Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 15, 2021

Putin Teaching A Journalist And Other New Bits Around Ryanair Flight 4978

There are some new bits about the Ryanair flight 4978 which on May 23 landed in Belarus after having received a bomb threat. To recap:

On May 23 a bomb threat against a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was emailed to airports and authorities in Lithuania, Belarus and Greece. It is not known who has sent the email. ...

Belarus Air Traffic Control, through whose airspace the plane was flying at that time, contacted the pilot, informed him of the threat and recommended landing the plane in Minsk. The pilot contacted Ryanair management and then decided to follow the advice. The plane landed at 10:15 utc (13:15 Belorussian time), the passengers disembarked and a lengthy bomb search was carried out. No bomb was found.
...
The passengers had to pass through passport controls. Two passengers were found to have outstanding arrest warrants against them and were detained. The other passengers flew to their original destination.
...
[J]ust an hour after the plane had landed [regime change agent] Frank Viacorka, who is followed by many 'blueticks' on Twitter, presented a narrative of the incident which strongly diverted from reality but allowed for a new push of the stalled regime change agenda.
...
The widely shared tweet and the ones following it implied that the Belorussian government ordered the plane down to arrest the regime change agent Protasevich.

When one looks into the details of the case it soon becomes obvious that the narrative is false.

The false narrative continues to be told by 'western' media. It has led, as its originators hoped, to the introduction of new sanctions against Belarus.

The case came up again during a recent interview by NBC with the Russian President Vladimir. The transcript and video are available here:

Keir Simmons: Let's move on to Belarus and Ukraine, two issues that will certainly come up in your summit with President Biden. Did you have prior knowledge that a commercial airliner would be forced to land in Belarus and that a journalist would be arrested?

Vladimir Putin: No, I did not know about this. I didn't know about any airliner. I didn't know about the people who were detained there subsequently. I found out about it from the media. I didn't know, I didn't have a clue about any detainees. I don't know. It is of no interest to us.

Keir Simmons: You appear to have approved of it judging by your meeting with President Lukashenko soon afterwards.

Vladimir Putin: Not that I approve of it. Not that I condemn it. But, well, it happened. I said recently in one of the conversations with a European colleague, the version of Mr Lukashenko who told me about it was that information had been given to them that there was an explosive device on board the plane. They informed…

Keir Simmons: And you believe that?

Vladimir Putin: …the pilot without forcing the pilot to land. And the pilot made a decision to land in Minsk. That is all. Why should I not believe him? Ask the pilot. It's the simplest thing. Ask the chief pilot. Ask the commander of the aircraft. Did you ask him if was he forced to land? Because I have not heard or seen an interview with the commander of the aircraft that landed in Minsk. Why not ask him? Why not ask him if he was forced to land? Why don't you ask him? It's actually even odd. Everybody accuses Lukashenko, but the pilot hasn't been asked.
...
Vladimir Putin: Yes. Look, I will tell you one more time. What President Lukashenko told me, I don't have any reason not to believe him. For the third time, I'm telling you: Ask the pilot. Why don't you ask the pilot: Was he…

Keir Simmons: But you…

Vladimir Putin: …being scared? Was he being threatened? Was he being forced? The fact that information appeared that there was a bomb on the plane, that individuals, people who had nothing to do, who were passengers, who had nothing to do with politics or any kind of domestic conflicts, that they could perceive it negatively, could be worried about it, of course that's a bad thing. There is nothing good about this. And obviously, we condemn everything that has to do with this, and international terrorism, and the use of aircraft. Of course, we are against this. ...

Putin is right to point out that 'western' media have made no effort to really look into the case. They could reach out to the pilot and co-pilot and to Ryanair and ask what really had happened.

But Putin is wrong in suggesting that the pilots were not questioned at all. After the plane had finally landed in Vilnius the pilot was questioned by the Lithuanian police:

Those questioned include the captain of the aircraft who "made the decision [to change course to Minsk] after consulting Ryanair's management", according to [Rolandas Kiškis, head of the Criminal Police Bureau].

The undisputed transcript of the radio traffic between the pilot and Belorussian Air Traffic Control proves that there was no threat or order from the authorities to land the plane. The ATC recommended to divert to Minsk because of the bomb threat. The pilot communicated with his airline and then followed the ATC's advice.

That the NBC interviewer of Putin is not aware of those facts disqualifies him as a journalist.

Two 'western' paid activists who had worked for regime change in Belarus had been on the Ryanair flight. Roman Protasevich and his girl friend Sofia Sapega had warrants outstanding against them. They were arrested after the plane had landed in Minsk. A Belorussian TV station made a documentary (video) of the bomb threat case. It shows that both left the plane like all other passengers and were only arrested when passing through the custom control. It also shows Protasevich's first interview with the police. In another 90 minute interview (video) of Protasevich with a Belorussian TV journalist he is spilling the beans about the 'western' financed opposition.

