Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 30, 2021

'Like An Amoral Infant' - How ProtonMail Contributes To False Media Claims About Belarus

ProtonMail, an encrypted end-to-end email provider in Switzerland which promises 'Swiss Privacy Data Security and Neutrality', has been busted for making false claims about bomb threat emails which were sent through its service to Minsk airport in Belarus as well as to airport authorities in other countries.

The despicable behavior of ProtonMail has led to false headlines like the one by UPI depicted below.


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ProtonMail may or may not have made that quite explicit headline claim. It is however 100% false. Belarus received a legit bomb threat against a Ryanair flight via an email sent through the ProtonMail mail servers. After receiving the email it contacted the plane in question and recommended to the pilot to divert the plane to Minsk. The pilot voluntarily followed that advice.

ProtonMail has made no effort to correct the false impression and false headlines its statement has caused. It has instead obfuscated the issue as much as it could. That is neither neutral nor fair behavior but partisan lying in an information war waged by 'western' regime changers against the people of Belarus.

Due to the malign behavior of ProtonMail new sanctions against Belarus, which will directly or indirectly hurt every Belorussian citizen, were introduced by the United States, the EU and other countries.

Moon of Alabama has detailed the publicly available evidence of the case and has called on ProtonMail to correct the record. ProtonMail responded and communicated with me via Twitter. In its communication with me ProtonMail indirectly admitted that the above headline is wrong. The complete exchange is of public interest and therefore copied below.

How did this happen?

On May 23 at 9:25 utc some yet unknown person used a ProtonMail email account to send a bomb threat against Ryanair flight 4978 witch at that time was in the air flying from Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania.

The email was directly addressed in the "Send to:" field to the Lithuanian administration responsible for Lithuanian airports. The airport of Minsk, Belarus, with the email address info@airport.by, was copied in the "CC to:" 'Carbon copy' field of the very same email.

In communication with me ProtonMail tried to claim that this meant that Minsk was not directly addressed in that email. That is nonsense. Any email server will handled email addresses in the "Send To:", "Carbon Copy (CC) to:" and "Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) to:" fields equally in that it will resolve the IP-address of the appropriate server responsible for receiving emails to that email-address. It will then open a session with it that server and deliver the mail. It makes no difference for the receiving side in which "To:" field of the sent email it was mentioned. It will get a full copy of the email.

Minsk received the first email at 9:25 utc. At 9:30 utc Ryanair flight 4978 entered Belorussian airspace. It was immediately contacted by the Belorussian Air Traffic Control (ATC) and made aware of the bomb threat against the plane. The complete English language radio exchange between the Ryanair pilot, call sign RYR 1TZ, and the ATC as well as a narrative of what had happened was published by the Belorussian air traffic authorities (scroll down for the English version and the radio transcript).

The pilot then asked where the bomb threat had been coming from (emph. added):

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 (12:33 local time) the air traffic controller communicated that Minsk received the warning in an email that had been addressed to multiple entities.

This directly contradicts the above UPI headline which was based on a misleading statement ProtonMail had made towards news agencies.

The Ryanair pilot was warned of the bomb threat at 9:30 utc. He/she took until 9:47 utc to decide on the issue to then declare MAYDAY. Only several minutes later did the pilot changed the plane's course towards Minsk.

A second ProtonMail email with the bomb threat was received at Minsk airport at 9:56 utc (12:56 local time). The sender of the second email, which was addressed to info@airport.by in the "To:" field, might have watched the plane's course live on Flight Aware and likely prepared and sent the second email when the plane, as visible in the flightpath, seemed to not react to the first threat.


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The pilots decided to go to Minsk because the risk of a potential bomb going off over Vilnius, as announced in the email, was high. The Belorussian authorities have handled the case by the book. They scrambled a fighter jet to watch over the plane as is usual with any plane that gets threatened or hijacked. The Ryanair pilot was left unaware of this.

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.

