LONDON – A new report that has been drafted up by the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) has accused the Iranian Government of using civilian passengers as “human shields”.
Such accusations in the report were made as a result of the Iranian Government keeping its airspace open for civilian air passengers as such shields against a possible American attack at that point.
PS752 is not far away from hitting its two-year anniversary when the Boeing 737-800 was shot down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC).
Two surface-to-air missiles hit the plane, killing all 176 passengers on board, 55 of which were Canadian citizens.
Victims Asking For Better Explanations
Victims, particularly in Canada, have not been at all satisfied with the findings released by the Iranian civil air authorities, with such victims taking the investigation into their own hands.
For the last 18 months, they have hired private detectives to conduct their own investigation, which has viewed all sorts of documents, from audio recordings of top Iranian officials to phones from the crash site.
Hamed Esmaeilion, who is the President of the association representing the victims said that everyone is frustrated over the “limited progress achieved to date” when it comes to holding Iran to account.
“Governments like that of Canada’s have produced several reports in respect of Flight PS752, but they are limited in nature”.
What was in the new report?
The 200-page report spanned deep into such revelations being exposed by the victims’ private detectives, with it going deep and heavy-hitting on the Iranian Government.
“[The] Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims believes that Flight PS752 was not shot down as a result of a human error of one operator, nor was it a consequence of multiple errors in the defense system as claimed by Iran.”
“At the highest levels of military alertness, the government of Iran used passenger flights as a human shield against possible American attacks by deliberately not closing the airspace to civilian flights”.
“The destruction of existing evidence, and Iran’s misleading reports, all indicate that the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 was deliberate”.
What was more revealing that the report mentioned was that the IRGC couldn’t have mistaken the passenger plane for a hostile target due to the sophistication behind the missile and defense network that the country has.
On top of this, keeping the civil airspace open despite Iranian forces firing missiles at Iraqi bases where U.S troops were stationed shows a significant level of danger and potentially strange cover-up.
Cellphone Tampering Happened on Crash-Scene
Esmaeilion’s wife was given a phone and smartwatch back to him, which was thought to have been tampered with at the crash site.
The report was led to believe that the phone survived the crash and that the Iranian Government participated in such tampering to potentially preserve such evidence.
Upon the two items being given to Esmaeilion, he handed it over to the RCMP to analyze, but they told him that they didn’t have the equipment available to scan the devices properly.
So Esmaeilion decided to hire private investigator Mark Mendelson, who used to work with the Toronto police service. He commented on his findings in the report:
“[There is evidence that] strongly suggests that concerted efforts were made to extract [the memory/data] components, rendering a review of data impossible.”
“A professional inspection of the devices that were returned to the families led our investigators to conclude that key memory and communication components of the electronic devices were damaged in a targeted manner after the crash”.
Mendelson also found that the devices given to Esmaeilion didn’t end up belonging to his wife.
But on top of this, a lot of the victim’s personal belongings were stolen from the crash site and were not returned to families.
Soldier Couldn’t Have Confused The Difference Between Military & Civilian Air Traffic
The new report also stated that the operator of the missile system that shot the plane down had “vast experience and expertise”, including military service in Syria.
Such a conclusion has been made on the interpretation of comments made by Iranian authorities during meetings with the families.
According to the report, also, military experts provided the families with data that suggests it’s “highly unlikely” that the operator misidentified the aircraft as a cruise missile.
Cruise missiles, compared to a Boeing 737-800 have major differences in length, speed, altitude, and motion profiles which makes them easy to distinguish from each other.
“It is implausible that the missile system operator simply confused a much larger civilian aircraft, moving in more gradual patterns and at a slower speed, for a cruise missile,” the report said.
Human Error Can’t Account for Missile Strike
There was an alleged 105-degree error made by the pilots on PS752, which could have placed the aircraft into military airspace, hence why the missile would have been launched the first time.
But, as mentioned in the report, the families do not believe that such human error would have accounted for the missiles to hit the aircraft anyway.
“Our thorough analysis suggests that the alleged 105-degree error was an act of falsification carried out by Iran to convince the world that ‘human error’ in re-alignment of the Tor-M1 unit was the cause of the downing”.
It also said that passengers on the flight were asked by Iranian officials at a security checkpoint prior to departure if they had American passports or were headed to the U.S.
Canadian Government to Take New Report Further
The Canadian Government has come out and said that it will look into this report further.
This comes as an official forensic examination of the crash saying that there was not enough evidence to deem this missile launch as “premeditated”, which the report from the families is trying to establish.
Omar Alghabra, the Transport Minister for Canada commented on this, saying that the interpretation of this report was reached a different perspective.
“Based on the examination and the evidence that we looked at and from a variety of sources, we couldn’t find credible evidence it was intentionally or deliberately targeted”.
“However, there’s mounting evidence of significant negligence that could rise even to a level of criminality”.
“[We will take] their feedback extremely seriously”.
Alghabra has been talking to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Melanie Joly about what the government can do next in terms of the next steps.
“The government is soon going to run out of patience and we’re going to explore other options”.
“We are going to pursue all options to achieve truth, justice, and accountability for Canadian families.”
What remains clear is that the conflict surrounding PS752 is far from over.
If the Canadian Government deems the new evidence provided in the new report to be substantial, then this could be the beginning of further international cooperation when it comes to sanctions.
But for the victims of the families, they of course rightly believe that the truth is not being given to them fully by the Iranian authorities.
The Iranian Government is quite clearly trying to save face and not admit full 100% blame for this, which may backfire in their faces even more, especially if world leaders continue to get involved over this issue.