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World & Current Events > Ukrainian plane "unintentionally" downed by Iranian air defenses

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments For those who love conspiracy theories, they might find interesting a bunch of questions circulated now in the Ukrainian media and asked by some analysts and others:
1. What did president of Ukraine do in Oman - a country where Ukraine doesn't even have an embassy and with which it has minimal economic trade, when the plane was downed? That the president was in Oman - is a fact.
2. Whom a private jet of Putin's confidante for Ukraine brought into Oman on the same dates?
From these coincidences and taking into account that sultan of Oman was seriously ill and died a few days later, some assume that there were clandestine negotiations with some senior Russian officials.
3. Now they ask whether it's random that a Ukrainian plane, which flight was regular, approved by the tower and otherwise - perfectly routine, was 'mistaken' for a cruise missile by Iranian air defenses and downed by Russian made system? They allege that there were other planes in the air too.
4. They refer to close connection between Russian secret services and military with Iran and from here they extrapolate that downing a Ukrainian plane can be a means of pressure on the Ukrainian president in negotiations re vital for Russia things like Eastern Ukraine & Crimea ..
I ask: Can it be so, for example, that a radar tracking plane's movement (if say, Russians controlled its software) would trigger a false alarm or "malfunction" differently?
Some ppl doing biz in former USSR often refuse to believe coincidences and develop paranoia...
I assign low credibility to this conspiracy theory at this stage and waiting for results of the investigation of what exactly happened, but thought it would be interesting to theorize and discuss in a separate thread...


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments My guess is that (1) and (2) are simply irrelevant to the bringing down of the plane. On any given time you can usually find two events happening, so without further facts, I assume these are unconnected.

(3) We need more facts. Was it a regular flight at the right time? Were there other flights? Obviously Iranian flight control/military command was at fault and other things should have been done, but if other flights were going on, then the whole air control looks far more irresponsible.

(4) I don't see how shooting down a Ukrainian plane in Iran would help Russia in negotiations with Ukraine. That, to me, seems a bit over the top, because Russia would have to deny any participation in the event. That the missile was made in Russia (presumably) would seem to me to be irrelevant because it was not under Russian control. (If it were, the Iranians would have said so.)

The radar tracking is interesting. There was one statement from Iran that the aircraft made a change of flight path that would take it over an Iranian military base. Could be a lie, but if so, and the base was close, that could have sparked the urge to press the button.

We need more info.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments In another thread, I argued that Trump's bellicose attitudes contributed to the disaster, and while I got very little support, it is of interest (to me) that PM Trudeau seems to share my view :-)

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&r...


message 4: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Ian wrote: "My guess is that (1) and (2) are simply irrelevant to the bringing down of the plane. On any given time you can usually find two events happening, so without further facts, I assume these are uncon..."

Irrelevant, if the dots are not connected, but may be relevant if Ukraine needed some pressure to agree to Moscow terms. Read a parallel like "shooting the victim in the leg".
Do you think a manufacturer of a military equipment would leave a "backdoor" in the software?
I read that Iranians retracted from alleging that the plane changed its course and conceded that it didn't.


message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Ian wrote: "In another thread, I argued that Trump's bellicose attitudes contributed to the disaster, and while I got very little support, it is of interest (to me) that PM Trudeau seems to share my view :-)

..."


Justin is a nice guy and an idiot, in my opinion -:)
Were it not for Trump's stern warning, Iranians might've been less accurate in trying to avoid American casualties


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments I may be gullible, but I really can't see the Russians shooting down a Ukrainian plane from Iran, especially since at the very least, the operator has to press a button. The Russians could not know whether an aircraft would even fly.

As for the Iranians retracting the course change, it shows they have not really got hold of a proper crisis management manual. Once going public, you should tell the truth quickly, all the truth, and then shut up. This merely drags it on.

I heard from a TV clip at the American base, which, as an aside, showed the damage - that was not a mild attack that missed - that the Americans were warned of the attack, where it would be, and the soldiers took safe cover. The object was to do damage to property, but not kill, or at least that is what it looked like when I saw bulldozers clearing away massive amounts of rubble.


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Ian wrote: "I may be gullible, but I really can't see the Russians shooting down a Ukrainian plane from Iran, especially since at the very least, the operator has to press a button. The Russians could not know whether an aircraft would even fly."

