Welcome to Sott.net
Tue, 07 Apr 2020
The World for People who Think


Why Iran Came Clean And Stopped Covering up Its Role in The UIA-752 Tragedy

Iran Flight 752 Ukrainian plane
Giving Credit Where It's Due

Iran, to its credit, quickly came clean and admitted to its culpability in accidentally shooting down UIA-752 last week after vehemently insisting for the past few days that any such claims were nothing but a "big lie...(a) psychological operation...adding insult to the injury of the bereaved families". Tehran didn't do this just because it's the right thing to do, but because it realized that its international reputation would continue to suffer if it hadn't reversed its narrative course when it did. The author explained everything that went wrong with his previous analysis on the topic in his most recent article titled "Iran's Shoot-Down Admission Is A Mea Culpa Moment For Alt-Media (Myself Included)", where it was promised that a forthcoming analysis would soon be published about the reasons behind Iran's about-face, ergo the purpose of the present piece. That aforementioned work, however, should be reviewed by the reader in order to obtain a better understanding of just how counterproductive Iran's previous stance was to its soft power.

Comment: That's the end of the matter as far as international diplomacy is concerned.

But what remains to be answered is how an air-defense system operator mistook a Boeing 737 for a cruise missile.

Unless it was fiddled with in some way, the Ukrainian Airlines jet's transponder should have told the operator of the TOR-1M system that the object he was seeing on his radar screen is a Boeing 737.

Additionally, the plane's appearance on his screen should have in no way surprised him - it was the TENTH flight out of Tehran's Khomeini Airport that night. Prior to Flight 752, the last flight movement there was the departure - from the same runway and in the same direction - of QR8408 at 05:39 local time.

Why then was the air-defense operator surprised by this flight?


Who is America's Hero? Spongebob?


"Let's hit those darn terrorists with our jellyfish army, Patrick!"
About a day after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, Iranian cleric Shahab Moradi called in during a show about the events surrounding the assassination. He asked the presenter:
[In the situation] that we take one of theirs now that they've got one of ours — who should we consider to take out in the context of America? Think about it. Are we supposed to take out Spiderman and SpongeBob? They don't have any heroes. We have a country in front of us with a large population and a large landmass, but it doesn't have any heroes. All of their heroes are cartoon characters - they're all fictional.
Can anyone argue with that? Can anyone name an American soldier of any rank in recent decades who saved large numbers of civilians from terrorists? Someone who really stands out?

I'll wager that when you think about American troops in the Middle East, the things that come to mind are along the lines of: troops abusing and sexually humiliating prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, troops setting fire to Iraqis, troops raping a 14-year-old girl and killing her and her family afterwards, throwing a puppy off a cliff in Iraq, killing Afghan civilians and collecting fingers as trophies... and other similar, horrifying, stories.

Snakes in Suits

Canada's Trudeau Claims 'Intel From Multiple Sources' Points to Iran Shooting Down Ukrainian Boeing - UPDATE: Iran Confesses!

Comment: In short, Trudeau's saying what he was told to say.

The crash of this plane and the loss of 176 lives 4 hours after the end of Iran's airstrikes against US bases in Iraq is suspicious, but not for the reason the media is telling you...

ukrainian plane crash iran
© Fars News Agency
Aerial imagery of flight PS752 wreckage in Khalajabad, Shahriar County, Tehran Province, Iran. Debris from the crashed 737-800 is visibly strewn across a sports pitch, waterway, and other structures.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has come out as the first world leader to directly accuse Iran of the "unintentional" shooting down of Ukrainian International Airlines' flight 752 near Tehran, citing intelligence reports.

"We have intelligence from multiple sources," Trudeau said on Thursday. "The intelligence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional."

Comment: In a way this concurs with Trump's statement that he had "suspicions" that "somebody could have made a mistake." Whether they're referring to the same entity remains to be seen. But one could hazard a guess that, they're not.

However, Trudeau's implication that Iran 'unintentionally' shot down a plane killing 176 people when it has proven itself more than capable of delivering precision-strikes on US bases in Iraq makes the accusation both illogical and, as of right now, dubious.

