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July 02, 2004

Remembering Iran Air 655
Ali Mostashari  [info|posts]

Iranair.jpg Sixteen years ago to this day, on July 3, 1988, the U.S.S Vincennes, also known as the RoboCruiser, shot down an Iranian passenger Airliner from within Iranian territorial waters, killing 290 people on board. While calling the incident "tragic" and blaming the airline pilot for this "accident", to add insult to injury, Captain Rogers the commander of the U.S. Navy vessel, was awarded the Legion of Merit award for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of an outstanding service" by George H. Bush (Senior) in 1990. I guess it was given for the stress of having to pick up and return charred bodies and torn limbs from children and pregnant women to the Iranian authorities or maybe it was in recognition of the most spectacular fireworks for the 4th of July celebrations. In any case, to this date there has never been an apology on behalf of the United States for this incident only an expression of "regret" over the incident.

In 1998, ten years after the incident, at a time when nobody really cared anymore (the same with the 1953 coup and other issues), Newsweek did an investigative article that is worth reading. It refers to the coverup operation of the U.S. Navy, as well as the refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to consider lawsuits filed by the families of the victims. The U.S. paid $2.9 million compensation ($100,000 per person) to the families involved, while penalizing the Iranian government for $100 million for an American that was taken hostage for six years but later released by the Lebanese Hizbollah (go figure the value of an Iranian life versus an American life).

More interesting is the reluctance among the free and independent U.S. media at the time in the coverage of an event that would inconvenience the conscience of the American public.

For some reason it seems "hearts and minds" cannot be won, when the life of people who are on the receiving end do not really matter.

I look forward to the day when a President of the United States offers a public apology over these and other acts of violence that have caused innocent people harm. I somehow think there has to be a U.S. President who is as courageous as that Madman, Libya's Ghaddafi, who took responsibility for bombing the Pan-Am 103 flight. Or would that be too much to ask?

Seeker at July 3, 2004 02:55 AM [permalink]:

Dear Ali

I dont know how can I thank you for bringing this. t was very timely. I was just thinking about that horrendous incident. I still remember the pictures of innocent people shown on the TV and faces of their loved ones shedding tears and then I see the silly faces of the preventive worriors who want to crusade to destroy EVIL and bring democracy and human rights. This is laughable for me .Maybe I am just pessimist but my pessimism has reasons and I am sure my Iranian friends who have experienced the war years know.
I would just suggest: for more in depth information on other terrorist wars waged by the USA against other nations.
We as people tend to forget things very easily. This has always been a puzzle for me.
I am just speechless and hope that one day we will see a better world with no superpowers and dream of justice ,mercy,love....
I am just a dreamer ....

Arash Jalali at July 3, 2004 02:59 PM [permalink]:

I still have the recorded voice of George Bush Sr. in the UN security council session on tape. I have listened to it for so many times I know it almost by heart:

"... It's that strong sense of common humanity that has led our government to decide that the United States will provide voluntary compensation to the families of those who died in that crash...We make this offer strictly as a humanitarian gesture, not as a matter of legal obligation, but out of a sense of moral compassion, reflecting the value that we server, place, on human life..." - 2818 meeting of the U.N. Security Council; July 14, 1988.

