidence

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe it was human error, but at this point I don't see any reason why we should just take Iran's word for it.
Maybe they did shoot the thing down on purpose for some unknown reason. It's not conspiracy theorizing to state the possibility exists. Why assume one thing or the other?

Ray - SoCal said...

It was shot down from a missile from Russian Sponsored Rebel Territory.

Russia did supply the missile Launcher to the Russian Sponsored Rebel Territory.

BUK is the term for the family of vehicles. The Iranian may have been a BUK M1 SAM 17, but the Iranians have been mfg. their own version.

The question is, who was manning the missile launcher?

It may have been regular Russian Soldiers from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Air Defense Forces of the Russian Ground Forces, that accompanied the BUK Launcher. Little Green Men (no markings on their uniform) have a habit of showing up in areas with Russian Sponsored Rebels...

Big Mike said...

>Russia did not shoot down MH17, it was shot down by the Russia-sponsored rebels
> using a Russian BUK missile.

Bruce Hayden said...

“If a paper has a choice between actual, honest, reportage and fake news, the choice will always be made based on which attracts the most eyeballs.”

Maybe for a short period of time mid 20th Century. And maybe with independent newspapers in smaller towns. But anymore, at the national level, you either have big publishing chains (e.g. Ganett) or vanity propaganda outfits (e.g. WaPo by Bezos, NYT by Carlos Slim, etc), where profit is sacrificed for spin.

Ray - SoCal said...

What surprised me, is the Iranians after lying through their teeth, admitted the truth.

Russians, Iranians, China, and others have a tendency to Lie, Lie, and Lie. And the Western News Media accepts this, as a way to give a balanced view.

I did not expect the Iranian's to tell the truth.

Birkel said...

The Iranians are using anti-Trump and anti-American propaganda from America's domestic enemies to blunt criticism of their own mass murder.

Thanks racist fopdoodle. Thanks Royal ass Inga.

Tom T. said...

63 Canadians dead. I'm surprised Trudeau hasn't apologized already.

Narayanan said...

Turns out Iran shooting shells was prenegotiated via Swiss auspices.

Troops on ground not notified!

Iran may still have hoped to trap Trump in fog of war shoot down.

Narayanan said...

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/id-see-them-call-me-how-trump-used-encrypted-swiss-fax-machine-defuse-iran-crisis

narciso said...

well there was that fmr? diplomat dorak, who offered a preemptive apology,

Bruce Hayden said...

“Maybe it was human error, but at this point I don't see any reason why we should just take Iran's word for it.
Maybe they did shoot the thing down on purpose for some unknown reason. It's not conspiracy theorizing to state the possibility exists. Why assume one thing or the other?”

Because inadvertence and incompetency makes more sense that advertence and intentionality. With the Russian proxy shoot down in Ukrainian airspace, the Russians could, and did, make the Ukraine look incompetent and powerless in defending their own country. But in the case of Iran, what possible strategic, or even tactical, advantage did the Iranians achieve by shooting down the aircraft many hundreds of miles from any hostile forces? It couldn’t have been showing that they were callous about Iranian and foreigner lives - everyone already knew that from the upwards of a thousand of their citizenry they had just finished killing over the last several months in order to quell the unrest and protests that had been going on around the country.

robother said...

The Iranian admission kind of wrecks the MSM bid at framing this as "Civilian plane caught in crossfire" yesterday. But the day is young, maybe we'll see the term again by tonight.

narciso said...

susan henessey of the puzzle palace, was one who bit on that,

Bruce Hayden said...

“Iran may still have hoped to trap Trump in fog of war shoot down.”

Readering last night essentially called Trump an idiot. I think that this showed that he isn’t one. We didn’t have any forces or aircraft within hundreds of miles of Tehran, and likely none whatsoever within Iran at all that night. American forces had been ordered to bunker down, expect to be attacked from the air, and not to retaliate. There is a time when it makes sense to invade the airspace of an enemy on high alert. The opening night of Desert Storm was such a case - the Iraqis knew that we were coming, and the best way to counter that knowledge was overwhelming force. The killing of the Quds commander though was different. It was a good strategic move on our part, but once achieved, there was no benefit to us to continue, and escalate the matter. Thus, our immediate deescalation. I don’t think that the US expected the Iranians to shoot down the Ukrainian plane. But our deescalation made sure that we couldn't be blamed for Iranian screwups. My point here is that there really does appear to be a much more adroit hand behind American foreign adventures than there was under Obama.

narciso said...

the reaction of the Iranian officials suggests that the journal story is correct,


https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/donald-trump-and-the-mythmakers/

Bob Boyd said...