Trudeau also said it was "too soon to be apportioning blame" for the crash or "drawing any conclusions," however.

Comment: He's talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Comment: Iran says it may need help from French or Canadian experts to help it decode data from the damaged black boxes:
"Generally speaking, Iran has the potential and know-how to decode the black box. Everybody knows that," he said, adding that Iranian and Ukrainian experts would begin decoding the data on Friday.

However, "if the available equipment is not enough to get the content," Abedzadeh explained, Tehran will send the boxes to experts "from France or Canada."

"Then whatever is the result will be published and publicized to the world," he said.

Iran has also requested Boeing send a representative to join the investigation in Tehran.

Iran said on Wednesday it wouldn't hand the black boxes over to the US, preferring to do its own investigation. US media reports on Thursday cited anonymous Pentagon and intelligence officials claiming that Iran had itself mistakenly shot down the plane, which had just taken off from Tehran's busy Imam Khomeini airport.
Iran has dared Canada to show whatever they think they have regarding what happened to this plane, labeling the claims being bandied about so far as "psychological warfare against Iran":
Khomeini airport
© 2020 Maxar Technologies / handout via Reuters
A satellite image showing the area where a Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport
"All these reports are a psychological warfare against Iran," government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Thursday. "All those countries whose citizens were aboard the plane can send representatives and we urge Boeing to send its representative to join the process of investigating the black box."

Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has meanwhile called on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to share the intelligence he has claimed to have from "multiple sources" that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.

"We are calling on the Canadian Prime Minister and any other government that has information about the crash to hand it over to the investigation committee in Iran."

Trudeau's claim follows statements from UK PM Boris Johnson that his government is "urgently looking into" reports that the plane was shot down by a missile and speculation from US President Donald Trump that he had "suspicions" that "somebody could have made a mistake."
Sputnik reports on a video that reportedly captures the moment a missile downed the Ukrainian airliner:
ukraine crash iran
© REUTERS / Handout
New footage published and "verified" by the New York Times shows what the Western outlet claims to be an Iranian missile striking a Ukrainian jet just moments after takeoff in Tehran, Iran.

Verified by the NYT can be considered as a warning to be skeptical.

The 19-second clip published by the New York Times on Thursday afternoon shows a small explosion in the sky of Parand in Tehran that is believed to be an Iranian missile hitting the Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 Flight PS752, which crashed early Wednesday morning after taking off from Tehran's Khomeini Airport.

A loud booming sound can be heard in the distance seconds after the flash.

Iran has maintained that the January 8 crash of the airliner, which claimed the lives of 167 passengers and nine crew members, was due to a technical error. Ukrainian Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksiy Danilov, on the other hand, said it may be attributable to three scenarios in addition to a possible technical malfunction: collision with another aircraft, a terrorist attack or an air defense missile strike.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Wednesday that the crash "is not a topic for hype, likes in social networks, sensations and conspiracy theories," and called for patience, endurance and wisdom.

Tehran-based Fars News Agency cited the official as having said the rumors were also "scientifically impossible" and have "no logic," according to a translated tweet on the matter.

"There is complete coordination between all military and civilian sectors in Iran and at the same time," the outlet noted in a followup tweet referencing the aviation official. "There were dozens of Iranian and foreign planes flying over Iran's safe space."

While Iran has expressed interest in getting in contact with Boeing, the New York Times reported that the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States has to first discuss the matter with the State Department due to sanctions which restrict Boeing, a US-based corporation, from contacting Iranians "without an export license."

Bellingcat claims to have geolocated the video alleging to show a projectile hitting the jet. It does appear that the video was taken from a location west of the airport and south of the crash site (meaning the missile in the video is coming from west to east, roughly). However, some questions remain. Who took the video, and what inspired them to start shooting right before anything became visible? Bellingcat speculates there must have been a first missile that alerted them, but that is just speculation. Also, while the location and overall circumstances of the video seem to match up with the crash, the video itself has not been publicly verified (time taken, unmodified, etc.). In other words, the video may be a fabrication.

