Saturday, November 28, 2020

Black Box Gets Blacker: Tehran’s New Claims about PS752

Military Prosecutor explains the "human error" and blames low level defense system operator as the cause of PS752 downing by IRGC missiles. Islamic Republic lied about the cause for 3 days.

Today, June 29, 2020, Military Prosecutor of Tehran Province met with some of the families and/or attorneys of PS752 victims. He provided a full account of the incident, and as usual, blamed everything on low level soldiers and officers, promising a swift and fair military tribunal for their “error in judgement.” He also answered to a few questions about events prior to takeoff such as a 1 hour delay,…

Gholamabbas Torki

Gholamabbas Torki said, the relevant authorities have mentioned several reasons for the 3-day delay in admitting to the real reason behind the incident, including, “minimal research and investigation into how the shooting had happened, transcribing tapes, investigating videos, questioning people involved, matching radar data, and checking into different hypothesis which is still ongoing.”

He praised the speed in which those investigations were completed and said the final results of these investigations will be announced by the Military Courts. He confirmed 6 people have been arrested regarding the downing of PS752, three of whom are out on bail. He didn’t mention any of the names or ranks of the accused. He mentioned all videos, documents and recordings have been investigated and authenticated. “We also noticed the Aseman pilot tape was manipulated and didn’t include the full recording.” The Aseman pilot tape was released by a Ukrainian media outlet, in which the pilot tells the air traffic control tower operator he had seen missiles hitting a plane!

He rejected the ideas put forth by some conspiracy theorists like some mullahs and “parliament representatives” saying Mossad and CIA have tampered with defense system’s radars or enemies have used magnetic and laser rays causing the mistakes. He said “no evidence of such attempts have been found.” Torki cited laws about closing off the skies to passenger airlines in time of “certain enemy attacks” and said, “That day was only a chance of US retaliation,” therefore, the planes were only allowed to fly if identified by the defense system first. All flights before and after PS752 were done without a hitch.

Leila Latifi, mother of Amir Hossein Saeedinia, one of the passengers, spoke to him during one hour delay before takeoff. He’s told Leila that somebody was being escorted out of the plane and “it’s taking long to return his luggage”. However, Torki described the one hour delay as not related to “Armed Forces or National sects,” and blamed it on extra weight of the plain due to extra luggage and fuel pumped into the plane! He said, “The pilot was notified and he ordered the extra luggage to be taken care of, causing the 1 hour delay.”

PS752 Memorial- Kiev International Airport- Ukraine

PS752 was shot down by two IRGC missiles on January 8, 2020, 6:12 AM local time, shortly after its takeoff from IKA, in Tehran, at altitude of about 2,000 feet. It was the night that everybody was frenzy over the possibility of Iran-US war. IRGC attacked US bases in Iraq to act on its promise of “hard revenge” after a US drone killed Qassem Soleimani, Commander-in-Chief of IRGC’s Quds Forces in Baghdad, Iraq. All 176 crew and passenger aboard the Ukrainian airliner were killed. The flight was on its way to Canada with a layover in Kiev, Ukraine. The passengers were mostly Iranians who lived or studied in Canada, Canadians, Swedish, Afghans, British, German and Ukrainian crew. Immediately after the incident, Islamic Republic officials and media announced “technical failure” as the cause of “crash”! A few videos were circulated on social media which witnesses from Parand city, very close to IKA airport, said they heard missiles fired at the airplane, some said 3 were with the first one missing the plane.

Gholamabbas Torki explained the incident in detail and how a “human error” led to the tragedy, “After the missile system was rebooted due to field conditions, the operator has mistakenly seen the target side with 105 degrees difference on the radar, thinking it was a missile coming from North West targeting Tehran, which in fact had nothing to do with the plane or the tarmac and airport position! The operator reported the identification of the target to his superiors in the network but didn’t receive a response. He didn’t wait for a response and fired. However, after checking the logs, it shows that his message was never received by the network, and the disconnection only had taken a few seconds. There was report of a cruise missile fired at the border on the system as well, which actually was mistaken for flares fired by our border patrol agents, this was an additional factor in his quick reaction.”

Just like any other problem in Iran, Islamic Republic blames somebody/something that can’t defend themselves. In regards to reading black boxes Torki blamed US for not giving the required technology and coronavirus because the laboratory in France had told them in late March that they wouldn’t accept the order until the epidemic subsides. According to him, France is ready to receive the black boxes now and they’ll be sent soon. In regards to restitution, he said, “We’re waiting for Ukraine’s cooperation to receive the insurance documents. The amount would be equal and according to international rate. Hopefully this could be done before the trial starts.”

Military Prosecutor of Tehran Province reiterated the operator had no authority to fire and had no connection with the air traffic control tower. “The defense system was under “limited fire” order and not “fire at will” at the time of the incident.” He confirmed two missiles were fired with 26 seconds between the two. However his account was in contrast to what witnesses statements and videos. According to Torki, one of the missiles had missed the plane and the second one had exploded near the aircraft, implying no missile hit the aircraft. One part of this statement is in line with some witnesses from Parand City saying they had heard 3 missiles being fired, the first one missing and the next two hitting the aircraft as seen on videos. He indicated the tragedy was preventable if the people would have followed the protocols.

Islamic Republic officials did what they know best: covering up and lying! They cleaned up the crash site and got rid of all they could see. BBC Persian, many “experts” and officials on TV, cyber army of the regime on social media,…reiterated the same point: “technical failure”! Even some of those experts started analyzing the videos showing the sudden fire in plane’s engines and took it as an evidence in their favor! However, parts of the missiles on the crash site, the videos, and witnesses were too much for any propaganda machine to handle! It took the regime 3 days to announce “human error” as the cause of death for 176 innocent individuals. Khamenei has “graciously” agreed to call them “martyrs” and their families became eligible for “benefits”.

After more than 5 months, the black boxes have not been read since Islamic Republic doesn’t have the capabilities and has refused to send them to US (place manufacturer) or Ukraine (owner of the plane) or the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). Many contradictory statements from regime authorities saying it would be sent to Ukraine, France, “soon” but that time hasn’t come yet. Victims’ families have started campaigns seeking for justice, established an organization called The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims (752AFV) to call on more pressure on Islamic Republic to release the black boxes and punishing the ones responsible.


Cover: Mahkeo

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