James at July 3, 2004 03:14 PM [permalink]:
A number of facts are a bit skewed here. First, a Legion of Merit is a standard medal handed out to ship captains after a successful tour of duty; Rogers did not receive the medal for what occurred with Iran Air. Rogers actions were due to a poor man-machine interface and an overly aggressive crew (in fact Vincennes was known as "Robocruiser", not a mark of pride). While aggessiveness was a significant factor leading up to this tragedy, ships' captains at the time were rarely taken to task for being overly aggressive. In the end the investigation determined that an error was made by the crew of the ship that was mostly due to a lack of specific training for the environment it was in. For more details on this I would recommend anyone interested go to: War & Info Technology. Rogers was not found as being at fault for the incident, hence he was allowed to complete his tour of duty on the ship, received the standard award upon leaving, and then allowed to fade into the distance two years later. Second, the alleged Newsweek article provided doesn't appear to me to be a Newsweek article, and given the poor editing of the thing I'd be very surprised that it was anything other than someone re-hashing an article that was in Newsweek. It's certainly not a dispassionate, impartial evaluation of the incident which is what's called for when you're trying to get to the roots of why something like this occurs. Third, I'm not sure where it's to be found that the U.S. Navy blamed the Captain of Iran Air. In fact in the article below the main one provided it states: "Later, months later, the US Navy internal investigation would determine that Captain Rezaian had done everything right." Given that initially it wasn't well understood why Iran Air was shot down it serves to reason that the pilot would have been considered as part of the problem; the Navy backed away from that after the facts were better understood. The total compensation to the victims of this tragedy is a bit muddled, but the total paid is somewhere around $38 million if payments made by the U.S. govt on behalf of the Iranian govt are taken into consideration. Specifically: Under the February 22, 1996, agreement that settled the Iran Air case before the International Court of Justice and Iran's bank-related claims against the United States before the Tribunal (reported in my report of May 17, 1996), the United States agreed to make ex gratia payments to the families of Iranian victims of the 1988 Iran Air 655 shootdown and a fund was established to pay Iranian bank debt owed to U.S. nationals. As of March 17, 1997, payments were authorized to be made to surviving family members of 125 Iranian victims of the aerial incident, totaling 29,100,000.00. In addition, payment of 28 claims by U.S. nationals against Iranian banks, totaling $9,002,738.45 was authorized (see Iran Report To Congress 5-14-97), which the Iranian govt would then be expected to provide to the victims as part of the overall settlement --- either way, the total settled for was a bit over $38 million. On the basis of individual claims (which are less than 290 given that many of the victims of the shoot down were children and likely a number may not have been represented by families, in addition to non-Iranian victims being handled differently) the total compensation per person is about $304K. Lastly, I agree that a formal apology by the U.S. for this tragedy is in order. I also believe that better compensation is ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ali at July 3, 2004 04:02 PM [permalink]:

James, thank you for providing the official Navy response to this. I have had the same discussion with on eof my Navy friends who studied this in the classroom. She also basically indicated that "shit happens". The Airbus aircraft in itself was worth more than $30 million and the compensation in court to the Iranian government was to Iran Air for the ICAO assessment. The article is actully from Newsweek written by John Barry, and dating to July 13, 1992. You can find it at any public library. The 1998 inquiry was by PBS-Frontline. Still, your effort at discrediting the source was quite poor in this age of information where anyone can access the MSNBC/Newsweek website and see the article listed.

You also chose to ignore to address the other issues raised, such as the relative value of an Iranian life versus an American life.

In my view your response doesn't amount to anything but a basic disrespect for non-American human life. I feel strongly about the issue, having seen the torn bloody body parts of my compatriots in caskets and it makes me sick to the heart to see someone actually trying to defend the U.S. Navy on this by trying to be manipulative of the facts. I am sure if the case were reversed, and those were American lives you would have perceived of it very differently. I for one have no compulsions to express my contempt for all the violence and hurt that the Iranian government has caused through its support of international terrorism and its meddling in other countries' affairs, not to forget the pain it has caused the Iranian people. But I am really disgusted by hypocrisy when it comes to the life of my people...If you ask people in the Middle East why they are skeptical of imported U.S. democracy, you may find a perception of hypocrisy as one of the primary reasons. In my view it would go a long way to increase the credibility of the U.S. if it started taking responsibility for its actions, instead of trying to deny responsibility and shift the blame. But of course it takes courage to do that. As the Latin saying goes: Fiat justitia ruat coelum...

Arash Jalali at July 3, 2004 04:18 PM [permalink]:

Personally, I could not care less why he was given a medal but Legion of Merit does not seem to me as a standard award. According to the definition, the Legion of Merit medal is:

The only U.S. military decoration that has distinct ranks, and the first U.S. medal to be awarded to citizens of other nations. It is awarded for outstanding service, fidelity, and loyalty in either combat or noncombat positions. - Encycopaedia Britannica, 2003.

Also according to:

The Legion of Merit is awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States without reference to degree for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The performance must have been such as to merit recognition of key individuals for service rendered in a clearly exceptional manner. Performance of duties normal to the grade, branch, specialty or assignment, and experience of an individual is not an adequate basis for this award. For service not related to actual war the term "key individual" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of significant achievement. In peacetime, service should be in the nature of a special requirement or of an extremely difficult duty performed in an unprecedented and clearly exceptional manner. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of important positions.

I don't know about unprecedented, but I think he did quite an exceptional job! I would like to think shooting down a passenger plane is not considered a "standard" performance, even by the U.S. military "standards".

James at July 3, 2004 04:29 PM [permalink]:

Ali, No, that's my version of the event, not anything official.