Another video allegedly shows the plane on fire for 56 seconds before crashing.

Western sources have accused Iran of "bulldozing" the crash site, removing important evidence and thus tampering with the scene. Ruptly filmed the site after these allegations, showing that while small pieces of debris and passenger belongings remain, wreckage has been removed. There's nothing abnormal there: the collected debris will be sorted for forensic analysis. A frontloader was used to move heavy pieces of debris, not "bulldoze" the site. During his press conference today, the head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Administration said, among other things:
  • U.S. officials have asserted to have documents or other evidence that shows a missile incident. If they have such they are required to step forward and present it to the investigation.
  • Video shows that the burning aircraft flew for 60-70 seconds. If the aircraft had been hit by a missile it would have dropped immediately and there would be a very large debris field like happened with flight MH17 in Ukraine.
  • All countries affected by the accident can name a liaison person or take part in the investigation.
Ukrainian President Zelensky has called on the US, Canada and UK to provide the evidence they claim to have that the jet was downed by an anti-aircraft missile: "The theory about missile hitting the plane is not ruled out, but it's not confirmed as of today. Given the recent statements by countries' leaders to the media, we urge all international partners - primarily the governments of the United States, Canada and the UK - to provide data and evidence on this tragedy," Zelensky stated, revealing that he will discuss the investigation with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later in the day.

Ukraine's foreign minister again called for media to avoid speculation. (Same with the office of the prosecutor-general, who called for "politicians, the former prosecutors with no legal training or basic knowledge of criminal law and procedures to refrain from the shameless self-promotion on this tragedy.") He said Iran has been cooperative and that "the investigative team has accessed the black boxes retrieved from the wreckage. Iran has released video of the black boxes:
Short footage of the recorders was released by Iranian media on Friday. The black boxes — that are actually bright orange — are seen sitting inside a crate, handled by the officials with the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO).

The flight data recorder appears to be largely intact, yet it's quite charred and has a handful of visible dents in its body. The cockpit voice recorder, for its part, appears to be missing most of its assembly — only the data storage itself is seen in the crate.

Earlier, head of the CAO, Ali Abedzadeh, revealed that the black boxes were damaged during the crash and the country might seek foreign help — from Russia, Canada, France or Ukraine in particular. Extracting data from the flight data and voice recorders is expected to take up to three months, while the whole probe will take up to two years. The black boxes are expected to be "opened" on Friday, Iranian media reported.

The ICAO also called for avoiding speculation, adding that it has received a preliminary report from Iran on the crash. Iran now says it is certain the plane was not brought down by a missile.

That hasn't stopped NATO's Stoltenberg from saying there's "no reason to disbelieve" that Iran may have shot down the plane. Hey, we guess there's no reason to disbelieve Stoltenberg may hit his wife, either, if that's how he wants to play with logic.

The media is making much of the fact that flights to Tehran have been cancelled or rerouted since the incident, but flights into and out of Khomeini Airport operated normally that night:

Absent the astronomically huge coincidence of 'pure accident' that this plane crashed hours after such an historic event as Iranian airstrikes against the US military, this plane was deliberately downed.

UPDATES 11 Jan 2020

Well, holy shi'ite Moslems. Iran has today confessed to accidentally shooting down the plane with a missile launched from an air-defense system located near Tehran.

President Rouhani has also pledged to arrange "compensation payments to the victims' families, and ordered reforms of the country's air defense system to prevent similar disasters in the future."

The Commander of Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said during a press conference today that he "wished he was dead."

We can't blame him. It's a terrible mistake in such a high-profile information war.

Having confessed, Iran is now being fully cooperative in the investigation, announcing it will send the Boeing's black box to France for impartial investigation of its flight record content.

In the meantime, CCTV footage of the missile launch has surfaced:

So the Iranians are now saying that the Ukrainian plane was erroneously identified as an incoming cruise missile. That seems pretty bizarre. An airliner has a very different radar cross section than a cruise missile.

Why in the name of Allah did the Iranians not close their airspace to civilian flights that night??