On May 26 the Dossier Center, a rather shady anti-Russian outfit in London financed by the exiled billionaire and company raider Mikhail Khodorkovsky, published a misleading narrative about the Ryanair incident. It produced a screenshot of the second email that had arrived at Minsk airport and falsely claimed that Belarus receive a bomb threat email only at 9:56 utc. The Daily Beast, which collaborated with the Dossier Center, headlined:

‘Bomb Threat' That Justified Belarus Hijacking Came 24 Minutes After
An exclusively obtained record shows that the Ryanair ‘Hamas bomb' email—which the Belarus president said prompted the jet landing—was sent after the crew was told of a ‘threat.'

The claim was false. Minsk airport, with the email address info@airport.by, had been CCed, 'Carbon Copied', in the 9:25 utc email sent "To:" Lithuanian authorities. Minsk airport was directly addressed in the second email of which the Dossier Center and the Daily Beast, by unknown means, acquired the screenshot they published.

News agencies then contacted ProtonMail and asked about the validity of the 9:56 utc email the Dossier Center had published. ProtonMail stated that the 9:56 utc email had been sent to Minsk airport. It did not mention that the 9:25 utc bomb threat email was also sent to Minsk airport. This obfuscation of the issue, and ProtonMail's unwillingness to correct the record, directly led to the false headlines and to sanctions against Belarus.

You can check the validity of the above narrative from my recent communication with ProtonMail, published for your amusement below. Earlier communication with ProtonMail was published in my previous post on the issue.

At some point the @ProtonMail account on Twitter requested to move the communication from the public realm to Direct Messaging (DM) mode. I followed up on that request. I was never asked to nor did I promise to keep the direct messaging exchange with @ProtonMail private. I believe that publishing its content is of public interest.

Here is a screenshot of the most relevant part.


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And here is the whole rest of it, typos included:

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 14:51 utc · May 29, 2021
New on MoA:
How @ProtonMail Lost The Public Trust It Needs To Do Business
moonofalabama.org/2021/05/how-pr...
#Belarus
ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 15:07 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @MoonofA
Just to reiterate, it is not that we don't want to comment on the first email. Rather, our current privacy policy does not let us comment as the first email is not yet in the public domain. We do expect government authorities to disclose it eventually however.
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 15:12 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail
Knowledge of the first email is in the public domain - see my blogpost.
You can comment on the metadata of that first email just as you did comment on the metadata of the second email.
Media attribute a false claim to your company. It should by your interest to clean that up.
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 15:16 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @MoonofA and @ProtonMail
Any delay in clearing up this issue will create more damage and hurt people.
That on your conscience. But then don't claim to be neutral and secure.
ProtonMail @ProtonMail- 15:16 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @MoonofA
Then you would also be aware that the Lithuanian government did not contact Belarus, which raises the question of how did Belarus know about the first email.
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 15:17 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail
Because Belarus also received the first email. It states so in several documents.
It is on you to confirm that.
ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 15:21 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @MoonofA
Actually, if you double check the public reporting on the issue, sources are clear in stating that "only Lithuanian Airports received a letter".
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 15:24 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail
Dossier Center makes that claim but provides zero evidence for it. How would it know unless you checked your systems and told them?
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 15:26 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @MoonofA and @ProtonMail
BTW - I just wrote a 2600 word blogpost on the issue.
You may want to read that.
Some 50,000 other people will do so.
ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 15:27 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @MoonofA
We have never had contact with Dossier Center. Any information, would have been obtained from Lithuanian authorities with access to the email.
ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 15:30 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail and @MoonofA
As we have already reiterated, none of the emails which have been cited in any of the reporting, are sourced from us, because we cannot read/access emails due to our encryption, which can be verified in our publicly audited source code.
ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 15:44 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail and @MoonofA
Lastly, we can't comment on non-public information found in external reporting. Your question should be directed to the source of this information, the dossier center, and not to Proton.
Keith Granger @regnarGhtieK - 18:11 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @ProtonMail and @MoonofA
Wow, Proton, there is no good reason for you to not tell the world the timing of the first email & whether it went to Belarus or not
You've already said enough to cause harm & made yourselves look partisan
Do you have no shame - as of right now you look like an amoral infant.
ProtonMail @ProtonMail - 18:16 utc · May 29, 2021
Replying to @regnarGhtieK and @MoonofA
Commenting on non-public information related to an on-going Swiss govt investigation is generally not permissible. @MoonofA can DM us for clarification.