Second, I don't try to discredit anything. I merely state that the article is poorly edited (someone who actually reads things might notice this, you don't seem to be amongst them), and that it wasn't in the ilk of something sufficiently dispassionate to get to the facts of what's addressed. If an article is provided from Newsweek it should come from an official, vice a geocities site, and clearly show its lineage; this one doesn't.

Where you come off giving me my views on life, non-American or otherwise, I haven't a clue. I'm sure you believe what you do, and you're welcome to it.

Second, read what I posted. I stated quite clearly that I believe the compensation should have been greater. Clearly some of the individuals who read this blog have a hard time reading. I am in no way qualified, nor have I indicated that I was, to make any sense of the machinations regarding how one compensates a life.

James at July 3, 2004 04:33 PM [permalink]:

Arash, If you don't care less for why the man was given a medal I would suggest you spend less time trying to figure out the reasons for why such a medal is given, especially from a source that isn't going to cover all the reasons for the awarding of a medal (or not likely to address all of them.) Again, and any officer with any association with the U.S. Navy would be able to tell you that the medal in question is a standard give away to anyone who commanded a major command, of which Vincennes is considered, so long as the commanding officer in question didn't screw up. Given that Rogers was exonerated by the Navy of criminal action in the Iran Air affair he got what everyone got at the end of his tour on board the ship. I'm not excusing what happen, or saying the man deserved what he got, I'm simply laying out the facts.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 3, 2004 06:11 PM [permalink]:

I have to agree with Ali on this one. The American conduct on this affair was and still is despicable and unacceptable. Nothing short of a full apology for what happened and a change in the way this case is handled by teh Americans is going to do, at least as far as we are concerned.

Ali at July 3, 2004 06:15 PM [permalink]:

Dear James,

Please let the Newsweek editorial board know of your opinion. I am sure they would be more than happy to retain your services.

I guess I did overreact to your effort to divert the discussion from its main point (the inherent moral wrong of slaughtering innocent human beings). I apologize for that. I guess it felt the same way as it would have for you if someone tried to justify the 9/11 attacks.

James at July 3, 2004 06:24 PM [permalink]:

Ali, I'm sure the Newsweek editorial board would be very happy to hear from me were I talking about an actual article from Newsweek. The fact remains that there's no clearcut indication of that. Sorry.

There is not moral wrong in killing innocents when the killing in question wasn't deliberate. If you are on a mission to kill innocents there's a clearcut moral and legal wrong. When you do so accidentally, for whatever the reasons, it's a tragedy. Iran Air was a tragedy. I'm not sure I've said anything but that, but then a few on here have a habit of reading what they like and interpreting the rest and I'm never quite sure what I'm responding to.

Ali at July 3, 2004 06:41 PM [permalink]:


Excerpts from the Newsweek Website:

In 1993, Barry was honored with an award from Investiga-tive Reporters and Editors, Inc., for his July 13, 1992 cover story, "Sea of Lies," an investigation into the blunders that led to the 1988 downing of a Iranian passenger jet by an American warship

So you have a job at Newsweek afterwards, although I think Fox News would find your skills far more useful.

The death of 40,000 people on U.S. highways due to accidents every year is a tragedy. This is called criminal negligence as my law courses at Harvard would suggest. Criminal negligence is a moral wrong. Whether or not the U.S. Navy decided that a bunch of Eyeranian low-lives deserved justice doesn't alter the facts of the story which have surfaced to create a very unambiguous picture over the years.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 3, 2004 07:00 PM [permalink]:

Though I just have one more thing to say:

"...If you ask people in the Middle East why they are skeptical of imported U.S. democracy, you may find a perception of hypocrisy as one of the primary reasons... "

Ali, I think it is really time for the people in the Middle East to stop acting as little children and start analyzing things and regard each case individually and within its context, stop over generalizing and to form consistent world views, to make it clear to themselves what they do or don't want in life, to figure out their set of values and priorities and in summary to grow up and act like rational adults for a change!

James at July 3, 2004 07:18 PM [permalink]:

Ali, Tell me, really, how do you see me on Fox? You aren't even reading what I'm posting, you have no clue what I'm saying, you have no idea what my politics are, and then you come to this. Jeeez. And then you have the cujones to admit you're trying to become a lawyer, via Harvard no less. Whoooa.

I don't question that Barry wrote "Sea of Lies", I simply question that what I'm seeing is that article in fact. If it is, great, to include the pretty background it's printed on makes it something special. So it's poorly written, emotional and does not provide references. What do you all call that at Harvard when you write something that doesn't provide references, that doesn't give you a chance to fact check, and puts words in the mouths participatants in the event reported that the writer of the piece couldn't possibly have heard? Heck, I don't know, where I come from that's sorta interesting reading, like something Tom Wolfe would do, but it ain't the stuff you hang someone with, you know what I mean? You need something with more grit, more substance, more facts to check, or don't they teach that at Harvard these days? I'm sure they did at one point, but maybe the law school does things differently.