After Iran's public acknowledgment of their responsibility for the tragedy, in which 11 Ukrainians were killed, Ukrainian President Zelensky demanded a full investigation and apology from Iran's leadership, as well as justice and compensation:
"We expect from Iran assurances of their readiness for a full and open investigation, bringing those responsible to justice, the return of the bodies of the dead, the payment of compensation, official apologies through diplomatic channels."

The Ukrainian leader also expressed hope that the probe into the tragedy would continue "without artificial delays and obstacles."

"Our 45 experts must be granted complete access and cooperation" during the investigation, Zelensky stressed.
Rouhani immediately offered his apology on behalf of Iran:
Tehran also vowed to lend "all the necessary assistance" to the Ukrainian expert group investigating the case and promised to bring all those responsible to justice. Zelensky welcomed the admission of guilt by Iran and said that it paved the way for further investigation of the matter "without any delays."

He also said that he expects Iran to "fully cooperate" with Ukraine "in accordance with international law."

Zelensky commented that the bodies of the flight crew should be brought back to Ukraine "as soon as possible," and called it a matter of "utmost importance." He added that Ukraine's foreign ministry would send a note to Iran detailing further legal steps aimed at resolving the issue between the two nations, including compensations.

Rouhani also held a phone conversation with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and promised to continue the investigation of the tragedy, Iran's IRNA news agency reported. The two leaders agreed that their nations should work together to clarify all the circumstances of this catastrophe.
Vigils and protests are taking place at universities across Iran (at least some of the Canadian-Iranians who died were academics from Edmonton, Alberta):
One banner among the many in the crowd read: "What is the costs of the war with the world? what is the cost of lying? #condolence to Iran."

Hundreds of people can be seen outside the University of Amirkabir taking to the streets and chanting "there should be a trial! Resignations are not enough!" and "constitution, referendum!"

Vigils and demonstrations were also held at Tehran and Sharif universities. The plane that was shot down carried many college students.

IRGC aerospace commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh revealed details of the mistake, pointing out that Iranian military were poised for full military conflict with the U.S. In other words, nerves were running on high. Here is his full statement:

And the following excerpt explaining the circumstances surrounding the mistaken decision to attack the jet:
In those moments when the incident happens, this air defence unit realizes that there is a target - which it identified as a cruise missile - at a distance of 19 kilometres. Now I'm explaining it on the map. This is the place where the air defence unit is deployed ... here is the city of Tehran ... This is the air defence unit deployed here at 00:00 (Wednesday), and was prepared. And here's the Imam Khomeini Airport. This plane takes off from here and takes this direction. It means this is the impact point. Given the information sent to this operator - that it is a wartime situation and a cruise missile has been fired - this poor guy identifies it as a cruise missile. Well at such a situation, he was obliged to contact, get approval. This is where this operator makes the mistake; but at that moment, his communication system was apparently disrupted - whether because of jamming systems or the high traffic. For that reason, he fails to contact [his commanders]. He had 10 seconds to decide; he could hit or not hit [the target]. Under such circumstances, he decides to make that bad decision; he engages, the missile is fired, and the plane is hit at this place. Then it returns through this track, and here's the point where it hits the ground.


Clausewitz, Trump And Soleimani: American Politics is a Continuation of Israel's Wars by Different Means

Soleimani, Clausewitz,Trump and AIPAC
The 19th century military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz observed that war is the continuation of politics by different means. This is an apt description of Iranian military strategy and geo-political affairs. It is consistent with the rationale that guided General Qasem Soleimani for the last two decades.

As a superb military strategist Soleimani grasped that the distance between A to B isn't necessarily identical to the distance from B to A. Iran and Israel do not share a physical border, Tehran and Tel Aviv are about 1,000 miles apart. Despite Israel's relentless threats to attack Iran, it has never been clear whether Israel has the military capacity to cause significant damage to Iran. It isn't clear how Israeli pilots are supposed to cover the distance and fly undetected over Jordan, Syria or Iraq. Where, or how, would the Israeli plane refuel, and so on. Israel has not managed to solve this logistical military riddle. But it has been clever enough to grasp that pushing America into an all out conflict with the Islamic Republic may provide a solution to the riddle. Despite the competition (with Britain, France and Germany), the USA is Israel's most subservient colony. It has been happily sacrificing its sons and daughters on the Zionist altar for years.