Because inadvertence and incompetency makes more sense that advertence and intentionality.

Sure, with what we know. And maybe that will continue to be the case. But why assume we know everything?

...what possible strategic, or even tactical, advantage did the Iranians achieve by shooting down the aircraft many hundreds of miles from any hostile forces?

Good question. I could speculate, but the honest answer is, we don't know. We can weigh probabilities based on incomplete information. That's all. What's wrong with admitting we don't know for sure? It's still early days.

wildswan said...

Iran admits it thought an airliner climbing at 200 mph as it departed on the same ascending flight path as other ascending airliners was a cruise missile descending at 550 miles per hour. "We thought Trump had personally developed a new weapon which would then be unpredictable," explained someone. "Besides, everyone who knew what they doing had left Tehran. And also we are orphans."

rcocean said...

Well, the guy who pushed the button did it intentionally, but I doubt the Iranian Government wanted to shoot down a random Ukrainian Airliner with a bunch of Canadians on board. Not exactly good for the tourist trade. BTW, NPR says this AM, that "SOME Canadians blame Trump for the deaths, since without the assassination of the Iranian General, Iran would never have made the error".

Of course, SOME Canadians blame Iran. But on NPR "Some People" always agree with them.

NCMoss said...

Iran badly needed their own version of Stanislav Petrov.

Bob Smith said...

Dig in on the passenger list. This was a deliberate shootdown.

rcocean said...

Without evidence, the MSM claims the shootdown was unintentional.

Mark said...

The word "acknowledged" assumes that we know the truth and Iran is coming into alignment with that truth. But we don't know for certain.

The objectionable word here is "we."

Fair-minded people all DID know/strongly suspect almost immediately that the plane was shot down by the Iranians.

People with a knee-jerk, prejudiced view of Trump feigned uncertainty on the matter.

Phidippus said...

AA: "The word "acknowledged" assumes that we know the truth and Iran is coming into alignment with that truth. But we don't know for certain."

How admirably even-handed of you.

I guess it's a case of the old lawyer's advice that if the facts are against you, argue the law.

narciso said...

yes, the approach vector, direction speed, probably even id beacon, all count against this being accidental,

Duke Dan said...

NY Times has a video of the plane being hit by the missile. Apparently I’m supposed to believe that some random person in the dark of night was filming a plane they could no longer see in the sky and just happened to capture this event. Strains credulity. Now if you were planning to blame this on incoming US missiles instead it would be convenient to have such a video. That this video exists by happenstance is probably as likely as all those cameras in Epstein’s jail just happening to be malfunctioning.

JaimeRoberto said...

The media seem to take direction from the intelligence services these days. The intelligence services determined, probably correctly, that Iran shot down the plane. In that context, Iran was just acknowledging. Plenty of other times the intelligence agencies, and hence the media, aren't so truthful or accurate.

rcocean said...

Civilian airliners file flight plans and also have "trackers" that allow Military Radars to identify them as Civilian Airliners. Plus, you would assume any incoming US missile/plane would've been picked up way before it reached Tehran. I suppose we can blame it on "poor training".

Big Mike said...

@Ray, Wikipedia describes the BUK as a "missile system," made up of multiple tracked vehicles, including launchers, radar, command vehicle, etc.

It has been reported that UIA752 was shot down by a Tor M1. If true, then this lends credence to the notion that UIA752 was mistaken for an American cruise missile or precision munition because (again, as per Wikipedia) "Tor was ... designed from the start to shoot down precision guided weapons like the AGM-86 ALCM day and night, in bad weather and jamming situations". Note that the Tor is expensive, and one wouldn't waste an expensive, highly capable missile on a relatively slow-moving passenger aircraft climbing out after takeoff.