As for Havhaaaad ... criminal negligence is in fact a crime, but I suppose at Harvard they haven't quite gotten around to teaching you how you go about proving criminal negligence. You need to take them up on that as I'm sure that legal education of yours is costing you a pretty penny and you truly should get all you can out of it as someone will expect you to know the simple stuff. Ok here you go, free of charge, criminal negiligence, in case you're not apprised, is not someone's opinion, or many someone's opinions, or even something you predicate upon an interesting article that was run in Newsweek (we all know how much of paragon of investigative journalism Newsweek is --- that cover stoy on the Olsen twins awed me and changed my life, for sure), rather it's based upon the facts of the situation. So counselor-to-be, come up with the facts, show it was criminal negligence, convince me as it were --- but naw, it's too easy for you to say, "It's obvious". Uh huh ... see if you get to pay off your Hahvaad school bill with that line of talk when you're working for some white shoe whatever.

You want to write a good article for Law Review Journal, or maybe write your way onto the Reivew, Ali? Let me tell ya, you're gonna have to do a LOT better than you're doing here. But it's good emotional stuff, hits hard in ineffectual, inaccurate sorts of ways --- consider writing scripts for "The Sopranos", or maybe "OCP".

James at July 3, 2004 07:32 PM [permalink]:

Ali, Let me ask you, 'cuase this is something that occurred to me while I was cooking dinner. Did you ever bother to click on my name, you know that hyperlink that comes with my name when I post here? I mean you want to make accusations about someone, and this is important for you Harvard Law Grads to understand (another freebie for you, I'm starting to like ya so you can expect lots of gems like this), but you should KNOW something about the person you're going toe-to-toe with. After you check that out, assuming you're so inclined, if I'm a future Fox News correspondent that Rush Libaugh is a drag queen (ok, I've always suspected Rush was a bit "off", but you get the idea.)

Sina at July 3, 2004 09:31 PM [permalink]:

I'm given a huge gun, and one day in a "tragic" accident I kill three hundred people using that gun. What does it mean? it means that I do not deserve to carry a huge gun, I should be disarmed immediately and if not put to jail for that mass murder, I should be forced to apologise at least 300 times, and never even be given a single knife. No one would even think about giving me merits (This was the minimum consequence I could think of).

The Iran Air incident only shows that the captain and the high ranking crew of USS Vincennes did not deserve to be appointed to their posts. They did not deserve to run and control that sophisticated battleship. In other words it was a wrong decision in the first place to let that battleship serve under the control of such people. But what happened instead? The Captain not only continued his service (high risk to commercial air and sea travel - and risk for his own crew) but also was awarded a standard merit (as James tries to explain). Aparently in the US Navy whether or not you mess things up and make shit happen you will be awarded the The Legion of Merit. Cool indeed, respect!

James at July 3, 2004 09:46 PM [permalink]:

Sina, You are, of course, a homicidal maniac. There was nothing "accidental" about what you did killing 300 people when you use a gun you happened to turn on that many people. But of cours there may be an explantion for the deaths, say the gun blew up and caused a fire, and there may be a case for case for negligence, or maybe not.

As for the rest of your contentions, provide some evidence that supports your position; emotional rants are great, but they don't get to the heart of anything.

Ali at July 3, 2004 11:36 PM [permalink]:


I am happy you've gotten to like me :)I have to say I also enjoyed your postings (before this one :). I guess I should have elaborated that I am a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Systems at MIT and that I have taken only two international law courses at Harvard as cross-registration for my negotiation and conflict resolution doctoral track. So I am not a Haahvad law student. I do get the impression reading your postings again, that there is a tendency in trying to hide behind technicalities to evade facing a valid substantial criticism. I also get the feeling that you never really delved into this issue befoe today and that most of your arguments are based on googling, which is of course a valid approach, if it gave you a good picture. Of course I wouldn't write a journal paper like this, nor were any of your responses worthy of a journal paper. This is a weblog. As for criminal negligence, I would advise you to read the transcripts of the The Hague International Tribunal proceedings to see how the process was settled by the U.S. Were it not for the stupidity, corruption and treason of Iranian officials, the Americans wouldn't have had a chance. It was a backdoor deal that got the U.S. off the hook. The transcripts are available at Law Schools all across the United States (ISBN 92-1-070737-0). Criminal negligence is defined as "showing wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of others.", for which the actions of the Vincennes Captain qualified.Anyway, this discussion is not going anywhere I guess. If I offended you by putting you on Fox, I apologize. I feel deeply about this issue and have little patience for anyone justifying slaughter of civillians, even if it's with good intention.

