‘Israel’s Mossad downed Iranian President’s helicopter,’ as per top blog focusing on Israel national security issues

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A Hezbollah-affiliated journalist, Elijah Magnier, has raised the possibility that Israel may have caused the crash which took the life of Pres. Ebrahim Raisi, the foreign minister, and other high level officials: Did the Iranian President’s Helicopter Crash or Get Shot Down? He did not make a definitive statement on the cause. But for a journalist closely allied with Iran to speculate that Israel may have caused the crash, is a clear indication that Iran is taking this possibility seriously.

Magnier’s article did pique my interest, and I pursued the question with an Israeli security source. He confirmed that Israel was responsible. He used a phrase that duplicates almost word for word Israeli comments on previous assassinations: “Any head of state ordering an attack on Israel signs his own death sentence.” This may refers to the massive Iranian missile-drone attack on Israel several weeks ago. Though Raisi probably played a secondary, if any role in that, since Ayatollah Khamenei would approve such a sensitive operation.

The source also indicated that the assassination was approved not only by Netanyahu, but also by the war cabinet, including Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot. This strengthens any war crimes case that may be brought against all three of them.

Ayatollah Hashem (l.) initially survived the crash, later succumbing to his wounds, sitting next to foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, shortly before crash

Noted Israeli security analyst, Amir Rappaport writes in Israel’s leading defense publication:

The circumstances regarding their helicopter crash are reminiscent of countless assassinations (for example, known methods of the Mexican drag cartels, which similarly killed tens of people over the years). This raises the question: was the hand of the Mossad connected to the event, since other helicopters departed on this flight from Azerbaijan to Iran unscathed?

Rappaport, of course, knows that the Mossad killed Raisi. He has said as much above (along with comparing the Mossad to a Mexican drug cartel). He cannot be more definitive due to a military censorship directive against reporting Israel was responsible.

How did Israel do it? There are no definitive answers to that question yet. But there are important elements to consider: tThe Iranian helicopter model was at least 60 years old. It had no built-in navigation system. The pilot would have used a GPS app and online mapping system to plot and maintain his course.

Israel is known to jam Syrian electronic missile defense systems when it attacks targets there. It would be quite easy for Israel to jam the helicopter’s electronics, including apps and online navigation aids. This might disable the aircraft completely or provide the pilot with false, or no readings.

Note that Israel has an airbase in Azerbaijan. It could easily have fired a missile from inside that country that struck the helicopter. Or it could have smuggled a bomb onto the helicopter.

Iranian president’s chief of staff refutes bad weather theory

The Iranian president’s chief of staff, who flew in the one of the helicopters which landed without incident, refutes the claim of bad weather as the cause of the crash.

Note, he also says there was only seconds between losing visual contact with the helicopter and realizing it was missing. This indicates a mechanical malfunction is unlikely.

The is his video interview with English subtitles:

The presidential helicopter begins its flight from the dam

He says:

Interviewer: So there was no fog?

Esmaili: Not at all. There was fog on the ground, but not up in the air where we were traveling with the helicopters. However, in one small compacted area, there was a small patch of clouds above a cliff. In terms of height, this cloud was at the same height as our flight’s height.

It was there that the pilot [of the presidential helicopter], who was also the commander of the fleet, told the rest of the pilots to ascend above the clouds. We were third behind the president’s helicopter. We rose above the clouds and advanced for approximately 30 seconds. Our pilot suddenly realized that the main helicopter carrying the president was missing.

Interviewer: You didn’t see the helicopter anymore after ascending?

Esmaili: Yes, exactly. After ascending above the clouds, we didn’t see the main helicopter. The ascent itself didn’t feel difficult or hard. Sometimes, when we use the plane, we feel turbulence, but we didn’t feel anything at all inside the helicopter this time when ascending. And after we ascended, there were no other clouds.

Interviewer: So beyond this, there were no weather forecasts mentioning any disturbances in the weather to make it unsafe?

Esmaili: No, there wasn’t any. Shortly after, we were able to see beneath us, and there were no clouds anymore…We realized, however, that our pilot was making a U-turn suddenly, so I asked him why. He said that one of our helicopters was missing. We estimate that they made an emergency landing because we also have no radio contact with it anymore. So I asked him when was the last time contact was made? The pilot answered, “A minute and 30 seconds ago when the pilot told us to ascend above the clouds.”

