30 YEARS AGO TODAY, U.S. SHOT DOWN A PASSENGER PLANE KILLING 290 CIVILIANS AND COVERED IT UP | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


30 YEARS AGO TODAY, U.S. SHOT DOWN A PASSENGER PLANE KILLING 290 CIVILIANS AND COVERED IT UP

On July 3, 1988, the United States killed 290 innocent Iranian civilians when it shot down Iran Air Flight 655—a tragic event that is not mentioned in history textbooks in school, and that is widely ignored in the context of current relations between the U.S. and Iran.

The scheduled flight was traveling from Tehran to Dubai, and there were 66 children on board, all of whom were killed, as no passengers or crew members survived the attack. The plane was shot down by the USS Vincennes, which was operating within Iranian territorial waters. It targeted the large Airbus A300 and then insisted that crew members mistook it for an F-14 fighter jet, despite the obvious difference in size.

At the time, Iraq and Iran were engaged in a bitter war that was declared by Saddam Hussein on Sept. 22, 1980. The United States’ support for Iraq in the conflict is notable because it would later go on to overthrow Hussein in 2003.

The cover-up was executed by U.S. military officials who failed to interview key witnesses, and then later lied to Congress about the location of key military warships at the time of the attack. As the investigation from Newsweek noted, the U.S. Navy had mostly gotten away with covering up the incident until the Iranian government filed a lawsuit which “forced Washington to admit, grudgingly, that the Vincennes was actually in Iranian waters—although Justice Department pleadings still claim the cruiser was forced there in self-defense.”

Instead of firing or charging the U.S. military officials who were responsible for shooting down Iran Air Flight 655, the U.S. awarded Capt. Will Rogers III and Lt. Cmdr. Scott E. Lustig with special commendation medals for their “meritorious service” on the USS Vincennes in a display that completely ignored the tragedy they created and the nearly 300 innocent civilians they killed.

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