Dan Schmelzer at July 4, 2004 12:12 PM [permalink]:

I'm very uncomfortable in reducing to a dollar figure a comparison of criminal negligence against civilians versus premeditated terrorism against civilians. These cases seem too dissimilar to come to any useful conclusion.

As far as I know, $300,000 per victim was the going payout at the time for airline-negligent accidents in Iran. Do you have any information otherwise?

Also, did Terry Waite ever collect his $100 million or was the impact of the award merely symbolic?

Dan Schmelzer at July 4, 2004 12:25 PM [permalink]:

Of course I mean Terry Anderson in my previous post. The IR must have it in for Terrys in general. ;-)

Marco Ferreri at July 4, 2004 02:39 PM [permalink]:

But it made iran accept the armistice and ended the Iran-Iraq war in a few months, didn't it?

How many people were saved that way?

Mirror at July 4, 2004 05:17 PM [permalink]:

There is a big difference between cause-and-effect and simultaneity! Only an i***t thinks that incident ended Iraq-Iran war.

"How many people were saved that way?" I hope your close relative would die like that, so that you understand the value of human life. Life is not mathematics that you start counting.

ghazal at July 4, 2004 10:52 PM [permalink]:

Putting a price on human lives or saying what it was worth of some price never makes sense to me either, specially if it is other people's lives, some of them just children.
I might be illusional but I don't believe taking a life of a child can ever serve a human cause.
I still remember the TV images of human body parts floating on water from that tragedy and
the pain makes me deeply despise taking innocent lives being Iranian, American, Iraqi, Israeli, Palestinian , etc., then justifying or calling it serving a greater cause.

Marco Ferreri at July 5, 2004 01:40 AM [permalink]:

Well, idealist is what we want to be and realist is what we need to.

Remember that nice words such as the value of human life are meaningless when the shit, sorry, the war happens.

If the US did that intenttionally, and I think they did, it was inhuman as their many other actions, but continuing the war as Khomeini and possibly others were, was also.

Don't even try to sound childish, I have tasted grief in my life also.

Mirror at July 5, 2004 04:11 AM [permalink]:

Nobody was justifying Khomeini's war policy. Your statement was wrong AND inhuman (=Not suited for human needs), Period!

James at July 5, 2004 10:01 AM [permalink]:
This is going to be my last post here, not because of anything that’s occurred here but due to the fact that I’ve invested too much time in getting into the discussions and I’ve had a hard time moderating that time, i.e. keeping the heck away. Not good. I have my own blog, I should focus on that and go from there. That said I want to clarify one thing on this particular issue. Ali claimed I was trying to justify the deaths of 290 people. His concern for misplacing my political affiliations pales in comparison to how he’s thoroughly misinterpreted anything I’ve written here. In no way do I justify the deaths of 290 completely innocent human beings who did not deserve to have their lives taken from them as they were in this case. This is my take on Iran Air 655 and the U.S.S. Vincennes: Given my 22 years in the Navy, my review of the literature associated with this incident (this is not my coming to this issue new, as Ali would like to believe), and my familiarity with the machinations of hostile engagements, I can well appreciate how this situation got out of hand to the degree that it did. Vincennes was engaged in pursuit of Iranian speed boats that were harassing local shipping, consequently it was under the impression that it was in a “hot” environment. This impression was partially due to the aggressive posture taken by Capt Rogers, he was itching for a fight, found one with some speed boats, and was pursuing an engagement. The Aegis weapons system employed by Vincennes had been active in the fleet for about 8 years at the point of this incident. Aegis was new and the crew was not trained for the specific situation they were facing. Aegis was intended to combat multiple missile and aircraft attacks against carrier battle groups, in this scenario it was employed in a vastly different environment encompassing a range of considerations that the ship’s crew should have been trained on before ever arriving in the Gulf. The subsequent confluence of mistakes and miscues by the crew during the pre-launch engagement of the ship with the plane, added to: 1. An overly aggressive ship’s captain with a crew encouraged to be like him. 2. The aura from the previous year of the U.S.S. Stark being attacked and nearly sunk by Iraqi cruise missiles launched from a fighter jet --- no ship’s captain in the Gulf was going to allow himself to be a victim of a missile attack again. all contributed to this tragedy occurring. Far too many people who don’t understand how these systems work attribute abilities to them that simply don’t exist (for example, based solely on the radar image of an airliner you cannot distinguish it from a fighter --- long distance radars, which employ larger wavelengths in their signal, make this impossible.) This was an accident, plain and simple. It was not deliberate, it was not intended to happen, and no one was happy with the reality of what occurred after it was known. All of that said, I do agree with the following: Very likely a case could be made for negligence on the part of Rogers given how he operated his ship in the Gulf. The Vincennes was in fact known as “Robocruiser”, it was repeatedly associated with overly aggressive actions, and it was by and large this aggressiveness on the part of Rogers and his crew that was the primary catalyst for this accident to have occurred. In that respect I hold Rogers responsible for what happened and on the basis of what I know (and I appreciate I do not know everything ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Babak S at July 5, 2004 02:28 PM [permalink]:

