Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 29, 2021

How ProtonMail Lost The Public Trust It Needs To Do Business

ProtonMail is a Swiss provider of an end-to-end encrypted email application. The service is free to use for consumers but sold to businesses and other organizations.

ProtonMail claims to have "Swiss Privacy Data Security and Neutrality".


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But how far can one trust ProtonMail's claims of a secure service when it is openly breaking, as we show below, its pledge of neutrality?

During the aftermath of the emergency landing in Minsk of a Ryanair flight between Greece and Lithuania ProtonMail provided fractional information about emails which delivered a bomb threat against the plane to several airports. The partial and seemingly willfully incomplete response by ProtonMail has led to false claims by various media against the government of Belarus.

The 'west' is currently waging an information war against Belarus. It wants to change the government of Belarus by whatever means. By only providing fractional information about the case ProtonMail has taken a side in this war. The 'west' is now imposing sanctions against Belarus which will inevitable have negative consequences for ALL people in that country. If ProtonMail does not clean up its slate on this issue it must take responsibility for these.

This, from today's New York Times, includes several false claims:

The plane, a Ryanair Boeing 737 headed from Greece to Lithuania, was traveling through Belarusian airspace on Sunday when it was diverted and forced to land in Minsk, the capital, with an escort from a fighter jet. Roman Protasevich, a Belarusian opposition journalist who had been living in exile abroad, was detained along with his girlfriend after the plane landed.

Belarus’s president, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, a brutal and eccentric strongman, has claimed that he rerouted the plane because of an emailed bomb threat, not to seize Mr. Protasevich. But a Swiss email provider has said that the email cited by the Belarusian authorities was sent after the plane had already been diverted.

As we have show previously the Ryanair plane was not "diverted and forced to land in Minsk". When the plane entered Belorussian airspace at about 12:30 local time (9:30 utc) it was informed by the Air Traffic Control (ATC) of Belarus that an email had been received by several airports that threatened to explode the plane over its destination in Vilnius. The ATC recommended to the pilot to land in Minsk. The pilot decided to do so by himself. The radio traffic between the pilot and the ATC has been published (scroll down) by the aviation authorities of Belarus. It is undisputed.

The NYT claims, relying of partial information by ProtonMail, that "the email cited by the Belorussian authorities was sent after the plane had already been diverted." The claim is false. There were two emails with bomb threats. One was received before the Ryanair plane entered the airspace of Belarus, the other was received after the pilot had already made his decision to land in Minsk. ProtonMail has so far only confirmed that the second email was send to Minsk. It has rejected to make comments about the first bomb threat email sent through its service to Minsk.

Here is how we know about the two emails.

The narrative of the incident (scroll down for the English version) by the Belorussian authorities starts with this:

On May 23, 2021, a written message with the following content in English was sent to the e-mail of the National Airport Minsk from the e-mail address protonmail.com:

A translation of the Russian language version of that paragraph is a bit more specific:

On May 23, 2021, a written message with the following content was sent to the e-mail of the National Airport Minsk info@airport.by from the e-mail address protonmail.com in English:

The radio talk between ATC and the pilot of flight RYR 1TZ has additional information about the email:

ATC: RYR 1TZ
Pilot: The bomb....direct message, where did it come from? Where did you have information about it from?
ATC: RYR 1TZ standby please.
ATC: 09:33:42: RYR 1TZ
Pilot: Go ahead.
ATC: RYR 1TZ airport security stuff informed they received e-mail.
Pilot: Roger, Vilnius airport security stuff or from Greece?
ATC: RYR 1TZ this e-mail was shared to several airports.

At 9:33 utc the Belorussian ATC knew that the email had been received by several airports in the region. This must have been the first email in question and the recipient field must have show several airport related email addresses.

We know that one of the other recipients of the email received by Minsk airport was an airport organization in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The Dossier Center, a rather shady anti-Russian outfit in London financed by the exiled billionaire and company raider Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has published this misleading narrative about the Ryanair incident (machine translation, emph. added):

Swiss Hamas - Inconsistencies in the "terrorist" version of the Belarusian authorities

On May 26, during a speech in parliament, Alexander Lukashenko commented on the emergency landing in Minsk of a Ryanair airline, on board which was the former editor-in-chief of the Nexta Telegram channel Roman Protasevich. Lukashenka said that the message about the mining of the side was received by “Athens, Minsk and Vilnius at the same time”. After the Belarusian air traffic controllers passed the information about the bomb allegedly received from the special services to the Ryanair pilots, it was decided to land the plane in Minsk. To escort the board, a MiG-29 fighter of the Belarusian Air Force was raised.

The Dossier Center, together with The Daily Beast and Der Spiegel, managed to obtain and analyze a copy of an email sent by a “Hamas representative” to the Minsk airport. It follows from it that the Belarusian air traffic controllers informed the Ryanair pilots about the mining of the plane 27 minutes earlier than they themselves received the message about the bomb.

On May 23, at 12:25 pm Belarusian time, the administration of “Lithuanian Airports” received a letter with a threat of a bomb explosion on board the flight FR4978, sent from the address [email protected].

The highlighted sentence says that a threat email arrived in Lithuania at 12:25 pm (9:25 utc). This must have been the same email which the Belorussian ATC mentioned at 9:33 utc:

ATC: RYR 1TZ this e-mail was shared to several airports.

Then however the Dossier Center claim in the second paragraph above, that "the Belarusian air traffic controllers informed the Ryanair pilots about the mining of the plane 27 minutes earlier than they themselves received the message about the bomb", makes no sense.

But the Dossier Center does show an email with a bomb threat that was received at 12:56 (9:56 utc) after the pilot had already made the decision to land in Minsk.


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The explanation that resolves the seemingly contradicting evidence is simple. There were two emails sent to the airports.

In fact on May 28 the Investigative Committee of Belarus, the country's prosecution service, published a note about the case (machine translation, emph. added):

It has already been established, to which we draw special attention, that there were several messages about the "mining" of the aircraft received through the Swiss anonymous mail service ProtonMail - at 12:25 and at 12:56. At the moment, the records of conversations with the pilots of the aircraft are being studied and analyzed in detail, and numerous other investigative actions are being carried out.

The Dossier Center however claims, without providing any evidence, that Minsk did not receive the first email (machine translation, emph. added):

At 12:30 the plane entered the airspace of Belarus. As follows from the transcript of the dispatchers' negotiations with the Ryanair pilots, at the same moment the Belarusian side informed the crew about the alleged explosion threat. At 12:33 pm, the controller informed the pilot that a letter with a message about the bomb had been sent to several airports at once. However, as the Dossier Center found out, at that time only Lithuanian Airports received a letter from the “terrorists”. The Greek Civil Aviation Authority said it had not received a bomb threat letter at the Athens airport.

At 12:47 the plane changed course and flew towards Minsk. The official statement of the Aviation Directorate of the Ministry of Transport of Belarus did not disclose details about the time of receipt of the email, but Dossier found out that a copy of the letter from user Ahmed Yurlanov came to the email of the National Airport of Minsk ([email protected]) at 12:57 pm Belarusian time - that is, almost half an hour after the transmission of the message about the possible mining of the side.