At 18:18 utc yesterday I followed up on @ProtonMail's suggestion to move into Direct Messaging (DM) mode. Tweets exchanged in that mode are not directly linkable. I copy/pasted the exchange below. For clarity I have marked tweets from my @MoonofA account with a preceding "M:". Tweets by the @ProtonMail account are preceded by "P:".  I also provide screenshots of the complete communication (1, 2, 3, 4). The screenshots were made today, May 30. The time marks displayed in the exchange are UTC+2.

ProtonMail @ProtonMail
Incoming envelope Secure email that respects your privacy, brought to you by CERN and MIT scientists. Creators of @ProtonVPN & @ProtonCalendar | Maintainers of @openpgpjs
321 Following 218.6K Followers
Joined October 2013

M:
So now you claim that there is a Swiss government investigation.
Wondering why there would by one?
Yesterday, 8:18 PM

P:
There is an investigation ongoing, and as disclosed in our statement yesterday we have received legally binding requests from the swiss government. It seems you are determined to push the belarusian narrative. if you were to receive confirmation that there was no first email sent to minsk, would you actually change your story?
ProtonMail
Yesterday, 8:22 PM

M:
I do not push anyone's narrative but analyze facts and point out were I see mismatches in the various claims.
If you would publicly(!) state that there was no email sent from any ProtonMail account to info@airport.by on May 23 at or about 9:25 utc I would publicly accuse the government of Belarus of publishing misleading information. I would also publicly demand an explanation from it.
Yesterday, 8:33 PM

P:
we are not permitted to comment on specifics, but we can say that the reporting by dossier.center is more correct than the belarussian version, which by the way, does not explicitly say that the first email was sent to minsk. all they did was repeat the claim that there was a first email, without clarifying where it was sent.
in other words, the conclusion you have drawn in your blog post is incorrect and we hope you will correct it.
ProtonMail
Yesterday, 8:41 PM

M:
That is, again, a very mealymouthed ("more correct") and unproven claim by you.
You are insinuating that Minsk got the email from elsewhere, not from ProtonMail.
Maybe by snooping on Lithuanian accounts or by being copied on emails sent from a Lithuania administrative account to its airports.
Knowing the current hostile relations between Lithuania and Belarus and the Belarus statement on the issue we can exlude the second alternative.
We are told by Dossier Center that the 9:25 utc email was sent to one Lithuanian administrative account, not directly to its airports. The ATC in Belarus tells the pilot at 9:33 utc that the email "was shared to several airports".
Belarus prosecutor also claims that the email arrived in Minsk from ProtonMail at the very same minute that Dossier Center says it arrived in Lithuania.
The facts and timeline I know of are inconsistent with a snooping operation and with a sharing of the email by Lithuania.
My conclusion are unchanged.
Yesterday, 9:10 PM

P:
Only one email went to belarus, and it was the one that dossier center published, which is in public domain.
ProtonMail
Yesterday, 9:12 PM

M:
Interesting claim, made privately in a DM, but I fail to accept that as it is not a 'public domain' fact.
As I said: "If you would publicly(!) state that there was no email sent from any ProtonMail account to info@airport.by on May 23 at or about 9:25 utc ..." I will change my conclusions (and blog post).
(PS: It is nearing bedtime here and social responsibilities demand me to sign off for today.)
Yesterday, 9:21 PM

P:
ask dossier center if the email to lithuania had belarus in cc. they should be able to give you a confirmation.
ProtonMail
Yesterday, 9:25 PM

M:
Anyone who is in CC of an email is a direct recipient of that email. That is independent of who is named as the first recipient in the "To" field.
It is your email server that will have directly sent a copy of an email to everyone in the "To" recipient, CC or BCC field of that email.
If Minsk airport was CCed in an email to Lithuania it was your email server that contacted and transmitted that email to the server that accepts email for info@airport.by .
To then claim that ProtonMail did not sent the email to Minsk airport when Minsk airport was CCed in that email is a lie.
(I have set up and configured my first sendmail daemon at or about 1987. Please don't try to bullshit me with such nonsense.)
Yesterday, 9:40 PM