Okay, I'm a bit late on this discussion. But let me first ask a math question: how much did the US really pay to the families of the victims? $2.9 millions in the article does not divide to $100,000 per passanger. Is that a mistake in the decimal point?

PKG at July 5, 2004 02:51 PM [permalink]:

Dear James,
I have a goodbye gift for you! (I know that you love these exclamation marks)
There was a book which was published recently named “Imperial Hubris”. The author is a senior intelligence official at the CIA who served from 1996 to 1999 as head of a special unit tracking Bin Laden (I asked him to write this book in order to promote my “personal” agenda as you said ;). In case you don’t have time to read the book, I’ll write a few paragraphs of it for ya.

“I believe the answer lies in the way we see and interpret people and events outside North America, which is heavily clouded by *arrogance* and *self-centeredness* amounting to what I called "imperial hubris." This is not a genetic flaw in Americans that has been present since the Pilgrims splashed ashore at Plymouth Rock, but rather a way of thinking that America's elites acquired after the end of World War II. It is a process of interpreting the world so it makes sense to us, a process yielding a world in which few events seem alien because we Americanize their components.”

“This is meant neither to ridicule my countrymen's intellectual abilities nor to be supportive of Bin Laden and his interpretation of Islam, but to say that most of the world outside North America is not, does not want to be and probably will never be just like us. And let me be clear, I am not talking about America's political freedoms, personal liberties or respect for education and human rights; the same polls showing that Muslims hate Americans for their actions find broad support for the ideas and beliefs that make us who we are.”

“I'm saying that when Americans — the leaders and the led — process incoming information to make it intelligible in American terms, many not only fail to clearly understand what is going on abroad but, more ominous, fail to accurately gauge the severity of the danger that these foreign events, organizations, attitudes and personalities pose to U.S. national security and our society's welfare and lifestyle”

You can’t say these are just some left-wing screeches! These are very clear warnings from one of your own intelligence members. They are pretty much similar to what I said in my previous posts but maybe hearing them from a darkie/terrorist/eyranian is hard and you prefer to hear them from your own people.

Arash Jalali at July 6, 2004 02:52 AM [permalink]:

You are right. The exact total amount is $29,100,000.00. Apparently this amount was paid only to 125 families [look here].

vazagh e pir at July 6, 2004 06:23 PM [permalink]:

When I read Ali Mostashari, I feel pro-James. I continue being pro-James untill I read James. I liked AIS at July 3, 2004 07:00 PM. Anybody with similar feelings?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 6, 2004 07:27 PM [permalink]:

Finally somebody who actually liked my comments here! Thanks buddy ;>
(just kidding of course)

Faisal Hoque at July 20, 2004 02:41 PM [permalink]:

I like the assertion that accidents like that suggest the US shouldn't carry big guns. The imperialist mindset in the US white house and military is very deep indeed. Although that was probably an accident, it shows how the US has its finger on the trigger around the world.

Faisal Hoque

Babak S at July 20, 2004 05:50 PM [permalink]:

Faisal Hoque,

Although your comment sounds like a fair conclusion, I'm afraid there's a hidden line to it: big guns exist, but the US should not carry them. Who, do you suggest, should then? Would you like to carry them?