How the anti-Russian Dossier Center in London would even know when and what emails arrived or didn't arrive at Minsk airport is inexplicable.

The Daily Beast has cooperated with the Dossier Center in reporting the issue. Its piece, authored by Michael Weiss, a former research director of the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society in London, does not resolve the issue:

The email was sent to Minsk’s National Airport’s general information account at 12:57 p.m. on May 23, 27 minutes after the plane first entered Belarusian airspace and 24 minutes after air traffic control in Minsk first informed the Ryanair pilot that an emailed bomb threat was “shared with several airports.”

But the Greek Civil Aviation Authority, which is responsible for the plane that took off from Athens, has publicly stated that it received no such warning at any point during FR4978’s journey. Lithuania did receive the email, but not Vilnius Airport, the intended destination; rather, the recipient was State Enterprise Lithuanian Airports, the state-run company that handles three different Lithuanian airports (Vilnius, Kaunas, and Palanga).

That someone in Greece did not receive the bomb threat email and who in Lithuania received the email or not does not tell us anything about the reception of the first email in Minsk. The whole writeup is a diversion from that critical point.

Here is where ProtonMail comes in.

ProtonMail was asked about the second email published by the Daily Beast and the Dossier Center. It responded with a statement to Reuters which then misleading headlined:

Bomb threat cited by Belarus was sent after plane was diverted - Swiss email provider

A bomb threat cited by Belarusian authorities as the reason for forcing a Ryanair jetliner carrying a dissident journalist to land in Minsk was sent after the plane was diverted, privacy-focused email provider Proton Technologies AG said on Thursday.
...
Proton declined to comment on specifics of the message but confirmed it was sent after the plane was diverted.

"We haven't seen credible evidence that the Belarusian claims are true," the Swiss company said in a statement. "We will support European authorities in their investigations upon receiving a legal request."

ProtonMail seems to have confirmed to Reuters that the second email, received in Minsk at 12:56 (9:56 utc), had been sent through its service.

ProtonMail however seems to not have been asked about the first email received in Minsk and Lithuania on May 23 at 12:25 (9:25 utc). Still Reuters attributes the false claim,  that the bomb threat cited by Belarus was sent after the plane was diverted, directly to ProtonMail. Belarus cited the first email sent. ProtonMail only confirmed that the second email was sent. It should be in the interest of ProtonMail to clear up that issue.

Yesterday evening I asked ProtonMail to explicitly confirm that the first email was also sent to and received in Minsk. As it confirmed that the second email was sent it should have no problem with confirming the first one too. This unless it has left its claimed neutrality and is an active participant in the information war against Belarus.

Here is the full exchange:

Chahuapa @Chahuapa - 22:22 utc · May 26, 2021

Email can be easily spoofed (appear to come from some adres when it's not). I suggest anyone to stop using protonmail. It has been compromised.

ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 18:10 utc · May 27, 2021
Replying to @Chahuapa

The email leaked to the press was not obtained from us. Due to our encryption, we can't access/verify the message contents. However, we can see the sent time and can confirm it was after the plane was redirected.

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 19:12 utc · May 28, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail and @Chahuapa

The Belarus prosecutor states that it received two ProtonMails - at 12:25 and at 12:56 (UTC+3). sk.gov.by/ru/news-usk-gm...
Dossier Center claims that Lithuanian airports received threat email at 12:25.
Can you please confirm that the first email at 12:25 was also sent to Minsk.

ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 19:54 utc · May 28, 2021
Replying to @MoonofA and @Chahuapa

Unfortunately we can't comment on this as the first email is not public information yet. Only the Swiss authorities can make additional disclosures at this time.

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 20:07 utc · May 28, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail and @Chahuapa

I contacted you because I learned of the first email from:
a. Dossier Center
b. General Prosecutor of Belarus
Their claims of reception of the 9:25 utc email in Vilnius and Minsk are already public information.
You are only asked to confirm that both were sent at that time.

There was no further response from ProtonMail.

While ProtonMail seems to confirm the existence of the first email it is not willing to confirm that the first email was also received in Minsk.

This is not helpful. ProtonMail's confirmation to Reuters that the second email was received in Minsk has led to widely misleading headlines and numerous reports which, attributed to ProtonMail, falsely claim that Belarus recommended the plane to land in Minsk without having received a bomb threat to that plane.

ProtonMail could easily clean up the false reports by confirming in a public statement that there were two emails and that the first email at at 12:25 (9:25 utc) was also sent to and received in Minsk.

That ProtonMail rejects to do so demonstrates that it is a party in the information war against Belarus. Swiss Neutrality this is not.

But ProtonMail claims neutrality. It also claims that its encrypted email service is secure.

In light of the above ProtonMail's neutrality seems to be quite questionable. That lets me doubt that its service and products are as secure as it claims.

There have been other Swiss providers of encryption technology and services who had made false claims about their neutrality. Their claims about the security of the encryption services they provided turned out to be false.

Last year this led to headlines like these:

It is easy for ProtonMail to reclaim Neutrality by publicly providing information that an email from the account shown in the above screenshot or any other ProtonMail account was sent to the info@airport.by address in Minsk on May 23 at 9:25 utc. As ProtonMail confirmed that the second email was sent and received it must have the metadata that allows it to issue a similar confirmation about the first mail.

An additional public explanation of the fact that there were two emails in question and that its previous statement to Reuters was only with regard to the second email would be very helpful.

We should also keep in mind that this is not a question of good versus bad but true or false. One may dislike the leadership of Belarus. But one also has to acknowledge, as even The Atlantic does, that the government of Belarus acted in full accordance with the relevant laws:

Ryanair’s CEO called the incident “state-sponsored hijacking.” It was not. Technically, you have to be on a plane to hijack it. But the Ryanair incident was nevertheless diabolical—and what makes it particularly diabolical is that Belarus may have managed to pull it off without violating its agreements under international law.

One should also consider that the only casualty in this incident is an openly neo-nazi regime change activist who is financed by 'western' governments.

If ProtonMail wants to take that side it is free to do so. But it can not claim neutrality, and a secure service, while doing so.

Should ProtonMail change its mind and issue a clarifying statement on the issue I will update this post accordingly.

---
Previous Moon of Alabama post on the Ryanair incident in Belarus:

Posted by b on May 29, 2021 at 14:46 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Just read this, mkay?

https://theconsciousresistance.com/protonmail-is-insecure/

Posted by: Lurk | May 29 2021 15:07 utc | 1

GO B!!!!

I love your attack of this geo-political propaganda pig and can only suggest that when one thinks of network security they should think of Swiss cheese.

GO B!!!!

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 29 2021 15:15 utc | 2

regarding the first email ...

"a threat email arrived in Lithuania at 12:25 pm (9:25 utc)."

Since ProtoMail refuses to verify that Belarus received this email. Have any of the other recipients, such as Lithuania, showed the first email to anyone? This would at least confirm that Belarus was included on the recipient list. I am taking it as a given that no one will believe Belarus.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 29 2021 15:17 utc | 3

"Have any of the other recipients, such as Lithuania, showed the first email to anyone? This would at least confirm that Belarus was included on the recipient list. I am taking it as a given that no one will believe Belarus."