The AGM-86 ALCM is designed to be dropped by a B-52 bomber flying at high altitudes a substantial distance away from the target. So the fact that the UIA752 was at 8000 feet is not a counter-indication that the passenger jet was mis-identified as an American missile.

Things we don't know at this time: (1) How many other passenger jets took off from Tehran's airport without being targeted? (2) Hours before UIA752 took off the US closed the air space over both Iran and Iraq. Did the pilot of UIA752 not receive the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)? If he did, did he ignore it or or did he report it up the line but was he then overruled by higher managers at his airline? (3) Did the Iranian military know that the US issued a no-fly order and did they therefore assume that any aircraft that showed up on their radar had to be an American missile? And, yes, #3 is closely related to question #1.

Kevin said...

Without evidence, the MSM claims the shootdown was unintentional.

Such would not be the case if the Americans had done it.

roadgeek said...

Well, although there was certainly some incompetence involved, it's good to remember the USS Vincennes incident. I hold no brief for the Iranians, but mistakes can occur anywhere.

JSTRM said...

Better headline — Some people did something. There, I fixed it.

Josephbleau said...

Iran seems to be run by amateur dictators. Why would they have allowed the video of the shoot down and the photos of the missile guidance unit to be released. And after release, are the photographers buried in some SAVAK dungeon having their teeth drilled? If you are going to be a dictator, at least display some elementary competence.

Yancey Ward said...

I think the act was deliberate, but with an unintended target. However, I would like one additional piece of information- the entire passenger list. I want to know who, exactly, was on that plane.

narciso said...

yes passive voice works best,


http://www.journal14.com/2020/01/07/it-seems-that-jennifer-rubin-is-more-concerned-with-persian-cultural-sites-than-american-soldiers-lives/comment-page-1/#comment-53816

Wince said...

From a purely legal causation analysis, Trump was a more proximate cause in the death of the 50-plus "mourners" in the crowd crush at Soleimani's funeral.

The idea that because Iran was preemptively firing missiles at US bases they had a reasonable fear of counterattack, which shifts fault to Trump for the shoot-down, is ridiculous.

Iran's admission as a supervening cause overcomes the res ipsa loquitur presumption of fault imposed on airlines in crash cases.

Arashi said...

Having been in the military, I know for a fact that a cruise missle that is inbound to a target is not at 8000 feet. Shortly after being dropped from a B-52, they go into terrain following mode - like a few hundred feet above ground level - on their way to the target to confuse enemy radar and make it very difficult to acquire a fireing solution on them. If folks remember from the Iraq 100 Day War, journalists in Baghdad saw inbound cruise missles from their hotel flying down the street and making turns, all at about eye level or so from their rooms on (if i remember correclty) the 20th floor or so. SO, no, the outbound civilian airliner was not confused with an inbound cruise missle.

Also, all airplanes, small civilian, commercial civilian, and even military all have an IFF box (identification, friend or foe) on board that is set to squak an appropriate code. Even military aircraft coming back to thei aircraft carrier squak appropriate codes on their IFF so the carrier does not shoot them down. If in combat and the plane has electronic issues, there is a route they can flay back to the carrier if their IFF is not working so they don't get shot down.

They Ukranian flight was a normally scheduled flight and part of the checkoff for the flight crew would have been make sure thier IFF is set correctly along with all of their radios and navigation equipment - so unless their IFF was not working, which would have been indicated to the tower at takeoff, or indicated to their ground crew and flight delayed until it worked, it would have been obvious to the missle crew that it was a civilian aircraft.

So, nope, the Iranians did not unintentionally shoot the airliner down. Why they did it we will most likely never know. We do know they bulldozed the crash site to remove all evidence and we do know they are very reluctant to hand over the flight data recorders to third parties.

Of course, it ia all someone elses fault, as in the modern age, nobody, but nobody takes any responsibility for the things they do. It is always someone elses fault.

Amadeus 48 said...

“Journalism demands rigor.”

Althouse, don’t be naive. If NYT or WaPoop made that assertion in a headline, you’d think of 1000 counter-examples immediately.

Big Mike said...