Kaveh Kh at July 21, 2004 09:18 AM [permalink]:

This is only relevant to the previous comments: A Swedish journalist long ago proposed that, because of the profound effects of any decision made by the US adminstration, it is only fair that every human being should have a vote on the US presidential election.

daanaa at September 4, 2004 06:05 AM [permalink]:

Let me draw your attention to ``THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT", chapter "WE HAVE SOME PLANES" ,page 17 ,third paragraph:

"Prior to 9/11, it was understood that an order to shoot down a commercial aircraft would have to be issued by the National Command Authority (a phrase used to describe the president and secretary of defense)."

Mohammad Saber at September 25, 2004 11:10 PM [permalink]:

Dear Sir
I need images of this reagedy, do you have any? I was in Iran when it happened.
Please do reply

Jason at January 14, 2005 09:03 PM [permalink]:

Dear Ali , when this cowardly act happened i was about 3 . Now,i really start to think about that . I read that this has been a tragical missunderstanding . As it seems they confound the Airbus plane with an iranian F-14 fighter . How stupid can they get ??? How can u confound an A300 with an F-14 , U american with the newest technologie at the navy's service .Instead to apologize for the death of 290 people ,ur still blaming the Pilot . I wont blame the American citizens , but your Goverment belongs to the axis of Evil not the one who you are naming . I thought you were fighting for freedom and democracy , even not in your dreams. Your whole way of business is to destroy other Nations , kill the poor people with your god damn excuses that you are hunting terrorists . Very ridiculous , A Terrorist sitting in the white House tries to chase terrorists . Hahaha

Clarence at May 6, 2005 07:45 AM [permalink]:

I really enjoy being at this informal place.
Wish you luck and success for the future.
Surely see you again sometime.

chuck at June 29, 2005 12:39 AM [permalink]:

To them that were not there.
I was an OSSN on Vincennes 03 Jul 88
I can tell you all, none of us are proud of what happened that day, and most of us are haunted with the memory.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 29, 2005 10:10 PM [permalink]:

maybe you can tell us more exactly what happened?

Greg at July 6, 2005 08:33 PM [permalink]:

Hello everyone,
doing research for a piece I'm writing that deals with a potential war on terror with Iran. This site has been helpful and I thought I'd clue people in to a site that has the details on what happened with flight 655.

It's quite concise but still pretty detailed

chuck at August 7, 2005 01:25 AM [permalink]:

To An Iranian Student (AIS)
There's a great deal more I would share if I could. While our thoughts and memories are free, the written word is a powerful tool that my country could and probably would use against me. There are many things that happened that day in the C.I.C. and things that happened in the days, weeks, and monthes that followed that have not and never will be de-classified. I know this is not what you want to hear. The same old run-around. I know exactly what happened, exactly what went wrong. All I can say is that it was human error. To tell everyone everything I know, would land me in a jail cell for the rest of my life. The downing of 655 was and remains a horrific event that will never leave the minds of us who were there, and those that lost their loved ones. With all my heart and from the depths of my soul I am sorry. That is all I can tell you without putting my freedom, and perhaps my very life in danger. I'd just like those who know to remember, and those who don't know to be aware of the fact that someone tried to kill our captain not long after we returned home from the gulf. The captain wasn't in his car at the time. His wife and several children were. Fortunatly no one was killed or injured, but an attempt was made. We've been accused of being overly aggressive. I guess maybe we were. We've been accused of making mistakes. We did.

chuck at August 7, 2005 02:13 AM [permalink]:

I was just re-reading some of the posts. I'd like to point out a couple things. The so-called "speed boats" we were dealing with at the time we luanched our missiles at the incoming aircraft, well, they where 40' boston whalers. Gunboats equipt with 50 cal. machine guns and rpg's, and there were 13 of them to start with. They fired on our Helo. They fired on us first. Minutes into the engagement our forward gun (76 mm cannon)failed, leaving us only one gun to fight with. The aft cannon. I just want to say this too. Everyone in the world blames captain rogers. As the ultimate decision maker I know he blames himself. It wasn't his fault. He depended on the information we gave him. We failed him, and he took the fall for our mistake. The truth is so simple and so stupid I can't believe no one's figured it out yet.

Chuck at August 30, 2005 12:29 AM [permalink]:

In the face of horror do you run like hell?
Or do you stay the course and truely excell?

Have you seen the charred bodies that we burned?
Is this a life lesson I'm supposed to have learned?

That one fateful day on the 3rd of July.
In a split decision we let our missiles fly.

The bodies were everywhere falling from the sky.
There was nothing left to do but hang my head and cry.

They said we were right for what we did.
It was just a mistake by inexperienced kids.

Maybe they're right it was a mistake.
But it's more than my heart and mind can take.