P:
we are checking with legal right now, and will update in an hour
ProtonMail
Yesterday, 9:45 PM

P:
but as we mentioned already, Only one email went to belarus, and it was the one that dossier center published, which is in public domain.
ProtonMail
Yesterday, 9:46 PM

P:
Clarification regarding ProtonMail, Belarus, and Ryanair flight 4978
protonmail.com
we are going to update our statement here (http://protonmail.com/blog/belarus-ryanair) later tonight. will you be updating your blog to report the truth?
ProtonMail
Yesterday, 10:12 PM

The 'updated' statement that ProtonMail published is again a mealymouthed obfuscation which in no way clarifies the issue. It says:

The only email sent to Belarus was published by dossier.center to demonstrate that the “bomb threat” was sent after Ryanair flight 4978 was redirected.

That statement is however in contradiction to the public ProtonMail tweet at 15:07 utc · May 29, 2021:

... it is not that we don't want to comment on the first email. Rather, our current privacy policy does not let us comment as the first email is not yet in the public domain ...

It is also contradicted by the Belorussian prosecutor who clearly states:

... there were several messages [...] received through the Swiss anonymous mail service ProtonMail - at 12:25 and at 12:56 ...

It seems to be clear from the above communication and the publicly known facts that Minsk airport was CCed in the first email on May 23 9:25 utc which was primarily addressed to the Lithuanian airport authority. While Minsk was CCed in the 9:25 utc email it was primarily addressed in the second email received at 9:56 utc.

ProtonMail tries to differentiate between recipients of an email which are primarily addressed in the "To:" field and those which are copied in the "CC:" 'carbon copy' field. That is legally gibberish and technically nonsense. The sending email server, here ProtonMail's, will have handled all those addresses equally.

ProtonMail has the metadata which shows that info@airport.by in Minsk was carbon copied on the 9:25 utc email. It has stated to news agencies that (only) the second email was directly addressed to Minsk airport. This led to the false or misleading headlines and reporting as well as to sanctions against the people of Belarus. ProtonMail seems unwilling to publicly clarify the issue. It is not 'neutral' but is taking part in an information war waged by the 'west' against the people of Belarus.

Now ask yourself if you can trust ProtonMail with the handling of any of you 'encrypted' emails.

PS: We do not know who sent the bomb threat emails and to what purpose. Some will speculate that some Belorussian authority did so. Others will speculate that the 'regime change' opposition did it so to hurt Belarus. There is no public evidence to support either claim.

We do know that Belarus, after it received the 9:25 utc bomb threat email, handled the case by the book and within the realms of international law. After being informed of the threat the Ryanair pilot decided to divert the plane to Minsk where it was searched for a bomb. When none was found the crew and all passengers, except for two for whom there were outstanding arrest warrants and three who had had Minsk as their final flight destination, reentered the plane and flew to Vilnius.

I do not support the government of Belarus. But I also see no reason to criticize its behavior in this case. There is reason though to criticize the misreporting of the incident in 'western' media and to condemn ProtonMail's obfuscation which. at a minimum, contributes to that. 

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

Posted by b on May 30, 2021 at 11:09 UTC | Permalink

Comments
« previous page

Horst @98

"And to be clear, the weasel statement from sk.gov.by does NOT state THEY received an email vom Protonmail 12:25."

"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:" http://caa.gov.by/ru/news-ru/view/1-203/

While the time isn't stated that is a definitive statement.

"Belarus could simply publish the first email had they really received it. Had Protonmail communicated with their system, they could actually prove it. Protonmail would then be forced to comment.
That Belarus doesn't tells you everything you need to know."

No, you aren't entitled to conclude that. They could publish the email or they could simple defer to an investigation by ICAO, so what they don't do in the interim cannot be the basis of a sound logical inference. You can suspect all you like but at this stage an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence as Belarus may have been informed by one of the recipients about the email which was forwarded to them later. All of the recipients apart from Belarus as far as I know have been silent. Athens says they never got an email.

"sk.gov.by does NOT state THEY received an email vom Protonmail 12:25"

No, but they were "informed" according to the ATC.