Lithuania is hostile to Belarus. It would not reveal such information.

Posted by: b | May 29 2021 15:23 utc | 4

Thanks b.

When you have an alliance of countries committed to lying about Russia, China, Iran (and friends), and get their own citizens to hate, and I mean really hate, their victims, I don't see how this ends well.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On CNN I saw yet another story on the Wuhan Lab leak and their latest take on it was to apologize for dismissing the lab leak theory last year. So their one regret was doubting our CIA because Trump and Pompeo overplayed their hand. They regret shunning their friends in the CIA because it would have helped Trump and now they have learned their lesson to forever be loyal to their government caretakers.


Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 29 2021 16:01 utc | 5

If ProtonMail's position is "Unfortunately we can't comment on this as the first email is not public information yet.", perhaps Belarus should release a screenshot - showing showing time, sender, recipient, message - equivalent to the screenshost of the second email. The first email would then be just as public as the second one. ProtonMail, having lost its excuse, could then either deny or confirm the first email.

Posted by: Perhaps naive | May 29 2021 16:02 utc | 6

Thank you for bringing up the issue. I still believe what I said yesterday:

I think Protonmail was criminally negligent in their tweets. Someone just shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and they helped him pull the trigger.

Unfortunately a lie is half way around the world while truth is still tying its shoelaces.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 29 2021 16:06 utc | 7

ProtinMail stood with the ‘protesters’ in both Belarus and Hong Kong:

https://protonmail.com/blog/belarus-protests-2020/

Posted by: Ms. Cat | May 29 2021 16:14 utc | 8

b - i agree with your conclusions here... as you note, if they change, you can change your conclusion, but at present, it is the only conclusion to make as i see it... did Mikhail Khodorkovsky pay protonmail to keep silent? is protonmail run by an intel agency? etc. etc.. they may not want to say, but in this example not saying anything about the first e mail seals their duplicitous role here.. they agree to the one but when asked are silent on the other... until they change this stance, it is clear they are an asset in the western system of regime change in belarus..

Posted by: james | May 29 2021 16:14 utc | 9

@ 8 ms. cat... someone ought to send a note to Ben Wolford, the guy who wrote that article asking him a question on the 2nd e mail that he can take to his superiors... otherwise he is working propaganda for a company that looks bad on him..

Posted by: james | May 29 2021 16:17 utc | 10

ps - i replied to that article in the comment section... see if they respond..

Posted by: james | May 29 2021 16:23 utc | 11

Yeah, it's a myth Switzerland is a neutral country. Not only it isn't, but, since the creation of the Euro Zone, it's de facto a EU member state (its monetary policy is directly tied to the Euro, it adheres and adjust to most European law and regulations etc. etc.).

Posted by: vk | May 29 2021 16:26 utc | 12

"this email was shared to several airports"

Couldn't this mean that Belarus got the first email from a third airport?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 29 2021 16:29 utc | 13

Excellent work. "Unfortunately we can't comment on this as the first email is not public information yet. Only the Swiss authorities can make additional disclosures at this time." You made news with this. Congrats.

From the release of "Fuck the EU" to now, it seems Russian Intelligence is always two steps ahead of the game, even though, like F the EU, it can't break thru the Borg narrative machine. Thankfully more and more refuse to assimilate.

Posted by: gottlieb | May 29 2021 16:42 utc | 14

Unfortunately we can't comment on this as the first email is not public information yet. Only the Swiss authorities can make additional disclosures at this time.

The way I read this is that they’re not denying there was a first email, in fact they are confirming there was a first email, it’s just that they won’t make any additional disclosures with regard to the first email.

Posted by: Down South | May 29 2021 16:58 utc | 15

anyone tried emailing ahmed_yurlanov1988@protonmail.com and asking him how many emails he sent? ;-)

Posted by: kons | May 29 2021 17:04 utc | 16

vk @ 12

The Tower of Basel, The Bank for International Settlements , also known as the mother of all central banks is based in Basel, Switzerland.

It’s not in the slightest but neutral.

Posted by: Down South | May 29 2021 17:05 utc | 17

….slightest bit neutral…

Posted by: Down South | May 29 2021 17:05 utc | 18

Switzerland has never been neutral in the strong sense of the word. Protonmail's answer to B's question is quite informative. It confirms the existence of an first e-mail and it confirms that Protonmail is complying with the Swiss government's requirements. Switzerland has commercial interests in Belarus and has not yet decided whether or not to join the EU sanctions. But it understandably does not want to act directly as a 'spoilsport' either. That could be very expensive.

Posted by: pnyx | May 29 2021 17:10 utc | 19

Putin and Lukashenko apparently have a lot to talk about

Putin-Lukashenko talks continue in Sochi on Saturday - Kremlin

For his part, Lukashenko told Putin before the closed-door part of the summit meeting on Friday that he had brought "some documents" on the current developments around Belarus. According to Lukashenko, "an attempt is underway to sway the situation to the level of August last year."

Ahead of the talks, the Russian president’s spokesman noted that Lukashenko would have an opportunity to inform Putin in detail about the circumstances and reasons behind the incident with the Ryanair jetliner, which made an emergency landing in Minsk after a bomb had been reported aboard the flight.


Posted by: Norwegian | May 29 2021 17:11 utc | 20

"Couldn't this mean that Belarus got the first email from a third airport?"

The timing would likely not allow for that. The mails to Lithuania and Minsk arrived at the same time.

Posted by: b | May 29 2021 17:14 utc | 21

And the email was likely open CC'd. so Minsk could see that it was also sent to Lithuania and (a possibly invalid-nonexistent) Athens email.

Posted by: kons | May 29 2021 17:23 utc | 22

... until they change this stance, it is clear they are an asset in the western system of regime change in belarus. - Posted by: james | May 29 2021 16:14 utc | 9

Why would that clear their name at this point? Too late me thinks.
================================================
Just read this, mkay? - Posted by: Lurk | May 29 2021 15:07 utc | 1
Nooooooo Prontomail is not secure, particularly from state actors.
None of these mail services are. Even TOR has LOUDLY defined risks.
The short version is you cannot run unsecure along secure browsing or apps.
For Intel hardware the best set up I found was Cubes, Whonix (using TOR) and having two dedicated systems.
But Intel HW comes with a backdoor built in. Every SoC seems to. Minux3? Anyway it's an additional chip (on a -x ring) that has complete control over the PC.

There's lot of work being done on this. Even math to defeat quantuum encryption.
With the arrival of open source RISC hardware, it will be possible for the first time to create and maintain secure computers. There is already tech to secure the Internet available and make it more public.

None that defeats a fascist regime tho.

Posted by: David G Horsman | May 29 2021 17:36 utc | 23

Great research, b. Protonmail's reply to you only proves that they are very selective about what they publicly reveal. They are lying by omission.

You and others refer to another Swiss company, Crypto AG which provided a fake encrypted messaging service for decades in the form of rigged encoding devices - whose codes could easily be cracked by western intelligence agencies. I've no idea whether Protonmail is doing the same thing, but I could not find any endorsement by the top experts of their service, unlike the Signal App. Edward Snowdon and Bruce Schneier have recently recommended Signal as very secure, but nobody seems so sure about Protonmail, at least according to my quick Google search.