Boris at April 24, 2006 06:28 PM [permalink]:

Dear all,

My grandfather was killed at this plane. His name was Slobodan Neskovic and he was one of the six Yugoslavians working as the engineers in Iran building a port with Yugoslavian construction company PIM. Hopefully, one day I will be able to meet face to face with Captain Willian C. Rogers and Rear Admiral William Fogarty... I just want my grandfather’s name to be remembered. SLOBODAN NESKOVIC. Thank you.

chuck at April 29, 2006 01:55 AM [permalink]:

Dear Boris,
I'm truely sorry. Your grandfather's name will never be forgotten. I am writing a book that will tell the truth about everything. I no longer fear the penelty I may face for doing this. It can be no worse than the hell I live in, inside my mind. I am researching all of the victims to the best of my ability. All the victims names, along with a short bio will be included.
I would like to hear from family members of all the victims. I want to learn all I can about each and everyone of them. I am moving to another town and will no longer have this email address. But, I can always be contacted at: I will respond to all emails. Chuck

alex at May 18, 2006 04:31 PM [permalink]:

This incident portrays an act of terror upon a country we deem as terrorists. I hope that during the negotiation process to restore diplomatic contacts between Iran and the US, this incident will be considered, and adequately compensated. bush Sr. and reagan should go down in history as the war criminals that they are.

A . A at July 25, 2006 09:13 PM [permalink]:

Okay, the incident of Air Iran 655 was a terrible incident and accidents happen right?? But since when do accidents happen that involve american and iran. Every thing the U.S does for iran is pointless and NOT an accident. In fact, what was America doing in the middle of Iran-Iraq war. They said they were monitoring them but Iran and Iraq are independant they don't need American monitoring them... Then american soliders get killed by Iran and iraq and they blame us... Well who invited them in the middle of a war??
That's not the worst thing, the thing is that the americans made a mistake, but they don't admit it and accept it. After killing 290 innoncent people, 66 children included and one of my family member, they still blame it on us for not responding to there military calls even though Then american soliders get killed by Iran and iraq and they blame us... Well who invited them in the middle of a war??
That's not the worst thing, the thing is that the americans made a mistake, but they don't admit it and accept it. After killing 290 innoncent people, 66 children included and one of my family member, they still blame it on us for not responding to there military calls even though the civililan air bus has a different frequency then the american military. Americans thought it was a f-14 but it wasn't, and they should have a way of identifying the difference in case of emergency. The thing the americans did changed the iranian-american relationship forever. America is selfish... they only thought about themselves being saved without looking at the facts. The modes were 2 and 3, but right away they take 3 as a treat. Without thinking it could be a mode 2 which is a local air bus. It disapointes me that a community so strong as the americans would do such a careless action. Even today, where the case is solved and proven that it's american's fault, they still don't accept it... they say" I will never appolize, EVER, for what the americans did...I don't care what the facts are." After 18 years it still scares the iranians. Americans judge the iranians too fast. Right away they think iranians are terriorists but they're not. They seem to get the southern asians and middle easterns mixed up. IRAN IS IN ASIA NOT middle east. But still...they judge people in general too fast, not even knowing how iranians live and how they are. Iranians are proud of what they are, however most of iranians are not proud of the governement we have but we still respect the governement. Last thing we need is the americans giving us hard time which they always are.
peace out
Ey IRAN!!!! IRAN IRAN!! We ROCK in soccer!!! YA KARIMI!!

Proud 2 b iranian at July 26, 2006 08:37 PM [permalink]:

My family member also died in flight 655, he was the head flight attendant and his name is ShadMehr Talbi, His sons got a great amout of money for his death from the americans but it will never replace his life... he was greatly loved and will always be remembered!
God bless you all

Sara at July 29, 2006 08:21 PM [permalink]:


jaleh banaeyan at January 16, 2007 05:18 AM [permalink]:

we should never forgot about the terorist, we should n the gangsters in US government even gave the damn captain of that ship severyl medals!!!! he and his supporters belong in jail............

hopefully one day justice will win!!! big sympathy to the relatives of those passengers and to relatives of all other innocent people which have been killed by us army!!!
never forgive them, minevisam be khodayee ke dar tamame lahazat va sakhtihaye in mosibate bozorg kenaram bood, ghami ke be del daram ba hich chiz kam nemishe ama ey iraniya, ey mosalmona bedonid mosaferane in parvaz bigonah tarin va pak tarin boda, dorod be ravane paake khadameye parvaze 655, shadi rohe jaleh banaeyan, rohash shad va gharine rahmat baad, amin