You are entitled to hypothesise that Belarus used the ProtonMail account to send the 12:25 email and the email to the National Airport of Minsk (info@airport.by) at 12:57 pm but you can't reach a definitive conclusion about what transpired after 12:25 and the plane entering Belarus air space at ~12:30.

There are various permutations of possible interpretations which I have touched upon but there is no way of knowing without further evidence. It is possible BOTH ProtonMail and Belarus are telling the truth depending on what happened. Someone could have tried to frame Belarus by withholding them from the 12:25 distribution so the 12:57 LOOKED like a fabricated afterthought. Or Belarus created both emails and accidentally left themselves off the 12:25 distribution list and created the 12:57 email as some sort of post hoc justification. This latter theory means you need to accept that the Belarusian secret services are total morons. I can't accept that at face value.

Posted by: Deus Abscondis | May 31 2021 10:08 utc | 101

It serves no purpose to speculate about these mails at this point. Standard protocol in case of a bomb threat would not call for a conference call to decide whether or not to forward such information to an adjacent Air Traffic Control Center, in contact with the flight being threatened. Unless said threat is immediately dismissed as a hoax, every party would want to inform the captain and the company, immediately. To establish that a threat is a hoax for SURE, requires professional assessment and a lot of guts, because if it is a madman after all, there will be hell to pay! And you’ll never sleep again. The professional doing the assessment will not gain anything by witholding said information. If security experts are involved they will include a threat assessment, which is what the color code discussion between the pilot and ATC is all about.
From the hesitation in the communication at that point (if the transcript is correct), one would conclude that this was not a polished KGB operation, or it would have been given a 'high confidence' rating upon initial contact, and ATC would have been 'pushy' in trying to steer the decision. Immediately after informing the crew of this threat, diversion to Minsk made sense, since it was, at that point, a nearby major airport, with all the facilities required, and without the need to switch frequencies, except for the final stages of the flight, leaving the crew time to prepare the passengers and cabin staff.

Every possible scenario is still open, but this focus on Proton-mail, or accusing them of covering up, is a dead end. Numerous authorities could crack this story wide open by publishing this first email, which DOES exist, apparently, and by providing a line of custody of the information divulged in it. Either in the form of a forwarded email, an email copied to several addresses from the get go, or information shared by telephone.

A Lithuanian ATC-controler in permanent contact with his Belarusian counterpart through an open channel while on duty, learning that an incoming flight was under threat, would spill the beans to his or her counterpart without thinking twice. His or her political points of view could be lightyears apart, but this is no game! If this first email exists, I cannot think of any reason why the Lithuanian aviation authorities kept it from their Belarusian counterparts. Save for a situation where it is immediately discarded as a hoax, and not afterwards, after the flight has diverted, and no bomb was found.

No public debate will clarify what happened, only hard evidence. Any authority withholding relevant information at this stage draws attention to itself as having something to hide, and playing games with human lives.

Posted by: Jake | May 31 2021 10:30 utc | 102

Jake | May 31 2021 10:30 utc | 101
finally, a sane person.

Sadly if a real investigation should happen, the results will never be known to us in the western world. any findings would most likely be against the established narrative and therefore either dismissed as Russky propaganda or simply ignored.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 31 2021 10:58 utc | 103

"We may therefore never know the truth. That would be a serious loss for civil aviation, which relies heavily on transparency to improve safety".

@Posted by: Jake | May 30 2021 22:40 utc | 89

governments, and the narrative, through the pandemic.

Do not forget that flying is being strongly discouraged, including through the current pandemic effort by the imposition of "vaccine passports", or expensive test ( risking additional stays in case of having a positive, even when you have no symptom...), with the clear aim on prolonging such discouragement, on one alibi or the other, for the ages to come, as the WEF Great Reset and UN 2030 agendas lead to.

It is absolutely clear that the only people currently travelling by plane, as happened a century ago ( which could well be the vivid expressionv of the slogan "build back better" ) are corporations´high executives, politicians and governments´ high officials, and, as the case which occupes us, regime change operatives, and also probably trasnational terrorists....

Posted by: Asha K. | May 31 2021 11:14 utc | 104

"We may therefore never know the truth. That would be a serious loss for civil aviation, which relies heavily on transparency to improve safety".