Comment: See also:


Joe Quinn on PressTV: 'Like Iran, Trump Wants US Forces Out of Iraq, But Only With Trade Guarantees - Elephant in The Room is Israel'

bibi trump
Yesterday Sott.net editor Joe Quinn spoke with Iranian outlet PressTV about the stand-off between the US and Iran over recent events in Iraq. Addressing the issue of US troops leaving the Middle East - a goal, ironically, that both US president Trump and Iran share - he pointed out the elephant in the room that is largely to blame for all this dangerous brinkmanship: Israel...


Ukranian Whistleblower Reveals MH-17 Tragedy Was Orchestrated by Poroshenko and British Secret Service

mh-17 plane crash
Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH-17), that was shot down on July 17, 2014 in the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine, killed all passengers onboard and was immediately blamed on pro-Russia Donbass volunteer militias fighting against henchmen of the Maidan civil unrest, the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and the Ukrainian military. The blame was assigned against the Donbass militias with no investigation occurring and many questions remaining unanswered. These questions were answered by Former Lieutenant Colonel Vasily Prozorov of the Ukrainian Security Services, who fled to Russia, in a damning new documentary titled "MH-17: In Search Of Truth."

The whistleblower in the 39-minute documentary completely delegitimizes the findings found by the Dutch investigators and world leaders by drawing on classified documents he attained through his own high-ranking position and those close to him, as well as eye witness accounts including from the Donbass volunteers. The responsibility for investigating the tragedy was given to a Dutch-led joint investigation team with the Dutch Safety Board, who claimed that MH-17 was downed by the Donbass volunteers with a Buk surface-to-missile. Prozorov challenges this assertion and questioned why Malaysia, which owned MH-17, was pushed to the periphery of the investigation and priority was given to the Dutch side. This in itself is not damning and does not disprove that the Donbass volunteers were not responsible, but it does demonstrate that there is a clear agenda when a country with direct interest in this tragedy is cast aside.

Interestingly, the Dutch investigators completely disregarded declassified Russian Ministry of Defense information that the missile used to down MH-17 was sent to the Lviv region in Western Ukraine near the Polish border during the Soviet era, the opposite end of the country to Donbass. Prozorov was able to even reveal the serial number of the missile (8-8-6-8-7-2-0). This revelation is complemented by the fact that the Ukrainian military 156 Anti-Aircraft Regiment were operating in Donbass and had BUK vehicles in service in the region, as corroborated by two interviewees who served in the regiment, bringing into question why Dutch investigators ignored such critical information. This comes as it has now been proven, as explained in the documentary, that the alleged Russian Buk movement in Ukraine was faked, with a single still photo being used with a picture of a tractor, a trailer and a Buk vehicle being inserted into the picture.

Comment: See also:

Star of David

New Book to Reveal How Mossad Used Jeffrey Epstein to Blackmail Politicians

mossad emblem
There's much mystery surrounding the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, but this is most certainly the first time the pervasive Israeli spy agency has entered the scene.

The late convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, were on Mossad's payroll, a new book claims.

The soon-to-be-released Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales is an investigative work by journalists Dylan Howard and Melissa Cronin and novelist James Robertson.

Comment: See also:


SOTT Earth Changes Summary - December 2019: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

ecs dec 2019
© Sott.net
The 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, was held last month in Madrid, Spain. But not even Greta and her truant school friends could stop the climate chaos around the world last month.

After an unusually chilly start to the summer, Australia is experiencing record breaking bushfires that caused devastating damage in December 2019. The fires have torched towns, displaced thousands and caused the deaths of a billion or so animals so far.

Also last month, at least 150 houses were destroyed by fast-moving woodland fires in the Chilean city of Valparaíso. Again! That city has now been hit with wildfires three times in the last 5 years. Residential areas were still burning on Christmas Day.