Crypto AG was not the only fake encryption system that the NSA controlled. The NSA also added a backdoor to the RSA algorithm, as Schneier revealed years ago. So eveyone should be suspicious of any supposedly secure communication system, even more so if it's Swiss.

Posted by: Brendan | May 29 2021 17:56 utc | 24

I try to catch ABC.net.au's 7pm News bulletin each day. It's the Officially Trustworthy Oz News, sort of. When Candidate Trump called the MSM Fake News, you could almost hear millions of people all over the West whacking the side of their heads and declaring "Hey, I Knew that! Thanks for saying it out loud, Trump!"

And I began referring to my daily ABC News habit as watching, or listening to, the Fake News. Since it has only gotten worse since 2016 I decided to make a list of things Western Governments Sometimes, Often, or Usually lie about. But when I got to Item 23, I realised it would much quicker and simpler to make a list of things Western Governments NEVER lie about. And I was right. So far I haven't found one relevant topic and the list is a blank page.

Since that sounds too good to be true, I'd be grateful if someone/ anyone would like to suggest 1 or more relevant items to get it started :-)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 29 2021 18:13 utc | 25

It’s possible, then, to see this incident as designed to trigger Belarus color revolution 2.0.
The contents of the “journalist” laptop and phone might also thus be loaded with “golden apples” - false leads and disinformation meant to misdirect the recipient.

Posted by: jayc | May 29 2021 18:23 utc | 26

That Protonmail is untrustworthy is long known, and since at least 1-2 years they have been proven to work with western intelligence and criminal justice agencies.
That western MSM outlets promote their services to whistleblowers and activists is one thing, but that even many "privacy" and IT literate people have still been promoting their mail and now VPN is beyond me.
The info on their lies was out their since 2019 AFAIK, early 2020 at least.
Email is NOT safe and will never be safe. If you can handle PGP AND have an offline, TRUSTWORHTY way of sharing keys, you still leave the metadata.

Recently Tutanota lost their court case and is now compelled to provide backdoors to their supposed end to end encryption. Same as swiss law has mandated for years.
A service their BY LAW could not be trustworthy, regardless of technical details what so ever.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | May 29 2021 18:31 utc | 27

"A service their BY LAW could not be trustworthy, regardless of technical details what so ever."

A service there (in Swiss) BY LAW could not be trustworthy, regardless of technical details what so ever.

Posted by: D | May 29 2021 18:31 utc | 28

You simply cannot expect any commercial entity to refuse to comply with a government's request for information regarding illegal activities that entity is able to provide. It's assinine to believe a business would destroy itself over one user.

That said, protonmail keeps almost no information about their users and the content of the emails is encrypted. Some items are required by law, but none finger a user or location afaik

Ps. If you use any phone that has service via a cellular telco to send an email, they haz ALL ur metadataz. You're toast.

Posted by: Pelican3301 | May 29 2021 18:46 utc | 29

there is some Henry Jackson thing in London?!? Pooper scooper Jackson?

Posted by: jason | May 29 2021 19:32 utc | 30

@Brendan at 24

"unlike the Signal App. Edward Snowdon and Bruce Schneier have recently recommended Signal as very secure"

Signal was developed with U.S. government money. Its "open source" policy is a joke. Both Snowdon and Scheider are "patriotic" Americans.

Posted by: b | May 29 2021 19:47 utc | 31

David G Horsman | May 29 2021 17:36 utc | 23 quote - "Why would that clear their name at this point? Too late me thinks." yes, i agree.. however there is still a very small chance they are neutral.. all points lead to my conclusion and some others here - they are not neutral.. the article @8 ms. cat speaks directly to this..

Posted by: james | May 29 2021 19:51 utc | 32

@ Posted by: pnyx | May 29 2021 17:10 utc | 19

The case of Switzerland's absorption by the EU is very interesting. Its people refused to enter the EU by referendum and, contrary to some other Western European countries - where new referendums were enforced until the "correct result" was gotten (i.e. Ireland, Denmark) - Switzerland's strong tradition of powerful and binding referenda prevailed and its elites weren't able to circumvent that. At least that's what the Swiss people believe.

Instead, the Swiss elites used a very creative path to become an EU member without being an EU member: through a series of legislative acts, Swiss Law essentially converged with European Law piece by piece. Meanwhile, the Swiss central bank pegged the Swiss Franc to the Euro, at a fixed rate; this essentially tied Swiss monetary policy to the monetary policy of the ECB, making the ECB responsible for Swiss monetary possible. This strategy was also used by Denmark, who's not a member of the Euro Zone.

And I'm not even getting to the regulations. Those are already so widespread and so ingrained among the Western European countries that they're not even considered EU regulations anymore. Even after Brexit, the UK will continue to follow a lot of EU-era regulations, for the simple fact it's so ingrained into the UK legal system that it became unpractical to undo them.

Posted by: vk | May 29 2021 20:24 utc | 33

Perhaps it would be constructive for the government of Belarus to summon the Swiss ambassador to explain how foreigners conducting an offensive information war from Swiss soil is comparable with Swiss claims to neutrality.

Neutrality, like free speech, is indivisible.

Ultimately, as in the case of the CIA and German intelligence operated 'Swiss' front company selling 'encrypted' technology to 120 foreign governments, see links in the above post, Swiss lawmakers and citizens need to bring transparency this Black-OP or else stop claiming 'neutrality.'

The MSM continues to maintain, repeat and amplify their original cover story despite the facts, thanks, b.

Posted by: Paul | May 29 2021 20:49 utc | 34

This 'public key' vs. 'private key' terminology has always been inexcusably misleading. I come upon such inexcusably misleading terminology constantly (yes, constantly) in the world of voting systems analysis (of political scams such as ranked choice voting (RCV)).

The so-called 'public key' is not at all analogous to any 'key' at all. It is simply akin to an 'address'. It really should be called a 'published address' (which is utilized electronically rather than (more) physically). It really works like this:

You may send a letter (in the mail) to my 'published address' (aka 'public key'), bearing my ZIP code, apartment number, and so on. It will arrive in my mail box, which only I possess the key to open (this is the 'private key').

The only difference is that, instead of involving a physical letter, the method uses a (possibly open source) algorithm to use my 'published address' (aka 'public key') information to encrypt messages in such a manner that another (possibly open source) algorithm can use (only) my 'private key' to decrypt them. This is a sort of 'one way street' in that my 'published address' (aka 'public key') cannot be used to decrypt messages, even though the encryption algorithm utilized that 'published address' (aka 'public key') to encrypt them.

We live in a culture of hyper-reticence, where nothing is explained properly. Mind traps that exploit this are everywhere.

Posted by: blues | May 29 2021 20:55 utc | 35

Grrr, spell checker: Compatible not comparable

Posted by: Paul | May 29 2021 20:59 utc | 36

@ Posted by: b | May 29 2021 19:47 utc | 31

This is important to have in mind.

Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald etc. etc. etc. are not revolutionaries. They're reformists. They believe the status quo needs tweaking, but they don't contest it in general terms. They don't seek - and don't want - to undermine the supremacy of Western Civilization and its corresponding capitalist system. In fact, it's not even that they don't seek it: they can't even envision another possibility (that differs them from the neocons/reactionaries, who can clearly see, and fear, a possible socialist world order). A canary in the coal mine is all they want to be.

If you have this in mind - that those liberal and leftist journalists and activists are mere reformists, not revolutionaries - then everything you read from them will immediately start to make sense.

Posted by: vk | May 29 2021 21:40 utc | 37

Posted by: vk | May 29 2021 21:40 utc | 37

Stil, Greenwald has made his stint in exposing the propaganda machine - especially after he was forced out of the Intercept - and has been subjected to intense attacks by various minions of the imperial regime. He has challenged the liberal consensus repeatedly and by name.

So yeah, he may not be the vanguard revolutionary, but he has been doing his part. On the other hand, we have had far too many faux-revolutionaries that have been doing nothing to oppose the Anglo-American regime in any meaningful way, especially in the information sphere. Considering the reality we're dealing with, I'm more than happy to see him bashing the liberal chorus that has been the greatest enemy the left has been facing lately.

Posted by: Constantine | May 29 2021 22:13 utc | 38

@ Posted by: Constantine | May 29 2021 22:13 utc | 38

Because he wants this propaganda machine to get better (be "fairer"), not because he wants it destroyed. I don't think it crosses his mind a world without journalists with absolute freedom of speech working for media corporations with absolute freedom of press in a free market environment. This limitation alone already aligns him against, e.g. China, who has lifted 850 million people from poverty and has achieved unparalleled feats in modern economic history.

Sure, other people can make good of him. It's the fate of these naive reformists to serve as raw material to the main characters of History (see the famous case of the Stoic Opposition during the Principate for a distant case that doesn't stir modern emotions and ideologies).

Posted by: vk | May 29 2021 22:22 utc | 39

The hype won't end soon. The west will blather and wring its hands and accuse and lie and lament the poor little nazi in the cell. Andre gets it and the due date is June 16.

Riiight. Someone builds a gigantic common market in Eurasia and is planning human exploration of Mars using new types of propulsion, others discover new genders and support all kind of lowlifes such as Navalny or Neo-Nazis in Kiev. Hey, free will, free will. So the United States still can produce some Force majeure before Geneva summit to kill the summit or try to frame Putin but at this stage it doesn't matter. It is very anti-hype and almost anti-climatic and this state of the affairs is brilliantly summarized by Leo Tolstoy, and I hope you know what quote from War and Peace I am talking about.

Barflies help me... what is the quote?

The USAi elites immediately stymied Putin meeting Trump and they sure as hell are not going to let their pet dandruff snorting gerry answer the summons either. This is pathetic. Barfingcat will 'reveal' Russian fingerprints in the email hypercode or whatever excuse seems vaguely sellable.

The interesting thing is that USAi has arrived at this wretched state of affairs and that the USAi toy boy of the moment is NOT PERMITTED to meet with Russia or China leaders. This game is truly peculiar and self demeaning, self hating. I am reminded of Portnoy's Complaint.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 29 2021 22:29 utc | 40

I've no idea why people claim that the Crypto AG stuff was at long last disclosed "last year". Sure, people talked about it once again and a bigger fuss was made internationally. But Crypto AG dirty shenanigans, luring 3rd world countries to use its compromised encryption machines under promise of "neutrality and secrecy" while giving up the key to the CIA has been known and exposed 2 decades ago, as far as I remember the first report I read about it, if not in the late 1990s.
Switzerland is theoretically neutral, but has been on the West's side since the end of WW1, basically (since the German Empire was beaten and Bolsheviks scared European capitalists). In case of a WW3 back when USSR was still a thing, I'm quite convinced that it would've eventually joined the Western powers; hopefully, it won't be as stupid if things go real bad between NATO/EU and Russia/China, but with the idiots in charge across the West, you never know.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 29 2021 22:44 utc | 41

Thanks b for this great article. I've been using Proton (both freeMail&paidVPN servings) for quite a few years now from near their beginning, the email essentially is a non-US alternate to goog/yah. I'm gradually moving to Yandex now, although I find some organisations won't accept it as valid (esp some in SKorea).

Your journalism here has cemented my suspicions that were initially grounded in the understandable concept of "nothing is for free", but hardened initially with (Swiss Crypto AG) getting busted collaborating with evil, then more recently seeing Proton raising money for the HK rioters/murderers that completely pissed me off. They even quote Thailand in their marketing of "bad guys" now, a proud and friendly independent country that has great relations with everyone.Proton’s Taiwan office → Essentially Proton seem to blacklist/smear any country that only a complete and utter dickhead couldn't get a "visa" for. Perhaps I'll get a "freedom" email from them about MoA soon.

Posted by: Dim sim | May 29 2021 23:27 utc | 42

What bothers me about the current state of affairs, is that everyone talks about it, but in the end, they put up with the government collecting information (at taxpayer expense) and handing the personal information down to personal medical records, tagged with date of birth, social security number, drivers license numbers, military service record, education, age, sex, and list of past and current lovers to the private monopoly powered oligarchs in the form of hiring private contractors to do governments' work as well as a myriad of other identifiers..

How long will 8 billion slaves endure the privacy corruption conducted by the one million slave drivers (politicians) in service to the Oligarch?

Posted by: snake | May 30 2021 0:22 utc | 43

@ uncle tungsten | May 29 2021 22:29 utc | 40... i suspect the meeting with putin the killer and benefic biden the innocent will happen, lol... it is too much of an opportunity to spin some stupid shit which the western msm excels at... the irony is not lost on everyone..

Posted by: james | May 30 2021 0:32 utc | 44

impressive.
great reporting and in-depth analysis on this issue, Bernhard.....

the great wurlitzer of western dis-information and lies has been hard at work.

many thanks for your time and effort.

Posted by: michaelj72 | May 30 2021 0:39 utc | 45

@ Hoarsewhisperer #25

I used to listen to the ABC's 'PM' news round-up on ABC Radio for years, but the ABC has consistently become just a vector for State-sanctioned talking points, mostly favouring the incumbent Coalition. It's unwatchable now. For good critical assessment locally Independent Australia and Friendly Jordies are worth more than the rest put together. The SMH was a solid paper in the 80s, utter drivel and real estate cheer-leading now. Murdoch controls everything else.

This is why I've been coming here for the last few years (and why I'll never use my ProtonMail account again!). Any thoughts here about CTemplar?

Posted by: Patroklos | May 30 2021 0:59 utc | 46

Does one have to 'create an account' and/or 'sign in' to use this protonmail?
Does one have to use a physically existant electronic communications device (computer, laptop, smart phone, tablet...), to use this protonmail?
Whether such device is 'registered' or not (which, by the way, it almost certainly is), does one have to be physically present with said device (in some actual 'findable' location) to use it to use this protonmail?
Aren't all of these electronic communications timestamped and registered on both device and network server, like every single time they happen, anywhere at all, pretty much all the time?
Probably just about as anonymous as an atm withdrawal (which much like most of these devices have timestamp, physical location, and optical image recording available for every single click and beep that they process).