Unlikely indeed and as mentioned before I don't buy this version, at least - yet. But can it be so that the radar and/or other detector fed a faulty input, so that the Iranians confused a passenger plane for a cruise missile? That's how they explain the mistake I read.
You underestimate the Russians, Ian, anyone could've found out about the flight through looking at the online flight schedule, I assume: https://www.ikac.ir/en/flight-status :)

Ian wrote: "I heard from a TV clip at the American base, which, as an aside, showed the damage - that was not a mild attack that missed - that the Americans were warned of the attack, where it would be, and the soldiers took safe cover."

Of course, they didn't miss, that's how they planned it and very likely so thanks to Trump's unequivocal warning what would happen to Iran otherwise...


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments Nik, you may well be correct that I underestimate the Russians, and I guess we won't ever find out. Of course they could read flight schedules, but would they know the flights were not cancelled at the last minute, and would they know where the specific missile was deployed. I do not believe they could fire a missile unless someone pressed the button.

Could they control the missile when in flight? That is more subtle, and I even wrote an ebook where someone did that for a cruise missile. Even if that could be done, whether they would have time to take control of a specific SAM is another matter, the point being the software should not come alive until the missile is locked onto the target. If they could do it that quickly without warning they would be quite terrifyingly efficient, and I doubt they are THAT efficient :-)

I think we agree the Iranians did not want to start a major war.


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Ian, I might not be clear here, but i imagine before someone presses a button, they see a flying object somewhere - I don't know where, but it might be on s screen reading data received from a radar or a national warning/recognition system, connected to a SAM battery and feeding it. If an operator 'sees' a cruise missile, of course, he presses the button. What I'm asking here, since I've no idea how these systems operate, whether it's theoretically possible to 'game' the input system, so it'll show a 'wrong' flying object on the screen, so that the operator, in turn, would have no choice, but press the button to intercept it, thus mistaking a plane for a missile


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments Nik wrote: "Ian, I might not be clear here, but i imagine before someone presses a button, they see a flying object somewhere - I don't know where, but it might be on s screen reading data received from a rada..."

OK, I misunderstood. From what I understand, there is a radar signal, and that should not be able to be "gamed" without leaving evidence in front of the operator. Amongst other reasons, the system has to work out it is receiving a reflection, and it deletes other background noise. I expect it would do this by frequency matching and pulse matching, and I would think that would be too difficult.

However, there is possibly another way - if the system had a receiver to inform the operator of transmissions from what other posts have called the "squawk box", it would not be that difficult to remotely disable that receiver. Now the operator, if he believed the receiver was operating properly, would have clear evidence it was NOT a civilian aircraft. So what else could it be? That would be the easiest way to do what you suggest, but I still doubt the Russians would do that. I still think stupidity/incompetence is generally the best answer unless there is clear evidence to the contrary. There is no shortage of stupidity/incompetence in the world :-)


message 11: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6035 comments Thanks for starting this thread, Nik. I don't have anything to contribute, but I enjoy the conversation. Are we thinking that Russia had something to do with shooting down the plane? If so, would it be to increase tensions between Iran and the U.S.? Doesn't seem to have worked. My friend and I were discussing this tonight, and he thinks Iran shot down the plane on purpose. I'm not so sure.


message 12: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 1 comments As I posted elsewhere from my own missile controller experience this looks like a mistake not helped by rhetoric on both sides. The underpaid and overtired controller who pulled the trigger was probably scared of both a potential attack and also repercussions if he didn't prevent it from his own side.

Other repercussions now.


message 13: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2281 comments Ian wrote: "In another thread, I argued that Trump's bellicose attitudes contributed to the disaster, and while I got very little support, it is of interest (to me) that PM Trudeau seems to share my view :-)

..."

I think Trudeau is still bitter because Trump outplayed him with the USMCA. When Trump wanted to renegotiate NAFTA, Trudeau said no way and wouldn't come to the table. But when Trump announced that he and Mexico were close to a new deal, suddenly Trudeau came crawling to the White House to enter the negotiations. One of the things Trump got in the deal was for Canada to open its dairy markets to US producers...a huge win for the US because we're currently producing more milk and cheese than we have markets for. Prices are basically in toilet right now which is great for consumers, but disastrous for the farmers. With Canada open to us, it will hopefully provide our farmers a little relief.

As to Nik's theory, the only way the "accident" would pressure Ukraine is if Russia gave them a wink and nod on it to indicate they were involved without coming out and saying so.


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Scout wrote: "Thanks for starting this thread, Nik. I don't have anything to contribute, but I enjoy the conversation. Are we thinking that Russia had something to do with shooting down the plane? If so, would i..."