@Arashi, thank you for clarifying how an ALCM works. I will take your comment as a friendly amendment to my comment at 10:47.

Big Mike said...

@Arashi, however I caution you about an old saying. “You can make a piece of gear idiot proof but you cannot make it sailor-proof.” I imagine the same goes double for the Iranian military.

(Why yes, I did work for a defense contractor. Why do you ask?)

Original Mike said...

"Also, all airplanes, small civilian, commercial civilian, and even military all have an IFF box (identification, friend or foe) on board that is set to squak an appropriate code. "

And yet the Vincennes shot down Flight 655.

Amadeus 48 said...

By counter-example, I mean a time when neither NYT nor WaPoop were rigorous in the least way.

Bob said...

Iran, the 800 pound Keystone Kop of the Middle East.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Bob Smith said...
Dig in on the passenger list. This was a deliberate shootdown.
**************

Why? Was Congressman Larry McDonald on board?

s n o r t

CR said...

Iran: Trump made us shoot down a plane.
Brooks: Trump has made us stupid.

Is there anything he can't do?

wholelottasplainin' said...

Arashi: so unless their IFF was not working, which would have been indicated to the tower at takeoff, or indicated to their ground crew and flight delayed until it worked, it would have been obvious to the missle crew that it was a civilian aircraft.

So, nope, the Iranians did not unintentionally shoot the airliner down.
*************

Olympic-class conclusion jumping, right there.

The Iran passenger jet we shot down in 1988 was transmitting its IFF, yet...we shot it down.

There are many ways that fuck-ups can occur.

Unknown said...

Does anyone remember this from Rouhani?
Mr Rouhani responded to the US President’s threat to strike 52 Iranian sites, by posting a cryptic tweet in which he told America to never threaten Iran and to “remember the number 290”. He wrote: “Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290.#IR655. Never threaten the Iranian nation.”
Though why a Ukrainian aircraft full of Iranian-Canadian dual citizens is a puzzlement.

tcrosse said...

“You can make a piece of gear idiot proof but you cannot make it sailor-proof.”

Idiot-proofing assumes a finite supply of idiots.

JAORE said...

If the Iranians paid their military $15 per hour....

JAORE said...

"Brooks: Trump has made us stupid."

well I think Trump shouldn't take credit for something that happened decades ago, Brooksie.

Darrell said...

Most all of the IED's exploded in Iraq since 2003 had critical components manufactured in Iran and were planted by locals hired and paid for by Suleimani's Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

Suleimani was the architect of the IED tactics. Specifically, IEDs designed to maim, rather than kill, to destroy morale in Iraq and at home.

narciso said...

true but I've spelled out the differences in this situation, it's as if we had shot down a plane flying out of muscat, well to our west,

Darrell said...

And yet the Vincennes shot down Flight 655.

The Iranians shut down the transponder on Flight 655. That was the key piece of data in authorizing the firing of the missile, in the few seconds that were used to make a decision.

narciso said...

some thoughts,


https://legalinsurrection.com/2020/01/iran-still-hiding-something-about-airline-shootdown/#comments

Arashi said...

As some have said, the Iranian flight in '88 was squaking IFF. Unfortunaltey, the Iranians used to routinely have thier civilian aircraft transmit codes that identified them not as civilian aircraft, but as military. I say this having spent a large amount of time south of the striats of Hormuz during jimmy Carter's krapstorm in '79. We had very good information available to us on the Midway and the rest of the two battle groups in the area. So it was possible that the aircraft was squaking the wrong code - and they are settable from the flight deck of the aircraft. Unfortunatley, the only folks that know for sure are Iranian, and they actually consider their country to be at war with us since '79.

Also, the two events are not really the same. The Iranians shot down a civilain aircraft that just left thier own International Airport in Tehran. It was on a known flight plan. It was a normally scheduled flight. It was an all Iranian event.

Like a few have said, I really wonder who might have been on the aircraft that the Iranian regime wanted dead, and decided to use the current situation as cover. It is not like things like this have never been done by sundry groups at various times.

Unfortunately, we will never get all of the facts. I will be encouraged if the Iranians let third parties get to analyse the cockpit data recorders.

StephenFearby said...