@Posted by: Jake | May 30 2021 22:40 utc | 89

Espoiling the safety reputation of flights does not seem to be one of the worries of the current elites managing all of our governments, and the narrative, through the pandemic.

Do not forget that flying is being strongly discouraged, including through the current pandemic effort by the imposition of "vaccine passports", or expensive test ( risking additional stays in case of having a positive, even when you have no symptom...), with the clear aim on prolonging such discouragement, on one alibi or the other, for the ages to come, as the WEF Great Reset and UN 2030 agendas lead to.

It is absolutely clear that the only people currently travelling by plane, as happened a century ago ( which could well be the vivid expressionv of the slogan "build back better" ) are corporations´high executives, politicians and governments´ high officials, and, as the case which occupes us, regime change operatives.

Posted by: Asha K. | May 31 2021 11:17 utc | 105

Deus Abscondis @100

Let's presuppose that Belarus did receive the 12:25 email (sent to "Administration of Lithuanian Airports") either by BCC or CC, which is what MoA seems to allege in his article above.

In that case, it seems logical (to me, at least, and I may have it wrong of course) that Belarus could counter the allegation (that they couldn't have known of the threat before 12:57) by specifically and officially claiming that they did receive an email from Protonmail at 12:25, and publishing that email. That way, Protonmail would have no excuse to not either confirm or deny that claim (Protonmail could choose to lie of course). If Protonmail confirms, it would be a huge "win" for Belarus, because it would become immediately apparent to the public that the other parties (Lithuania, "Dossier Center") were acting maliciously by omitting the CC or BCC.

Because I see no reason why Belarus wouldn't make that move if they could, as it would so obviously help their position, I added "That Belarus doesn't tells you everything you need to know." Thats only rhetorical of course, and cannot taken as a proof against Belarus, there I agree with you.

Thoughts?

Posted by: Horst | May 31 2021 11:44 utc | 106

It seems that a consensus is developing among those whose thoughts are not remote controlled by the Mockingbird mass media that this event was a western spook community false flag. It seems assumed that the neo-Nazi kid was used as a sacrificial pawn. I would like to propose an alternate motive: The event was an effort to build the kid up to Navalny-level fame so that he could later take a more high profile role in the color revolution attempt against Belarus.

Consider: The latte-sipping wokesters at Langley almost certainly concluded that the reason their previous figurehead for the regime change operation, Tsikhanouskaya, fared so poorly in the election was because the Belorussian people are hopelessly misogynistic like they imagine Trump supporters to be (they are so supremely confident in their delusions that when those delusions come into conflict with reality then it is obviously reality that is wrong). As a consequence they feel they need to quickly elevate a male leader for the empire's color revolution. What better way than getting him arrested by the "evil Lukashenko regime"? His name will now be on the tip of the tongue of every middle class wokester in Minsk! He can be the Slavic version of Joshua Wong!

Perhaps this event was one move in an effort by the west's misnamed "intelligence community" to set up the geopolitical chessboard for a subsequent checkmate of Belarus? Obviously it cannot work, and I am not trying to argue that it will, but this is in keeping with the flawed understanding of the world that the West has displayed repeatedly over the last several years.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 31 2021 13:34 utc | 107

William Gruff @May31 13:34 #106:

... build the kid up to Navalny-level fame ...

Yeah that may be true but I think stopping NS2 also figures prominently in their thinking.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 31 2021 13:41 utc | 108

"It seems that a consensus is developing among those whose thoughts are not remote controlled by the Mockingbird mass media that this event was a western spook community false flag. It seems assumed that the neo-Nazi kid was used as a sacrificial pawn." - William Gruff
Why are so many willing to become pawns knowing that they are so easily discarded by their handlers, money, fame, wishful thinking?

international law
I'd be fine with a consistent application of international law that said, 'passengers shall be treated with the legal status of the destination country if a passenger jet is forced to land for emergency landings or maintenance', if we applied that consistently. In which case, free Alex Saab.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 31 2021 14:05 utc | 109

Nothing fancy came out at Belta today. Sounds like the issue is treated as over by the Belarusian government:

FM: Belarusians will not tolerate diktat towards their country

Belarusian analyst comments on incident with Ryanair aircraft landing in Berlin

Belarus is already preparing for the next stage of this hybrid war, i.e. to counter the economic sanctions by the EU.