Welcome, just offering a venue for those who refuse to believe coincidences. As long as the investigation's ongoing (and maybe after - too, like maybe some feel about Khashoggi's one), we can only speculate what led to such a tragic event & possible hidden motives (if any) behind it.


message 15: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments It was power, Nik. It is risky in some societies to be a nuisance to those with power.


message 16: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments According to Ukrainian president there is no real cooperation on the part of Iran. Inter alia, black boxes are not released.
They already admitted they did it. Unintentionally. What's there to hide?


message 17: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments Nik wrote: "According to Ukrainian president there is no real cooperation on the part of Iran. Inter alia, black boxes are not released.
They already admitted they did it. Unintentionally. What's there to hide?"


Nothing. Only thing is, the black boxes would go straight back to the US, and (a) the Iranians have no love for the US right now, and (b) there might be a record of what the pilots saw of Iran which might indicate the degree of preparedness, bearing in mind what had happened, and it is possible that could be of use to the US military. Maybe not, but why take the risk?


message 18: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Nothing? How do you know?
Ukraine asks the black boxes and Iran can condition their release on not passing them to the States. I was under impression, Iran pledged to cooperate: https://ifpnews.com/iran-pledges-coop...
So, what led to this 'unintentional' mega-tragedy? If there is nothing to hide, why hide?


message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments There is almost certainly nothing relevant to the accident. If in fact there was something sinister going on, you wouldn't be able to tell from the black boxes, unless you know something about black boxes that I don't. I think they simply record what the plane knows.

But they may also record, say, radar beams hitting them, and that would have defence implications and could assist US or Israeli air raids, so why give that help? And don't tell me neither the US nor Israel would consider a bombing raid on Iran.


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments I'm sure both Israel and US have plans in a drawer prepared and rehearsed and they better do, in case they need to. I don't think black boxes is of much help to US or Israeli intelligence. However, I'd think if one wants to show "mistake" and pledges cooperation, this one might want to show results of the investigation and what exactly happened.


message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments How much help they would be might be questionable, but the intelligence services would go over them in fine detail. From Iran's point of view, why help? There is nothing in it for them, as far as I can see.


message 22: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Help? I don't think it's the right word, but I guess their sense of justice may be different. And why not, if already admitted anyway? I (and thousands/millions -?others) wouldn't need to ask silly questions and voice doubts - call it image or reputation


message 23: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments Nik, surely you don't think there is anything they can do to make a significant difference to their image with troublesome (to them) governments? As to why not, alternatively, why? What's in it for them? They are continually trying to protest their situation. From their point of view, the best they can hope for is "no gain". Give the boxes away and at worst, they will encourage the West. That is from their point of view.


message 24: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 1 comments Black boxes which are actually orange cover two main elements. Voice recordings from the cockpit both background noise and radio transmissions to the tuned radios including emergency frequencies. The Second box is the telemetry and engine details which also covers: stick positions, switch positions, rudder, elevators, etc. including transponder (IFF) settings. This also includes angle of attack (See Boeing 737 Max) auto pilot, heading, height, speed, rates of ascent/descent etc. It does not show which radar system is tracking unless the aircraft is fitted with electronic counter measures or radar detection systems used to counter or warn pilots of incoming missiles. These are fitted to military and some VIP aircraft. Again different systems for different threat scenarios from Infra-red detectors to continuous wave radar and missile guidance detectors. If used the system are used to guide deployment of flares, chaff or radar jamming.

It is possible for such equipment to have been fitted to the aircraft but certainly not standard and not normally connected to Black boxes. The exterior of the aircraft tends to show up these fittings in the form of odd antennas or additional bulges/pods.

Normal accident procedure is to review data content of the boxes in country with joint manufacturer, airline and country investigators unless the country does not have facilities when it gets outsourced to a country that does. At the end of the process the ICAA publishes the data for the benefit of all. Some of the voice recordings can be very hard to listen to.


message 25: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments It doesn't have to be connected to the black box. All the Iranians need worry about is that the pilot/crew saw something on the electronics and said something. Knowing the time you know the place. Again, maybe there was nothing on it at all, and all the Iranians were doing was being objectionable. It is not as if the West has treated them kindly over the last 70 odd years.


message 26: by Philip (last edited Feb 07, 2020 12:57AM) (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 1 comments Of course there are the other electronic recordings from Air Traffic Control - they get investigated to and normally military radar if it showed something that ATC had missed. I doubt Iran would give up military radar and comms recordings but ATC should like the boxes.


message 27: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Talking about a "sincere regret" here:
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News...


message 28: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11530 comments A bit more work required on the "regret" aspect.


message 29: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15780 comments Ian wrote: "A bit more work required on the "regret" aspect."

-:)


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