Our pilot circled around the area a few times, but the area with the cloud patch was also invisible to us, and it was too risky to enter. We failed several times to make any radio contact. We were forced to land after 30 seconds…to investigate.

During the flight, we had continuous phone calls with the passengers, including the bodyguard, Mr Abdollahian, the governor of East Azerbaijan, and the Friday imam of Tabriz. However we tried calling all of them without luck.

After some tries, calling the cellphone of the captain [of the helicopter which crashed] accompanying the president, someone picked up the phone. It was Ayatollah Hashem [a passenger on the flight that crashed], the Friday Imam of Tabriz. He told us that he was injured. He was moaning and lot and in pain. I asked: “What happened?” He replied: “I don’t know. I don’t understand what happened.” I asked him: “Where are you.” He replied: “I don’t know.” I asked him for his whereabouts to help us find him. He said: “I’m in between the trees.” I asked him if the rest of the crew were OK, if he can see them or has access to them. He said: “I don’t see anyone. I’m alone. I didn’t realize what happened. and there’s no one around me.” We had contact with him for 3-4 hours. [He had died by the time rescuers reached him]

It was clear at that point the helicopter had crashed.

Note above that the sole survivor, Ayatollah Hashem, told the chief of staff by phone that he had no idea what happened to the helicopter. That indicated a quick, sudden event rather than a gradual failure. That could be consistent with a missile or similar weapon.

Azeri connection to helicopter crash

My source added that it was “no accident” that Raisi was killed after returning from a dam-opening ceremony with Azerbaijan’s leader, Ilham Aliyev. According to Iranian media reports, the Azeri leader even told Raisi at the ceremony: “Some countries do not want us to talk; but I do not care.” He undoubtedly was referring to Israel.

My source was implying that Azerbaijan played a role in the killing. It’s well-known that Israel maintains a massive surveillance presence there. It has Mossad agents, forward listening posts and even airbases. All directed at Iran. There are any number of ways Israel’s assets there could have sabotaged the helicopter.

Iran has had shaky relations with Azerbaijan for some time. There are numerous points of contention between them. If Azeri forces or Israelis based there conducted this operation, it will poison relations between the two countries.

Will Iran retaliate?

If my source’s claims are correct, all hell will break loose. When the US assassinated Qassem Soleimani, Iran was deterred by fear of US military force. Iran feels no such constraints regarding Israel.

When Israel destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus and assassinated a senior IRG commander, Iran signaled it planned to retaliate. This time, if Iran decides to respond, there will be no such warning.

The killing was an incredibly reckless act. But unfortunately, not surprising given Israel’s record in Gaza for the past eight months. There are no more constraints. No fear of transgressing global norms. No fear of international justice. There is only savagery on a massive scale. Now, any leader Israel has a problem with, can unceremoniously be disposed of.

There is no Israeli strategy behind the killing. Getting rid of Raisi will not change Iran’s posture toward Israel. It will not dent its will to resist. In fact, it will strengthen it. It will rally the populace in support of the government. It will not weaken Iran’s leadership. There are others waiting in the wings to replace him. It is simply murder for murder’s sake. Killing just because you can.

It is the alpha male gorilla exerting dominance over his rivals. The long arm of the Mossad proving it can reach its enemies no matter where. Like the Biblical passages portraying God’s “strong hand and outstretched arm,” the Mossad presumptuously decides who will die, how they will die and when they will die.

The only thing that might prevent massive Iranian retaliation, is that Israeli fingerprints cannot (yet) be detected. Within days, Iranian officials should know what happened. If Israel used a bomb or missile, this should become known. That being said, the covert nature of the attack might offer Iran some restraint.

The US certainly knows what happened. I have queried the State Department, Pentagon and NSA about US knowledge regarding this incident. Secretary of Defense Austin said the Pentagon has no “insights” into the cause of the crash. State referred me to an earlier press conference in which the spokesperson said that Iran said a mechanical failure caused the crash. He did not respond to my specific question, which was: what does the US know about the crash and does it have a response to the report that Israel was responsible. Israel too has now said it was not responsible. Iran said the crash was “most likely” an accident.

This report is a bombshell that could destabilize an entire region and soak it in more blood than it has seen in years. While it is based on a highly credible source and strong circumstantial evidence, it has not yet been independently verified (for obvious reasons).

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