Iran Reconsidering Downing of Airliner, Evidence of Cyber Attack Surfaces

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Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was accidentally shot down by a missile in Iran, on January 8, 2020.

A former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer has raised the possibility of a cyber attack, carried out by the United States and possibly Israel, playing a part in the accidental shoot down of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 early this month. 

“What seems to have been a case of bad judgments and human error does, however, include some elements that have yet to be explained,” Philip Giraldi argued in a recent article published by the American Herald Tribune.

“The Iranian missile operator reportedly experienced considerable ‘jamming’ and the planes transponder switched off and stopped transmitting several minutes before the missiles were launched. There were also problems with the communication network of the air defense command, which may have been related,” the former CIA specialist said.

The Ukrainian passenger plane crashed minutes after take-off near Tehran on January 8, killing all the 176 people on board.  Iran initially blamed the incident on technical failure but, as more information came to light, it announced that the plane was shot down by a missile due to “human error.”

At the time, Iran’s air defenses were on high alert after the country’s armed forces had launched a missile attack against two American bases in Iraq in retaliation for the US assassination in Baghdad of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force.

Giraldi contended that the Iranian air defense system was likely placed in the manual operation mode as a result of the possible electronic jamming coming from an unknown source.

Meanwhile, the shutdown of the plane’s transponder, which would have sent signals informing the operator that the plane was civilian, indicated that it was hostile. The operator, who must have been briefed on the possibility of intruding American cruise missiles, had to decide in only seconds whether to shoot down the plane approaching a sensitive military site.

“Given what happened on that morning in Tehran, it is plausible to assume that something or someone deliberately interfered with both the Iranian air defenses and with the transponder on the airplane, possibly as part of an attempt to create an aviation accident that would be attributed to the Iranian government,” Giraldi said.

A senior Iranian military officer did not rule out a possible disruption of Iran’s radar network by the United States, causing the operator to mistake the Ukrainian airliner for a hostile cruise missile.

“Interference in the [defense] systems by the United States is not unprecedented,” Ali Abdollahi Aliabadi, coordinator deputy of the General Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, said this week on national TV. “The Iranian cyber systems have identified and recorded virtual objects manufactured by the US in the country’s airspace.”

Acting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said there is information that at least six American F-35 jets were “in the Iranian border area” at the time of the accident.

“This information has yet to be verified, but I’d like to underline the edginess that always accompanies such situations,” Lavrov said on Friday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has blamed the tragic accident on the escalating tensions between the US and Iran, which reached a boiling point following the assassination of General Soleimani by a US drone strike early this month.

“If there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau told Canadian network Global National on Monday.

Fifty-seven Canadian citizens were on board the plane when it crashed.

About Press TV
Press TV is a 24-hour English language news and documentary network, affiliated with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

IRIB is state-owned but independent of the Iranian government in its management and is the only legal TV and radio broadcaster inside Iran. IRIB’s head is appointed directly by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and is considered to be close to the country’s conservative political faction. Press TV is headquartered in Tehran with offices and bureaus around the world; including London, Beirut, Damascus, Kabul, and the Gaza Strip.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. The spoofing attack is only part of the story. No one has really looked or inquired as to who was on the airliner. We now know that many of the passengers were of great worth too the Iranian war effort. One of the passengers for example , a young man who had superb computer science credentials, almost certainly had worked for Iran in countering Israeli/American cyber attacks, and was also a close friend of the great General Soleimani. There were many other lives snuffed out that night, and this must be a huge blow to Irans military future. This was an operation that was planned possibly a year or more in advance, It would have been extensively trialed by Israels unit 8200. The Mossad had a huge database on who the passengers were and their uses and strengths to the Iranian resistance. The main reason the Israel and America had not launched a counter missile attack, was because THIS WAS THEIR ATTACK. As soon as that aircraft had left the ground, it was doomed. If the spoofing ploy had not worked, the Israelis and Yanks had 6 F35’s cruising just out of range of Iranian airspace, and once the airliner was in international airspace, they would have downed it then. The only downside with ” Plan B” is that it would have proved to be more difficult to blame the Iranian air defenses. I am deeply sorry for the loss of so many innocent lives, and I also sorry for the Iranian people and armed forces, because of the vacuum of experience lost inc. the late great General Soleimani.

  2. If everybody thought like you there will be no wars. I was born in Iran, am Christian but the truth must be told. My ancestors came from Nineveh (present day Iraq) and lived in Iran for more than 2000 years. Iran is a beautiful country with lots of good people – famous for their hospitality. Why can’t they be allowed to live peacefully? They have not attacked any country for more than 200 years.. why should they loose their 7000 years old culture? They even helped Jews rebuild their ancient land, but now the Jews want to destroy Iran.. The second largest population of Jews is in Iran and they’re happy there. Why does Trump want to use young American lives to please the Zionists of Israel? They will then move unto other countries and kill millions more just to expand their “land”.

  3. Transponder turned off (!!)

    For sure the pilots did not turn off transponder (unless ordered to do so)…maybe a hijacker In cabin did it but doubt that happened….most likely through some simple electronic warfare the transponder was turned off BEFORE the missle strikes.

    If transponder off, this means the missle systems surrounding the airfield (and expecting an American attack that morning)
    would obviously not know civilian jet from US military.jets or cruise missiles or drones fling low altitude

    ANY plane with it’s transponder off flying through that hot zone will be blasted out of sky and the Iranians will be blamed for it too.
    Who would want this airliner blasted out of sky?

    The Iranians perhaps if it was a smuggling operation bringing out loads of spies and saboteurs and perhaps carrying military access codes or top secret hardware out of country. But I don’t think the Iranians would go through trouble to turn off transponder first before downing it.

    Probably the CIA/Mossad or MEK did it to create a false flag to escalate situation into invasion or heavy bombing of Iran

  4. I mentioned on our Australian ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Facebook page that there has been a mention of some sort of electronic interference in regards to the planes transponders. I doubt that the ABC would publish this story or even mention the possibility of this in any future articles. I suspect that the mere concept of military or even hackers been able to interfere with transponders on civilian planes would scare the flying public and so this will never be published in MSM.

    • I agree. It would be easy to interfere with the electronics of a civilian airliner and even have the capability to take remote control as some have suggested. These people were expendable pawns given the psychopathy of the US.