NYT
Jan. 11, 2020, 1:23 p.m. ET

Furor in Iran and Abroad After Tehran Admits Downing Ukrainian Jetliner
Ukrainian officials suggest Iran would not have admitted responsibility if investigators from Ukraine had not found missile debris in the crash wreckage.

'...Ukrainian officials in the capital Kyiv criticized Iran’s conduct, suggesting that the Iranians would not have admitted responsibility if investigators from Ukraine had not found evidence of a missile strike in the wreckage of the crash, which killed all 176 people aboard.

Protests erupted in Tehran and other Iranian cities as dumbfounded citizens found a new reason to mistrust Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and other officials. Protest videos even showed some shouting “Khamenei is a murderer!” and anti-riot police tear-gassing violent demonstrators.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in his first reaction to Iran’s announcement, said his country would “insist on a full admission of guilt” by Tehran.

Contradictions and miscues complicated Iran’s message even as it took responsibility for the disaster. Iran’s military, in its initial admission early Saturday, said the flight’s crew had taken a sharp, unexpected turn that brought it near a sensitive military base — an assertion that was immediately disputed by the Ukrainians.

Hours later, an Iranian commander who accepted full responsibility for the disaster agreed that the Ukrainians were right.

“The plane was flying in its normal direction without any error and everybody was doing their job correctly,” said the commander, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who leads the airspace unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps — a powerful, hard-line military force. “If there was a mistake, it was made by one of our members.”

'...Mr. Danilov, the Ukrainian security official, said Iran had been forced into conceding its military had brought down the jet because the evidence of a missile strike had become overwhelmingly clear to international investigators.

He said Ukrainian experts on the ground in Iran had gathered such evidence since their arrival on Thursday despite apparent Iranian efforts to complicate the investigation, including by sweeping debris into piles rather than carefully documenting it.

“When a catastrophe happens, everything is supposed to stay in its place,” he said. “Every element is described, every element is photographed, every element is fixed in terms of its location and coordinates. To our great regret, this was not done.”

Mr. Zelensky’s office posted on Facebook photos of what appeared to be shrapnel damage on the plane wreckage and a Canadian man’s passport showing piercings about half an inch in diameter — consistent with the hypothesis that shrapnel from a surface-to-air missile hit the plane.

“We expect Iran to assure its readiness for a full and open investigation, to bring those responsible to justice, to return the bodies of the victims, to pay compensation, and to make official apologies through diplomatic channels,” Mr. Zelensky said in a post on his Facebook page. “We hope that the investigation will continue without artificial delays and obstacles.”

The official reaction from Iran was a mix of contrition and suggestions that the tragedy should be viewed as a consequence of American hostility.'

'...The Iranian expressions of remorse were met with frustration by Ukrainian aviation officials who had been struggling since the crash to get meaningful information from Iran about what had actually happened.

“Even in the statement of Iran there is a hint that our crew was acting independently, or that it could have acted differently,” said the airline director, Yevhenii Dykhne.'

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/11/world/middleeast/furor-in-iran-and-abroad-after-tehran-admits-downing-ukrainian-jetliner.html?

As I said in last night's cafe:

So, the blatant lies the Iranians were telling to the infidels since they shot down the plane was OK, even praiseworthy because they were just practicing their taqiyya.

Original Mike said...

"The Iranians shut down the transponder on Flight 655."

Is that an accepted fact? (and I'm not claiming it's not. I'm no expert on the incident.)

narciso said...

birds of a feather,

https://babalublog.com/2020/01/11/cubas-socialist-dictatorship-offers-condolence-book-for-deceased-iranian-terrorist-soleimani/

loudogblog said...

It's human nature, when you make a mistake, to state that it was 100% unintentional. Making a mistake often leads to taking deliberate actions based on the original mistake. Plus, the original mistake may have been deliberate if the belief in the situation was incorrect. It's like those situations when a police officer shoots someone who should not have been shot at. The initial error is the belief that something is a threat when is isn't. Everything after that is intentionally done to neutralize the believed threat.

Narayanan said...