Posted by: Josh | May 30 2021 1:44 utc | 47

And, as far as the super cool secret gadgets that they don't sell to the public are concerned,
Do those nifty little gadgets have identification numbers on them?
Because they keep track of those sorts of things too.

Posted by: Josh | May 30 2021 1:53 utc | 48

Still leaning more towards the 'begging to get busted' theory, than towards the 'jedi mind trick' theory.

Posted by: Josh | May 30 2021 1:59 utc | 49

Here, try this:
Annnd -- It's Gone! -- AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS

No, this:

Still Here -- AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS

What you are not supposed to see.

Posted by: blues | May 30 2021 2:34 utc | 50

Another Skrippal manipulation....

Posted by: Virgile | May 30 2021 3:56 utc | 51

@ 50 blues - thanks.. i enjoyed that quite a bit.. since you were talking earlier on the terminology @ 35, i thought i would share a video my friend shared from luke smith on telegram platform.. my friend says basically that protonmail is the same as telegram... don't use it.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBTsUVrCDAQ

Posted by: james | May 30 2021 4:27 utc | 52

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 29 2021 18:13 utc | 25

Further to your comment about 'Your ABC' and its propensity for telling lies and spreading propaganda.It gets worse, the ABC is totally and shamelessly politicised. Many years ago there was a confected international outrage about the documentary 'The Accused' about the war criminal Ariel Sharon. I wondered when it would be screened in Australia, so I called them. They deliberately gave me 'the bums rush' and as it turned out, for good reason.

I then called SBS and luckily found a programmer, later fired, who told me that, documentaries are secured by bidding between networks. ABC bid for the documentary simply to keep it away from SBS and had no intention of broadcasting it.

Another call to ABC 'Media Watch' did the trick. It was confirmed that ABC did have the Doco and would now broadcast it after 'quiet behind the scenes pressure' from 'Media Watch.' It was truncated, provided commentary was added after the screening.

Posted by: Paul | May 30 2021 5:08 utc | 53

Dear Mr Lukashenko. Thank you for the lovely entertainment that you're providing! I could do with a lot more like this! Keep up the good work. Best wishes and lots of love from Auntie Milly, Shepherds Bush, London.

Posted by: Michael Athendriou | May 30 2021 5:40 utc | 54

re: Michael Athendriou | May 30 2021 5:40 utc | 54

Given the proven competence of the Belarusian security, maybe President Lukashenko's retort to the German diplomat was based on accurate information. "Better a dictactor than a faggot!"

Posted by: tucenz | May 30 2021 6:12 utc | 55

re: Michael Athendriou | May 30 2021 5:40 utc | 54

Given the proven competence of the Belarusian security, maybe President Lukashenko's retort to the German diplomat was based on accurate information. "Better a dictactor than a faggot!"

Posted by: tucenz | May 30 2021 6:12 utc | 56

@55 tucenz- you are certainly correct there! And that's the profound change that's occured lately. Push-back from every direction to all the sh*t from the west.

Posted by: Michael Athendriou | May 30 2021 6:46 utc | 57

Of course it has a side. Do you really believe Switzerland is neutral?
Why the surprise?
Don't you remember the Swiss company that used to provide encryption services to governments and companies (to both sides) during the cold war?
After the fall of the URSS we knew that the company passed information to the west non stop since the beginning of the service despite sell neutrality.

So....this is not the first time.

Do someone remember the name of this company? I think it was used mainly by embassies.

Posted by: Zico the Musketeer | May 30 2021 7:30 utc | 58

@vk,
Swiss franc was un-pegged long time ago. When it was pegged (for a couple of years), it wasn't for integrating with the EU, but to keep the franc from rising into the stratosphere during a crisis.

Generally speaking, Switzerland is fine, good country, imo. Perusing its own interests, while certainly maintaining a higher degree of independence and neutrality than the rest, at least in that area. Beautiful too.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | May 30 2021 8:22 utc | 59

Email can be traced back to its' source and some of the information is in the email header. There are methods of spoofing emails and the sender can use the BIOS to alter the date/time prior to sending. Would be interesting to know the computer system hosting the email server and the data server where it is stored. ProtonMail is mostly likely operated by the US/UK intelligence and if the data is stored in either of those countries you can be assured that Belarus was set up in a classical sting operation.

Posted by: john mason | May 30 2021 8:44 utc | 60

Zico the Musketeer # 58
"Do someone remember the name of this company? I think it was used mainly by embassies."

There are links in the article above to reports on Crypto AG. It's also mentioned in some comments.

Posted by: Brendan | May 30 2021 9:16 utc | 61

b, I've just read about about what you posted a comment on - how Signal delayed publishing their server source code for more than a year. And apparently they published it eventually only because a German website publicised the fact that the code had been modified without notice. That's not what the software community thinks of as "open source", which is supposed to mean completely open.

I assume that Signal is secure at the moment but the lack of transparency doesn't look good. The fact that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey endorses it makes it only look more suspicious, not less.

Snowden has indeed made some pro-American and anti-Russian comments, despite his own experiences. I don't know much about Schneier, but both he and Snowden have exposed some things that "patriotic" Americans usually want to keep hidden.

Posted by: Brendan | May 30 2021 9:18 utc | 62

The USA, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Austria combined to force down President Evo Morales’ jet in Vienna in 2013 after the CIA falsely reported whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board. The monumental cynicism of these nations in sanctioning Belarus for a directly comparable action is sickening, even by the standards of western hypocrisy. Indeed, to force down a Presidential jet covered by diplomatic immunity is a greater offence to international law than Belarus forcing down the Ryanair flight. the above from https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2021/05/eu-states-combined-to-force-down-snowden-flight/

reminder Craig Murray is on his way to jail to join his friend Julian Assange because of things Craig put in his blog..he is asking for financial support.. to defend himself from the crime of honest Journalism.

Opposition Journalism is dangerous

Supporters of Roman Protasevick cofounder NEXTA (IMO, a progaganda oriented, mind control, social media news channel seeking regime change in Belarus)<- use the nation state system; <- apply full-blocking sanctions <- against 9 state owned businesses <- in Lukashenka led Belarus.

Without the nation state system private party Oligarchs and their knee breaker corporations would be handicapped. The private party Oligarch often use nation state system to invade [normally off limit intrusion into] nation state sovereignty.

Posted by: snake | May 30 2021 9:58 utc | 63

I've just seen on Bruce Schneier's blog that he also patriotically accepts anti-Russian accusations as fact, such as interference in American elections and the Solarwinds hack.

Posted by: Brendan | May 30 2021 9:59 utc | 64

Posted by: vk | May 29 2021 20:24 utc | 33

Thanks vk, you make a good point. Incidentally, I notice Switzerland has not joined the EU no fly policy over Belarus.

