Whose Fault Was Search for MiG-29 Delayed for Month?

While the debate about the likelihood of the crash of a MiG-29 fighter from a collision with a bird does not subside, another important question fades into the background: why did they search for an airplane and a pilot for a whole month? Why did they have to invite Turkish experts, and then the Russian military?

Officials did not provide any reasonable explanations for these issues, periodically stating that the search was difficult due to bad weather conditions.

These days, the crash of the same MiG-29 was often recalled, almost in the same place in 2008 and the helicopter crash south of Baku in 2013.

In both cases, the dead and the aircraft were found quickly enough. At the same time, only local specialists and equipment were involved.

So why, after 11 years, there were no specialists and equipment and they had to turn to foreign specialists?

The answers to these questions unexpectedly came from the USA, from a person who was directly related to the rescue operations of 2008 and 2013.

After the crash of the MiG-29 in 2008, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense created a working group with the goal of improving the search and rescue system to world standards. This work was entrusted to the leadership of the Navy in 2011-2012. A unique search and rescue system was created, allowing in a short time to complete the task at sea.

It is enough to note that the unique sonar system created at that time was 30 times more effective than those currently used, which meant minimal loss of time during the search. This effectiveness was confirmed in 2013, when a combat helicopter crashed into the sea and its crew was found within 24 hours, the specialist noted.

The reason is that the equipment mentioned was actually destroyed, and the team of competent specialists was dispersed or forced to leave the country. One of the authors of the search and rescue system created in 2011, the former head of GeoGlobe Fuad Mehraliyev, asserts that the country"s military prosecutor"s activities are targeted.

Forced to leave Azerbaijan and having found asylum in the United States, Mehraliyev told the details of what happened in an interview with Turan.

It all began in October 2013, when Admiral Shahin Sultanov, commander of the Navy, and Captain First Rank Gasim Guliyev, head of the Navigation Service, were dismissed and then arrested. This was followed by the arrests of 35 officers and employees of various services and departments that collaborated with the Navy.

The search and rescue system was removed from the Naval Navigation Service and transferred to the Department of Topography of the Ministry of Defense. The personnel, consisting of junior officers, trained and experienced in working with modern technologies and equipment, began to leave the service.

At the same time, the new composition of the service was recruited from those who were ready to testify against the former Navy command, Mehraliyev claims.

Repressions against the command of the Navy continued in the Military Court.

"Seeing this clear and dangerous trend inspired by the Military Prosecutor"s Office, I was forced to leave the country," says Fuad Mehraliyev.

When asked exactly what the prosecution"s charges were, Mehraliyev said that during interrogations he was required to testify against the former leadership of the Navy and one of the Deputy Defense Ministers. Moreover, he was required to admit that his company"s agreements with the Navy (incidentally, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers) were fraudulent and damaged the country. The last interrogation of the sort was on September 30, 2014.

"A few hours later I left the country, and after 7 months (!), on April 27, 2015 a criminal case was brought against me under articles: 179.3.2 (misappropriation and embezzlement of state funds under aggravating circumstances) and 313 (official forgery) of the Criminal Code," said Mehraliev.

When asked what the misappropriation and fraud consisted of, he noted that the investigator demanded to acknowledge that the contract inflated the cost of the work and indicated the work that had not been completed.

"To the lawyer's question "where did you get these prices?" the investigator said "from the Internet." Then the lawyer quoted the text of the contract, which said that the price for the work performed includes: equipment, insurance, guarantees, travel expenses, import and export operations and the company's profit," Mehraliyev said. The pressure of the military prosecutor"s office took place against the background of the fact that none of the government agencies with whom the contact was signed - the Ministry of Defense, the Navy and the Cabinet of Ministers - made claims, and were satisfied with the result, he noted.

How long would the MiG-29 search take if the GeoGlobe search engine was used? To this question, Mehraliyev answered that no more than 2-3 days. As for raising the aircraft from the bottom, it depends on the weather and depth. In any case, it would take 1-3 days.

"Almost five years after leaving the country, I can say that the unique system that we created was purposefully destroyed, trained specialists were repressed or left the country. The purpose of all this was wrecking. As a result, after 2014, our infrastructure in the Caspian is not protected from external and man-made impacts," Mehraliyev said.

As for the charges against former Navy commander Shahin Sultanov, during the investigation and trial through the media, a blackening campaign was purposely launched against him.

After receiving 8.5 years in prison, Sultanov did not give up and proved that the charges against him were falsified. Thanks to this, the imprisonment of him and all other officers was replaced with conditional punishment.

However, the Admiral did not agree and requires full justification. In 2015, the publication in www.haqqin.az wrote about all this in detail. We publish material from our colleagues with abbreviations.

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There is a pipeline protection system, but...

