We had a damn feeling.

The oddest thing about Iran's retaliatory strikes on bases housing US troops in Iraq was that just after that, a Ukrainian flight took off from the Tehran airport and proceeded to violently crash just minutes later, killing all 176 people on board, including 63 Canadian citizens who were set to change planes in Kyiv. WT-everloving-FUCK?

Needless to say, it set our spidey senses humming, which tends to happen when a flight that's either Ukrainian or in Ukrainian airspace all of a sudden goes down.

CBS broke news a few minutes ago that "US officials" are now pretty sure Iran shot down that flight. We do not know if these are the same "US officials" who swear up and down that Donald Trump just had to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani to prevent an imminent attack, but then could neither shit nor get off the pot when they had to actually present that intel to members of Congress.

Newsweek has more:

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737–800 en route from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airpot to Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport, stopped transmitting data Tuesday just minutes after takeoff and not long after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing U.S. and allied forces in neighboring Iraq. The aircraft is believed to have been struck by a Russia-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system, known to NATO as Gauntlet, the three officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told Newsweek.

Well that's a little more specific than Trump's rationale for killing Soleimani, which still seems to be "DOY DOY DOY DOY DOY."

To be clear, these officials are telling Newsweek it was an accident, as opposed to what usually happens when a Russian-built missile hits a plane and kills lots of people. Newsweek notes that "Iran's anti-aircraft were likely active following the country's missile attack," which would make sense, as the FAA also told pilots to GTFO out of Iranian/Iraqi/Persian Gulf airspace after the strikes.

But whoa, that is a big accident, considering how close this plane was to the Tehran airport when it crashed. How many other planes took off just before and after that? Somebody who likes to look at airport data should look into that.

Iran has been freaking the fuck out over this. The first explanation proffered by the Iranians was that it was "mechanical failure," but that just didn't jibe, according to former FAA accident investigation chief Jeff Guzzetti, who spoke to the Washington Post and also appeared on the Rachel Maddow program last evening:

"To me it has all the earmarks of an intentional act," Guzzetti told The Washington Post. "I don't know whether it was a bomb or a missile or an incendiary device. I just know airplanes don't come apart like that."

Guzzetti added on Maddow that he might change the words "intentional act," but was pretty clear that modern planes just don't take off and then lose all their shit in the air, lose communication, burst into flames, break apart, and immediately fall out of the sky. He noted this happened two minutes after take-off. Something external needs to make that happen.

Assessments from Iranian and Ukrainian investigators started to change pretty quickly. Engine problems? Terrorism? They just don't know. Of course, Iran is being pretty pissy about not handing over the black box from the plane, because it is a Boeing, and Boeing is American, and Iran is not about to give an American company the black box for a plane that crashed outside Tehran. Iran can fuck off with that, but we will note that maybe if Trump hadn't just killed the second-most powerful person in the Iranian government, Iran might maybe be inclined to be a little more helpful.

Iran invited Ukrainians to participate in the investigation from the beginning, a team the Washington Post notes "includes specialists who helped investigate the July 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine." Now Iran is saying Canada and Sweden can help too. So that is good, we guess.

Oh yeah, but Iran is still saying NO WAY, they did not shoot down that plane, even by accident and it is just silly for you to suggest such a thing:

[Civil Aviation Organization of Iran chief Ali] Abedzadeh [...] dismissed speculation that a missile strike took down. In a statement, he said this outcome was "scientifically impossible and such rumors make no sense at all."


Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for the armed forces, described that chatter to Iran's Mehr news agency as American "psychological warfare," as well as "ridiculous" and an "utter lie."

"Most of the passengers on this plane were invaluable Iranian youth; everything we do is aimed at defending our people's and country's security," Shekarchi said.

Uh huh, OK.

We are not sure, but we are guessing that this was a massive fuckup accident, and Iran is doing everything it can to cover it up.

As for conspiracy theories, well, who knows what we'll find out, but only 11 onboard were Ukrainian, so we are guessing it was probably not Russia sending Ukraine a message through its proxies in Iran while America was distracted, probably.

Of course, it was still Ukraine International Airlines, so ...

Anyway, here is President Truthbonkers, who has "suspicions" about what really happened. Even he thinks it was an Iranian fuckup, and that the plane was flying in a "rough neighborhood," but honestly he doesn't really know.

Mark it on your calendars: January 9, 2020. Donald Trump may not be wrong about a thing.

[Newsweek / Washington Post]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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