Posted by: Paul | May 30 2021 9:59 utc | 65

Alexander Mercouris of The Duran reports that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) held an emergency council meeting the result of which was that it will perform a fact finding investigation.

https://www.icao.int/Newsroom/Pages/ICAO-Council-agrees-to-pursue-fact-finding-investigation-into-Belarus-incident.aspx

Belarussia has not only agreed to cooperate, but had actually called for this. Now we'll get to see if this investigation turns into another "Douma Incident" type event. As b noted, the cockpit flight recorders should be hard to suppress, but the timing of that first email is absolutely critical. I expect ProtonMail will get a court order to provide it. If not, that would be rather worrying.

Posted by: Phyllis | May 30 2021 10:02 utc | 66

CC or other recipients of the email that would presumably show up in the 'To:' field of the message header, are not present in the image from dossier centre. The ATCs said the email was shared with other airports. As well as already noted mix of Russian 'BK' in date line and english 'To'. The 'To:' field also seems aligned oddly. The image looks to be a separate thing from any email actually received in Minsk and Vilnius at the time. Are Protonmail confirming they have looked at the image and matched it with metadata? It's not clear. They say they are not verifying the contents. Why are there no other recipients in the image?

Posted by: diagonal | May 30 2021 10:20 utc | 67

ProNatoMail.

Posted by: bjd | May 30 2021 10:43 utc | 68

Posted by: diagonal | May 30 2021 10:20 utc | 66

CC or other recipients of the email that would presumably show up in the 'To:' field of the message header, are not present in the image from dossier centre.

I too believe the screenshot is a forgery. I have been trying to figure out what email program was used to display the email. To me it looks most like Gmail for some mobile device. But most of the screen is photoshop. The bomb threat text itself looks like copy-paste from some newspaper.

Another sign is the up-down arrow at the end of the To: line. In the default position it is down. Clicking it expands the header fields with the arrow left in the up position. In the screenshot the text is placed where the email headers should be.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 30 2021 10:48 utc | 69

Considering the fact that the fall of Russia is a life-saving event for the US, a conditio sine qua non, I would put Russian intel and armed forces on extra hightened alert especially during the coming weeks (summit in Switzerland of all places).

Obviously, the West seems to think Belarus is 'the way in' to Moscow. As far as the coup, Russia must assume "one down -- how many to go".

Posted by: bjd | May 30 2021 10:51 utc | 70

In hindsight, the Snowden 'revelations' look more like a psy-op than a patriotic service for revealing misdemeanor of governmental agencies. It straightly led to the founding of The Intercept as a semi-rebellish, leftist whistle-blowing-website, funded by an foreign-meddling CIA-adjunct oligarch that ever so suspiciously burned some of its informants.
Regarding Snowden: absolute weirdo. (Ex)CIA, NSA-contractor quasi-libertarian(LOL) who lately has been virtually touring through U.S. MSM to promote his worldview. Meh, I don't buy it.

Posted by: vato | May 30 2021 11:01 utc | 71

...wondering if the CIA still runs fake defector (or fake exile) programs à la Oswald...

Posted by: vato | May 30 2021 11:07 utc | 72

Interesting post B has put up ... didn't Mikhail Khodorkovsky live in Switzerland for a while after he was released from jail back in 2014? The following year he went to live in London. Wonder what he might have done in Switzerland while he was living there. I'm sure he wasn't just spending time enjoying the ski slopes, the ice rinks or the mountain hikes.

BTW the Open Russia foundation or whatever organisation that Khodorkovsky relaunched in 2014 has had to close down its operations ahead of a draft law currently under consideration in the Duma that increases the criminal liability of those members of organisations deemed hostile to Russia.

Posted by: Jen | May 30 2021 11:10 utc | 73

@ Posted by: vk | May 29 2021 21:40 utc | 37

"This is important to have in mind.

Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald etc. etc. etc. are not revolutionaries. They're reformists. They believe the status quo needs tweaking, but they don't contest it in general terms. They don't seek - and don't want - to undermine the supremacy of Western Civilization and its corresponding capitalist system. In fact, it's not even that they don't seek it: they can't even envision another possibility (that differs them from the neocons/reactionaries, who can clearly see, and fear, a possible socialist world order). A canary in the coal mine is all they want to be.

If you have this in mind - that those liberal and leftist journalists and activists are mere reformists, not revolutionaries - then everything you read from them will immediately start to make sense."

This ideology is true of most of the political "dissent" in America, the West or the self-styled Free World.

They are all desperately trying to reform the American Evil Empire in particular and the capitalist system in general--in order to save and perpetuate these malignant entities.

They want a Kinder, Gentler American Evil Empire, which will be more effective in terms of spreading capitalist misery and horror (aka "Freedom and Democracy") around the planet--while they themselves, the Middle and Upper-Middle Classes in the empire continue to live their comfortable and coddled lives compared to the billions of people in the Global South.

Glenn Greenwald in particular is likely a Controlled Opposition media mouthpiece, given his role as Pierre Omiydar's personal media asset during Greenwald's tenure as the editorial boss of The Intercept and his self-serving privatization of the Snowden leaks in exchange for a quarter of a billion(!) dollar investment from Omidyar and other financial goodies.

Keeping Secrets: Pierre Omidyar, Glenn Greenwald and the privatization of Snowden's leaks
https://pando.com/2013/11/27/keeping-secrets/

Why Did Omidyar Shut Down The Intercept’s Snowden Archive?
https://washingtonbabylon.com/why-did-omidyar-shut-down-the-intercepts-snowden-archive/

Meet the billionaire Glenn Greenwald has been protecting all these years
https://yasha.substack.com/p/meet-the-billionaire-glenn-greenwald

Posted by: ak74 | May 31 2021 6:36 utc | 74

I actually use my protonmail account only for scambaiting.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | May 31 2021 11:45 utc | 75

if protonmail is 'swiss based' CIA and German Inelligence project
so we should address properly.. Republic of China aka Taiwan
but not People Republic of China aka 'commies'.
and if taking about 'swiss based' entities>>
1. WHO 'aka' The World Health Organisation >UN agency headquarted in Geneva
2. WEF 'aka'The World Economic Forum aka Davos Crowd org>based in Cologny, Geneva Canton and led by Klaus Schwab aka capo di tutti capi >'patron' of The Great Reset
3. The Bank of International Settlement aka BIS based in Basel>since 1930.
and if protonmail is 'CIA and German Intelligence project' my conclusion is that 'Ryanair Bomb Threat In Belarus' is CIA project.
.
To MoA>>Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd>>. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye5BuYf8q4o
HUGS!!!

Posted by: lizard | May 31 2021 22:13 utc | 76

The bare fact that the air control in Minsk referred to a second email in its transcript and that subsequently there in fact turned out to be two emails sent, already strongly indicates that b has got it right once again. Further, I cannot see any point in the Belarussian secret service (if they were the sender as implied by most Western reporting on the issue) using the construction of two emails with the first only going to Lituania. So a setup by some NATO-linked spook types seems the most likely option. Great work b!

Posted by: PaulJ | May 31 2021 22:16 utc | 77

@ Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | May 30 2021 8:22 utc | 59

It is still "pegged". It happens extraofficially, but the Swiss Franc is still managed as if it was pegged to the Euro (same for the Danish Crown).

Posted by: vk | May 31 2021 23:26 utc | 78

@ Posted by: ak74 | May 31 2021 6:36 utc | 74

Maybe.