Blogger Bruce Hayden said

My point here is that there really does appear to be a much more adroit hand behind American foreign adventures than there was under Obama.
______&&&&&++++++
From Day 1 of his term I have hope that Trump would navigate USA civil war by other means and foreign adventures like Aral Vorkosigan of Barrayar. (Enemies called him The Butcher of Komarr)

Jim at said...

Like an idiot, read the comments at StarTribune. Half the comments explicitly blame Trump and Trumpists, one of them saying "Trumpists, own it." These people are insane.

They're not just insane. They're the enemy.

But let's imagine for a moment Trump didn't take out Soleimani when he did. And then the predicted attacks occurred, thus killing more Americans.

And then imagine word leaked out - which it would - that Trump passed on the opportunity to take him out when he had the chance.

Imagine what these assholes would be saying then.

Narayanan said...

Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)?
++++++
How is it made available and known?

Did Iran have function internet?

CWJ said...

"The Iranians shut down the transponder on Flight 655. That was the key piece of data in authorizing the firing of the missile, in the few seconds that were used to make a decision."

I remember this was the story at the time, but I think subsequent analysis showed it to be false.

Original Mike said...

"The Iranians shut down the transponder on Flight 655."

Well, it's quite a claim. I can't think of a reason they would do that other than they wanted the U.S. to shoot the plane down.

Narayanan said...

Blogger wholelottasplainin' said...
Bob Smith said...
Dig in on the passenger list. This was a deliberate shootdown.
**************
Don't forget the crew list Mon Ami says Poirot

Rosalyn C. said...

I'm willing to consider the possibility that Iran wanted to prevent certain high value people from leaving Iran and killing them was worth the collateral damage. Especially since Iran believes they can lie their way through anything.

Formula: First deny everything, then adjust as needed.

Narayanan said...

No bites on my airplane navigation lights?

On or Off

Does missile defense need visual at any point on is it video games?

Original Mike said...

"Dig in on the passenger list. This was a deliberate shootdown."

Was there a Ukrainian prosecutor on board?

Arashi said...

Narayanan - missle defense systems do not care about visuals. They are using air search radar to detect objects flying in the immediate airspace - usually above a few hundred feet so as to ignore ground return, unless they have doppler search ability, then they can search from ground up as the software can remove ground return from the radar return that is on the scope that the operators are looking at. Most systems can be run in automatic mode, where they (software) decide based on the characteristics of the radar return from the object and other electronic data that it is hostile and baring active denial by a person, shoot the target. They can also be run in manual mode, where the operators are interpreting all of the data displayed on the scope and decide based on the data and the current rules of engagement to shoot or not shoot.

It is possible that for some reason, someone at that site put their system in auto by mistake and did not realize it until the missle launched. I find this hard to beleive, though not impossible.

There are some very short range defense weapons that can use visual\radar but most of these are of the type like shoulder fired stinger missles. The system in use by the Iranians is composed of several modules, all on tracked or wheeled vehicles, that allow the missle battery (one or several) to be controled by one or more command and control modules that are on separate vehicles. This allows the system to be dispersed over some area so that a single offensive strike does not take it all out.

Darrell said...

"The Iranians shut down the transponder on Flight 655."

Well, it's quite a claim. I can't think of a reason they would do that other than they wanted the U.S. to shoot the plane down.


Not a claim--a fact. Perhaps you're not old enough to have followed the story at the time, but that was clearly established. Check the Nightline videos of the time, if they are available. Iran was provoking the US, especially on flight path over US ships and carriers. Constant calls for general quarters or battle stations wears on personnel. Iran knew what could have happened, but they probably thought it was a long shot that we would really fire--an experienced radar operator would never confuse those signatures. But we had a trainee on the screen. Now the constant emergencies might have over-taxed the experienced radar operators. But a trainee in a critical position is never acceptable. That is on the US Navy and the US.

Michael K said...

Wiki says the transponder was squawking the IFF civilian code.

However: Flight 655 was first detected by the Vincennes immediately after takeoff when it received a short IFF Mode II, possibly leading the crew of the Vincennes to believe that the airliner was an Iranian F-14 Tomcat (capable of carrying unguided bombs since 1985[25]) diving into an attack profile. Since the USS Stark incident, all aircraft in the area had to monitor 121.5 Mhz, the International Air Defence (IAD) radio frequency. A total of 10 attempts were made to warn the airliner, seven on the Military Air Distress (MAD) frequency, and three on the IAD frequency. There were no responses.[

narciso said...