Last month, there was snow cover across nearly half of the lower 48 states of the US - 46.2 percent of the country's landmass - the largest area for early December since snow cover records began in 2003. The snow cover reached as far south as Mexico's northern regions.

Iceland also recorded record snow cover of 30 FEET in December, while 8,000 vehicles were stranded in Kashmir as a result of 3 feet of snow.

Atlantic storms Elsa and Fabien wreaked havoc in western and central Europe, killing 9 people and causing widespread damage. Fabien also caused severe flooding in Venice where a sudden downpour of 3 inches combined with high tides to inundate the medieval city.

Heavy rain, floods and landslides caused severe damage to homes and livelihoods around the world last month: 150 people were killed in Kenya; 4 died in Khuzestan Province, Iran; thousands were affected in Nariño and 8 missing in Tolima, Colombia; Beirut city was paralyzed and 50 houses were under water in Sigi, Indonesia.

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit southern Philippines, killing at least one person and causing several injuries. Roads and buildings, including the local government office, were damaged.

All that and more in this month's SOTT Earth Changes Summary...


Merry Christmas And Season's Greetings to All Our Readers! Get Your 2020 SOTT Calendar Here!

© Sott.net
As the holiday season approaches and 2019 comes to a close, we'd like to take a moment to thank you, our readers, for your continued support of Sott.net. When we started out all those years ago, we settled on the name 'Signs of the Times' (SOTT) because the media just didn't seem to notice that momentous changes were happening, that those momentous changes were connected, and that if they were observed together in 'big picture' mode, one could literally observe the world transform. Little did we know then just how reality-changing things would become.

What a year 2019 has been. Open rebellion has erupted in many countries, terrorism and 'random atrocities' continue unabated, the weather has become more extreme than ever, government has become more corrupt and feckless than ever, anti-human social engineering madness has migrated from the universities to the workplace and into schools, and asteroids are whizzing by our little lost planet at an alarming rate.

Although it's been in the works for several years - particularly since the 'double surprise' of Trump's election and the Brexit referendum result - mass censorship took a big leap in 2019. Thanks to certain governments leaning on Big Tech companies, the very nature of the internet changed this year. Purges of dissenting voices like ours from search results and social media has substantially bleached the internet of truth and replaced it with the bullhorns of mainstream propaganda and extremist 'black or white' rhetoric.

As a result, our readership, which grew for most of the 18 year history of Sott.net, is way down again this year - by 37% over 2018. Since 2016, our unique visits have dropped by 55%! We could scream and shout about it, but we don't think that would do any good. In fact, there's too much screaming and shouting going on these days - about anything and everything - that is obviously not doing anyone any good. That's why we at Sott.net have been refocusing our efforts from 'waking people up' to deepening our connections with 'those who already see'.

In these times of monumental mendacity, surround-sound distraction, and full-on socio-political lunacy, the refuge of community is more important than ever. There is only so much 'community' you can partake in via your computer screen, of course, but no matter where you are or what predicament you find yourself in, remember always that what is important is WHO you are and what you SEE.

SOTT Logo Radio

MindMatters: Breathe Deep to Reap The Benefits of a Healthy Mind: The Tao of Natural Breathing

tao of natural breathing
Correct breathing should come as natural to us as, well, breathing. But it doesn't. In fact, most of us so take the simple act of respiration for granted that we have learned to breathe shallowly and, indeed, incorrectly - allowing for a host of all sorts of detrimental knock-on effects. But what does that have to do with the world of ideas and the 'life of the mind' anyway? Well, quite a lot actually as we're coming to learn.

This week on MindMatters join us as we delve into Dennis Lewis' The Tao of Natural Breathing - where a number of crucial connections are made not only between the science of breathing and physiological well-being, but also the benefits given to cognition, our emotional life - and greater perception of our inner and outer directed states of awareness. There are some very good reasons why numerous ancient cultures saw breath as the key and gateway to gaining life force, good health and even spiritual vitality - and perhaps now is as good a time as any to learn why.

Running Time: 01:21:09

Download: MP3 — 74.3 MB