I don't think all the American left is directly controlled by the CIA. I think they sincerely believe the American Empire is the best option available and that they can fix it. I don't think this is cynicism. They really believe liberalism is the definitive ideology, that the American Empire really is an idea and not a nation. I think Glenn Greenwald (et al) believes deep in his heart America is the best thing to have ever existed in human history (with all its defects).

Every empire has its clerical class of naive, genuine believers. The American Left (Liberals, Democratic Socialists, MMTers) is just the American version.

Posted by: vk | May 31 2021 23:32 utc | 79

There is no email security if one crosses domains. Email from Protonmail to any other domain has to be decrypted because gmail, for example, has no knowledge of Protonmail’s encryption / decryption scheme. Email from Protonmail to Protonmail is secure. If the airport used Protonmail it would be secure, but I doubt it did. I never worked on email software, but have listened to those that have.

Posted by: realtime | Jun 1 2021 19:12 utc | 80

One way to check a service is to check out lawsuits against the service brought by governments to verify their compliance and willingness to cooperate with the governments. I have not done this for email, but I have for virtual private networks and some resisted complying with government requests and one company, not a VPN, went out of business. I saved my search results, but finding them is time consuming.

Posted by: realtime | Jun 1 2021 19:31 utc | 81

@realtime | Jun 1 2021 19:12 utc | 80

There is no email security if one crosses domains. Email from Protonmail to any other domain has to be decrypted because gmail, for example, has no knowledge of Protonmail’s encryption / decryption scheme. Email from Protonmail to Protonmail is secure.

What does it mean that email from Protonmail to Protonmail is "secure"? If userA@protonmail.com emails userB@protonmail.com, who can read the message? Obviously userA and userB can, but clearly people at protonmail must be able to decrypt every message also, because if userA@protonmail.com CC's userC@gmail.com, the message to userC must be decrypted. The ability to decrypt doesn't magically appear because of the CC, it is there always.

So using Protonmail seems even less secure than anything else because of the illusion of security. Protonmail can decrypt every message on its server and for all we know might send plaintext copies to the highest bidder and/or CIA. It is a question of whether to trust Protonmail, and the Ryanair/Belarus story indicates they are not trustworthy.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 1 2021 20:14 utc | 82

@realtime 80 "There is no email security if one crosses domains. "

I believe they (kinda) solve it by sending a link instead of email itself. So, you get a url form gmail (or whatever) and that url will read email from proton and open it in a browser. Or something like that. You'll probably need to install your key in the browser.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Jun 1 2021 20:28 utc | 83

@vk 78,
where did you get that?

Look here:
https://www.investing.com/currencies/eur-chf-chart

Click on "10y" under the chart, and see the period 2011-2015, when it was pegged at 1.20 chf to 1 eur. See how the franc jumped in 2015 when it was un-pegged. See how it goes up and down after 2015.

They may peg it again if chf goes too high, hurting their exports, but now it's floating.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Jun 1 2021 20:43 utc | 84

@ Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Jun 1 2021 20:43 utc | 84

Switzerland does its monetary policy as if it was in the EZ. Evidently, it has more freedom than a true EZ member, but its policy is to manage money in the same general direction pointed by the EZ. Denmark does the same.

No sovereign country truly pegs its currency to another country's currency. When we casually talk about "pegging", we're talking about monetary policy/philosophy of the central bank.

Posted by: vk | Jun 2 2021 12:13 utc | 85

"No sovereign country truly pegs its currency to another country's currency. "

You can dislike Switzerland all you want, it's fine with me. But a sovereign country can do whatever it wants, including pegging its currency to another country's currency.

China pegs it's currently to usd. They do it because they feel it helps China, keeps cny low, helps exports. It's exactly the same with Switzerland, the same motivation and the same M.O.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Jun 2 2021 14:06 utc | 86

@ Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Jun 2 2021 14:06 utc | 86

I think there's a misunderstanding of concepts here. Pegging is an objective, absolute tying, e.g. the Swiss Franc will always be pegged to the Euro at a 1.20 rate. It's determining the value of a fiat currency by decree using as parameter another country's fiat currency.

Switzerland doesn't peg the Swiss Franc to the Euro. Its central bankers have decided to adopt a philosophy to manage the Swiss Franc as if it was spiritually pegged to the Euro, i.e. as if Switzerland was an EU member. The goal here is to synchronize/coordinate the Swiss economy with the EU's. My goal here isn't to say there's some sinister plan of the Swiss elites, but to state that Switzerland is simply not a neutral nation: wanting it or not, it will have a pro-EU bias.

What you're talking about China is another of those financial world debates that a more academic than substantial: fixed vs freely floating fiat currency. Nowadays, China is the only country that uses the so-called "fixed currency", i.e. the State openly determines the band in which its fiat currency will float. This band was, last time I checked, between 4.00-7,00 Renminbi per USD, but, at RMB 6.38 China has already stated it is too strong.

China's quick action against a RMB 6.38 per USD reveals the fallacy of the debate: there's no difference between fixed and freely floating fiat currency in purely financial terms. The State always enter the game as a "player" - it's just that it is a big player, one that everybody notices.

Posted by: vk | Jun 2 2021 15:22 utc | 87

Obviously Switzerland is tightly linked to EU, by many treaties (Schengen, and many, many others), and of course economically. That's trivially obvious. There was an issue, as I remember, when they entered into the free labor movement agreement, but then a referendum decided against allowing EU people to freely take jobs in Switzerland. I don't know how that was settled (if it was).

Neutrality is something else, though. It's a matter of foreign policy. Not being part of any geopolitical blocs (like NATO), not following anyone's lead when making decisions on foreign policy.

Hell, I believe they joined the UN not too long ago, on my memory. They don't want any outside pressure.

Now, of course there's always outside pressure. Of course it affects their behavior. But at least they try.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Jun 2 2021 16:28 utc | 88

From today's news:

FBI paid renegade developer $180k for backdoored AN0M chat app that brought down drug underworld – The Register, June 8, 2021

The FBI has revealed how it managed to hoodwink the criminal underworld with its secretly backdoored AN0M encrypted chat app, leading to hundreds of arrests, the seizure of 32 tons of drugs, 250 firearms, 55 luxury cars, more than $148M, and even cocaine-filled pineapples.

About 12,000 smartphones with AN0M installed were sold into organized crime rings: the devices were touted as pure encrypted messaging tools — no GPS, email or web browsing, and certainly no voice calls, cameras, and microphones. They were "designed by criminals, for criminals exclusively," one defendant told investigators, Randy Grossman, Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of California, told a press conference on Tuesday.

However, AN0M was forged in a joint operation by Australian and US federal law enforcement, and was deliberately and surreptitiously engineered so that agents could peer into the encrypted conversations and read crooks' messages. After Australia's police broke the news that the messaging app had recorded everything from drug deals to murder plots — leading to hundreds of arrests — now the FBI has spilled its side of the story, revealing a complex sting dubbed Operation Trojan Shield.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 9 2021 1:42 utc | 89

thanks petri.. it looks like i am following you around, lol..

Posted by: james | Jun 9 2021 2:52 utc | 90

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