I think there is a snippet here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10HPS85yLYQ

narciso said...

some further elaboration here:

https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/aeronautics-and-astronautics/16-422-human-supervisory-control-of-automated-systems-spring-2004/projects/vincennes.pdf

Arashi said...

If they were sqawking mode 2, that is military use and not for civilian aircraft. They should have been on mode 3.

While I am not saying the Vincennes was okey dokey to shoot, the Iranins bear a lot of responsibility for having their airliners sqawk the incorrect mode on their IFF. They were trying for an incident, they got it and a lot of innocent folks died.

Hell, the soviets were always trying for an incident with us (USS Midway) when we operated in the Indian Ocean. They would send aircraft our way pretending to be civilians to try and fly over the group for bragging points and the ships that always followed us were always pulling krap in an effort to create diplomatic repercussions.

Their favorite was to pull across our bow at about 2000 yards as we turned into the wind for flight ops and send the Incident at Sea Agrrement code that meant they had lost way and could not maneuver, please avoid. Though as soon as we turned their engines suddenly worked. They did that for a few flight cycles one day until the captain decided he had had enough and had the F-4 on the starboard cat launch and fly over their bridge on full after burner. For some reason, they got the message and for the rest of our deployment the soviets played nice and stayed out of our way.

I am fairly sure that none of the normal stupidity engaged in by the soviets or the Iranians directed at the US ever got any press.

narciso said...

I don't know the origin of this:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJT8dJEAbJ4

narciso said...

the larger significance of iran air 655, was it helped end the iran/Iraq war, some speculate it later contributed to pan am 103, through the pflp gc, an outfit still active in Syria, headed by ahmed Jibril who is a spry 82 now,

narciso said...

I imagine it will be a hudna till his emirate sponsors decide otherwise,


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-11/libya-s-haftar-forces-accept-ceasefire-offer-halts-offensive

narciso said...

well there could have been at least a proper retaliation,


https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/mark-geist-trump-decisive-leadership-would-have-saved-benghazi-team

Mark said...

When someone sets a disguised trap, hard to blame the one who falls into it.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Nuke Nazi Sez: No Nukes For You!!

...if you shoot down even your own passenger planes!

narciso said...

now comes the test


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/11/british-ambassador-iran-arrested-tehran/

narciso said...

the guardian follows up,


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/11/iran-plane-crash-admission-sparks-unrest-in-tehran

ken in tx said...

I believe the Iranian military ordered an 'if it flies, it dies' no fly order. That's why the airliner was delayed for an hour. Other take-offs from that airport had been hours before. When the order was lifted, everybody didn't get the word.

Nichevo said...

Iran's assertion is that it intentionally shot at something it wrongly believed was a cruise missile.


Disbelieve. I believe they wanted to down an airliner. They may possibly have hit the wrong one.

Rusty said...

Nichevo said...
"Iran's assertion is that it intentionally shot at something it wrongly believed was a cruise missile.


Disbelieve. I believe they wanted to down an airliner. They may possibly have hit the wrong one."
I think it was just poor operator training and nerves. Everybody was running around scared. After all, we were dropping bombs out of nowhere on their top people.

Nichevo said...

Howard said...
Well professor if you want to pick nits the Iranians admitted to intentionally firing at what they thought was a cruise missile they did not intentionally shoot at an airliner so that act was there for ipso facto unintentional.


Disappointed in you, Howard. Why do you (claim to) believe this and insist on labeling alternatives as "conspiracy?"

SteveSc said...

"I wished I was dead"

The US Military can help him with that.

Ken B said...

Wow. You won’t accept the analysis of several western intelligence agencies that we did know they shot it down but you DO accept the Iranian cover story that they thought it was a missile. A missile fired towards Ukraine from Tehran.

I have the sinking feeling that this deliberate mass murder by the mullahs will be item 1 in your post “ How Trump lost me”.

Ken B said...

Admits not says is the right word here because until that point they had been DENYING that fact.