--//--

@ Posted by: Horst | May 31 2021 11:44 utc | 105

Protonmail could still go all-in and state the Belarusian government outright forged this first e-mail, and that only the second e-mail exists.

The Belarusian government released the transcript of the pilots' discussion of the issue and decision to land on Minsk the next day of the incident. This is more decisive evidence, because it proves the Belarusian jets had nothing to do with the landing and, logically, that the pilots must have received the bomb threat somehow (i.e. a first e-mail must exist). The transcript can be verified by the West because it is also recorded in the plane.

Also, ultimately, the final decision lies with the pilots: no matter the political power play happening down there, it is the pilots who are piloting the plane, its their decision to land it on Minsk or not. No politician can do anything about that. That makes the transcript the primary source of what ultimately happened, not the e-mails.

The whole imbroglio about the first e-mail comes down to one issue: was it the bomb threat or the Belarusian jets that forced the plane to land on Minsk? The logic goes as follows: if the first e-mail exists, then it was the bomb threat; if it doesn't, then it was the Belarusian jets. That's a false dilemma: the transcript of the pilots' discussion and decision already prove beyond reasonable doubt it was the bomb threat. A first e-mail must exist; AND it must have be taken seriously and reached the pilots' ears before any Belarusian jet came into the picture.

So, Belarus has already presented the evidence. It doesn't need to present anything else. It would be nonsense to treat the transcript of the pilots' dialogue as less decisive evidence than a bomb threat e-mail.

P.S.: the hypothesis the pilots are Belarusian agents/communist sympathizers is already logically discarded. The Belarusian jets wouldn't be needed if that was the case, therefore completely ruling the "air piracy" hypothesis out.

Posted by: vk | May 31 2021 15:19 utc | 110

Horst@105 - "...Belarus could counter the allegation (that they couldn't have known of the threat before 12:57) by specifically and officially claiming that they did receive an email from Protonmail at 12:25, and publishing that email."

The problem with this is that the email was 1) presumably sent in English to a 2) generic airport administrative email account. Does Minsk really have someone proficient in English monitoring that account 24x7 reading all emails the second they arrive? Air traffic controllers at Minsk use English, but does the clerk in airport administration monitoring generic public airport accounts understand it?

The point I'm trying to make about communication with the various air traffic control layers and use of generic accounts as recipients is that the viewing, understanding and reaction to the email at any destination would not necessarily have been immediate, nor would the information have been relayed through the appropriate airport local channels - security, ATC, etc. - instantaneously, much less shared with every concerned party/region. Frankly, I'm surprised anybody managed to act as fast as they did. The email(s) timestamps are interesting, but shouldn't be tortured into 'this is the exact instant airport x and y knew... and/or should have reacted by doing z...' In fact, I can't think of a worse method to cause something to happen in a very narrow timeframe (minutes) than using email to several recipients.

Which makes me wonder what would have happened if the pilot hadn't known about this until he entered Lithuanian airspace, slowly descending on his way to Vilnius. Would the MSM still claim 'hijacking' if, instead, it was the Vilnius ACC that informed the pilot first and recommended the aircraft return to Belarus and divert to Minsk? It would still have been a reasonable choice.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 31 2021 15:50 utc | 111

If the plane had been informed about the threat in Lithuanian airspace. Lith ATC would most likely have advised divert to Kaunas and failing that Warsaw.

Anyone employed by Minsk airport (except cleaning staff etc.) can speak English well enough to read the email. There is likely many multiple computers that receive email to that address. But yes, an email is not a good guaranteed way to get quick attention. The email in general is quite obviously not the work of someone 'professional' who understands in detail how plane emergencies work though their English is alright. Making it unlikely that it is the work of either KGB/Luka or any high official in Belarus or some fantasmagoric CIA false flag operation.

I still lean to some angry Belarus cops acting personally (mostly against the girlfriend who is the one most involved in threatening cops family's lives)
Or some chump friend of the dynamic-regime-change-duo... heck a jealous ex-boyfriend.