In 2012, specialists of the Navy of the Ministry of Defense proposed a system for monitoring underwater and surface infrastructure as the first line of control. The development of this unique system was undertaken at GeoGlobe, which has the most advanced experience. After successfully creating an advanced integrated search and rescue system for the Navy, the company began to develop a monitoring system for marine infrastructure under a new order of the Ministry of Defense.

The contract for the first phase of work was concluded in October 2012. The work was designed for one year, after which the development and implementation of the system on a full scale should have begun. However, the work was never funded, although it was a strategic marine infrastructure. But the efforts of the then leadership of the Navy did not stop work and continued at the expense of GeoGlobe resources. In 2013, the pilot project was presented to the BP Technical Commission and received a positive assessment.

Arrest of the Commander

All attempts to convince that the delay in the introduction of modern security systems is extremely dangerous suddenly began to run into a blank wall or repeated excuses, from time to time related to lack of funds. It turns out that the state is ready to invest $ 45 billion in a new energy project, which will be a continuation of the existing infrastructure worth $ 15 billion, but does not find incomparably small funds to protect these investments!

In August 2013, the head of the Civil Registry Office of the Navy, Gasim Guliyev, was ordered to retire by order of the leadership, and in January 2014, the commander of the Navy, Shahin Sultanov, was removed from his post and comprehensive checks began. As a result, both officers were imprisoned (April 2014) with the most severe charges, and GeoGlobe was defeated.

Revelations from GeoGlobe

It turned out that the wave of arrests in the Navy did not bypass this company either, and after a year of continuous checks, it was practically defeated by the military prosecutor's office. Key specialists leave the company whose property is seized. Leading experts are demoralized by threats and blackmail by the military prosecutor's office.

The cooperation of Geo Globe with the defense department began after the crash near the village of Shurabad of the MiG-29 fighter in January 2008, with the help of which the company helped the Ministry of Defense free of charge. After that, it was decided to instruct the company to develop and equip the warships with appropriate equipment.

GeoGlobe was the only Azerbaijani company that conducted complex research and provided engineering safety for the implementation of large infrastructure projects. Such narrow-profile modern equipment, technologies and such professional personnel as GeoGlobe possessed were not even in state institutions. The company coped with the task, and as part of our Navy, a modern integrated search and rescue system appeared.

Attorney Comment

Here's what Kamandar Nasibov, the company's lawyer, says: "When a wave of arrests swept through the Azerbaijani Navy this spring, the military prosecutor"s office began checking the contract between the Navy and GeoGlobe. The case is being investigated by an investigator from the military prosecutor"s office, Rafael Ismayilov. The investigator began to regularly call the founder of the company, Fuad Mehraliyev, for interrogations. "

Without presenting a single specific charge, the investigator practically froze the company"s activities, seizing part of its property, tearing off employees to endless interrogation calls, damaging the company's activities.

The lawyer also evaluates as very strange a call for interrogation of employees recruited in 2012-2014, who were not informed about maritime safety work at all. But the investigator Ismayilov does not even think of leaving the management and employees of the company. He continues to interrogate employees and tries to force them to testify against the management of the company.

The case literally reached insanity: for interrogation in the case of the agreement concluded in 2009, employees hired in 2014 were called. They were threatened with arrest if they did not testify against their leadership. Unknown people call relatives of the company employees and threaten them with reprisal and arrest if their relatives from GeoGlobe "do not go to the investigation." The employees involved in the inquiry are promised to "face a nightmare" until they give the necessary evidence.

Constant threats come to the family of Fuad Mehraliyev. His 80-year-old father-in-law, after talking with the investigator, was hospitalized with a diagnosis of hypertensive crisis. The 14-year-old daughter of one of the employees still cannot recover from the words of the investigator that her dad will soon be sent to prison.

Unfortunately, things went beyond threats. Having no reason or documentary evidence to hold the company management accountable, the investigator ordered the arrest of the property of the company and its leaders.

The threats of the investigator of the Military Prosecutor's Office suggest that his illogical, at first glance, actions were not professional unsuitability, but a direct threat to state interests.

Today, an uncompromising, brutal struggle for the security of the country is at stake, and the destruction by targeted actions of its defense system is tantamount to actions against the future of the country, against its well-being.

One conductor, one goal...

So is there a connection between the BTC explosion, the war in Georgia in 2008, the arrests in the Azerbaijani Navy and the events in Eastern Ukraine in 2014? Rather, does the chain of these events seem so random and illogical after what was described in this article? In any case, the conductor is single, as are the goals...

Fierce competition in the energy market forces Azerbaijan to be extremely careful about the security issues of its oil and gas and other strategic infrastructure. Everything related to national security cannot be entrusted to foreign companies. Azerbaijan needs to create its own high-tech structures and research centers that would carry out work of importance from the point of view of the protection and security of the national heritage.

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