I consider

Posted by: kons | May 31 2021 16:52 utc | 112

Didn't someone post that Protonmail endorses BLM MONTHS ago? THat was when we knew the correct alignment of the presented.

About this Taleb Saifedean Bitcoin Talk.

Their arguments are irrelevant to the objective observer, the reductionist hustler:

One clerk against the other. We witness the fact that people need religion. The merge of technology, mystery and the Common Good that will transcend individual weakness (and merge eventually(surely! Everything is good for Bitcoin!)). "Code is Law" is just another leap of faith. Read the positivists. That God poor Taleb cites his beloved John N Gray but never acts upon him. That God poor Saifedean does have only one way out: Steaks and Sats, what a shitty way to start a family, only one way out -- all in.

Posted by: Saifedean | May 31 2021 17:09 utc | 113

With all due respect, infants cannot be amoral, they are infants and pure.

The amoral infant would be one that does not eat on purpose.

Posted by: Infant | May 31 2021 17:10 utc | 114

Why, yes, infants are exactly amoral. Not immoral, but amoral. They don't know right from wrong.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | May 31 2021 17:31 utc | 115

how does moa know Minsk was in cc of the first email? Is this just speculation? Minsk could easily publish the first email, why has it not done so??

It is understandable Protonmail doesn't want to talk about an unpublished email, as this would shatter confidence in its service. But once an email has been published, and there are media requests, it is also understandable that Protonmail confirms its authenticity. So MoA is totally overreacting here (not the first time, by the way).

But Protonmail founder Andy Yen is a Taiwanese-American citizen and he is clearly not neutral. In his blog posts, he wrote against China, against Russia, against Trump, in support of protesters in Hong Kong, Belarus, Catalonia. This guy clearly has a mission.

Posted by: Rob TX | May 31 2021 18:06 utc | 116

To keep the bigger picture in mind, this RyanAir incident is only one skirmish in a broader American/Western-driven Hybrid World War, of which Belarus is a target.

As President Lukashenko stated very recently:

“The time has chosen us. We have found ourselves on the frontline of a new cold, even freezing cold war. Only countries that will be able to resist this hybrid pressure will hold out.”

Belarusian President Latest to Warn of World War Starting in Europe
https://libya360.wordpress.com/2021/05/31/belarusian-president-latest-to-warn-of-world-war-starting-in-europe/

@ Rob TX | May 31 2021 18:06 utc | 116

"But Protonmail founder Andy Yen is a Taiwanese-American citizen and he is clearly not neutral. In his blog posts, he wrote against China, against Russia, against Trump, in support of protesters in Hong Kong, Belarus, Catalonia. This guy clearly has a mission."

Very interesting.

No doubt many Americans or citizens of the Free World™ in general would dismiss this fact about Mr. Andy Yen and Protonmail.

But if the script were flipped and the founder of Protonmail was a Russian, Chinese, Iranian, North Korean or Belarusian, who was supporting say ... the Black Lives Matter, Stop the Steal, Texas Independence, or Yellow Vests movements in the United States or Europe, would they be so dismissive?

I think not.

Posted by: ak74 | May 31 2021 18:37 utc | 117

kons@112 - I agree. It seems pretty sloppy to be state-sponsored. Belarus took advantage of the situation (like any country would) after the aircraft landed. ZATO propaganda brigades promptly jumped on the manufactured 'forced diversion/hijacking' false narrative (like they always do).

Western MSM has mostly ignored nearly the same thing that happened in Germany on Sunday. A Ryanair flight from Dublin to Krakow had to divert to Berlin after Krakow reported a bomb threat. Looks like the flight was just about to leave German airspace. Suspicious! (not really)

I'm being facetious in my tweet about the flight being ordered to divert and forced to land by German fighters. German ATC advised the pilot, who chose to land at Brandenburg. German fighters would likely have scrambled to escort the aircraft because it's standard procedure nearly everywhere. They didn't need to force it down under direct orders from Merkel. Apparently nobody wanted in Germany was on that flight - the hostages were released to another Ryanair plane a few hours later.

https://twitter.com/PavewayIV/status/1399412293134344195

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 31 2021 19:25 utc | 118

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