Yesterday the Foreign Ministry of Belarus gave a press conference on the issue. Protasevich was also there to answer question. His part is at 45:00 minutes into the video of the press conference.


bigger

BBC journalists at the press conference left the room as they assumed that Protasevich's appearance was not voluntary. Protasevich himself strongly disputes that. Like in the previous videos of him there is no sign in his attitude or engagement that would make me believe that he was coerced into doing this.

The press conference was intended to clear up several false claims found in 'western' media. One was this:

Asta Skaisgirytė, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda's chief foreign policy adviser, said on Sunday that Belarus had scrambled two military aircraft – a MiG-29 fighter jet and a Mi-24 helicopter – to divert the civil passenger plane to Minsk.

The military spokesperson in the press conference explains that the helicopter had nothing to do with the Ryanair flight as it was flying much lower and slower and had no chance to ever come near to it. The MIG-29 went up only after the Ryanair flight had already decided to declare MAYDAY and to land in Minsk. It was at that time hundreds of kilometers away from the Ryanair flight and the nearest distance it came to it was 55 kilometers when the Ryanair plane landed in Minsk.


bigger

Then follows a part about a border tussle around illegal immigration between Belarus and Lithuania. After that the main investigator of the case discusses what crimes Protasevich and Sapega are accused of. He also says that Protonmail, the Swiss company through which the bomb threat email had been sent, has not cooperated with the Belorussian authorities in this and previous cases.

Then follow questions to Protasevich himself. The first question is about a claim in an opposition channel on Telegram that President Lukashenko had appeared in his prison and had personally beaten up Protasevich.


bigger

Protasevich calls that a joke. He explains the marks on his wrists that could be seen in his last interview. He says that when he got arrested the police at the airport did not have hand cuffs and used plastic cable binders instead. Those cut into his skin.


bigger

He says that he has not been hurt at all and that he is in full health. He asks his former comrades in the Belorussian opposition to not spread rumors about him. He is afraid that his parents, who are in Poland, are getting misled about his situation. When he is asked about the Russian oligarch who he had claimed financed part of the opposition he says that he can not remember the man's name.

Thanks to Elena Evdokimova for translating the above details.

In its report about Protasevich's appearance at the press conference the New York Times makes several false claims. It says that Protasevich "was dragged off a Ryanair flight along with his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, three weeks ago by Belarusian security agents."

The documentary about the flight shows at 20:20 min and at 25:45 min that this was not the case. No police came on board. The passengers, including Protasevich and Sapega, left the plane one by one with their carry-on luggage. Bomb sniffing dogs then check the luggage and the passengers enter a bus to be drive to the terminal.


bigger

At 26:53 min the documentary shows Protasevich with a black mask and a military backpack in the terminal waiting for passing the passport control.


bigger

The New York Times also claims:

Belarusian authorities had promised to provide new details in their story of how and why the Ryanair flight was forced to land after entering the country’s air space on a flight to Lithuania from Greece.

The Ryanair flight was not "forced to land" and a no point have Belorussian authorities offered to provide details about such an event. They did provided details about a plane that was under a bomb threat and which diverted to Minsk after the pilot had voluntarily decided to do so.

The BBC report of the press conference is likewise filled with untruth and propaganda:

Flatly contradicting independent accounts of what happened, Belarus air force chief Igor Golub told the briefing: "There was no interception, no forced diversion from the state border or forced landing of the Ryanair plane."

What please are "independent accounts of what happened" aside from some fact free tweets from regime change agents like Frank Viacorka which are completely contradicted by well documented evidence and facts?

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

Posted by b on June 15, 2021 at 15:36 UTC | Permalink

Comments

The gift that keeps on giving, after the press conference Protasevich was at ease with journalists and answered freely to quite a few questions, so much for torture or mind control. There is a 20 minute additional video, I'm not sure if there's a version with subtitles.

Western MSM would like Protasevich to follow the destiny of spent heroes like Savchenko or Babchenko, that is why the BBC left the conference before Protasevich intervention, but Belarusian authorities are going to keep him in good health and talking, there's a lot more to be told about that failed regime change operation. As the same Protasevich averred, Luka is no Yanukovich.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Rw-ZVsFjU

Posted by: Paco | Jun 15 2021 16:10 utc | 1

Another great follow-up. We're in full blown Orwell now in which truth is eclipsed by narrative. And we don't need no stinking Operation Mockingbird when CIA talking point 'journalists' are hired for their 'loyal' world view in the first place. Putin is a very smooth criminal who makes the 'west' look like such embarrassing amateurs. But the truly astonishing thing is how many believe it all hook, line and sinker.

Until the end of time Belarus 'forced down' the airliner, and Oswald killed Kennedy.

Posted by: gottlieb | Jun 15 2021 16:15 utc | 2

Putin deflecting this on the pilot is rubbish!

If you drive with a car through another country and a local police man gives you a hand sign to stop your car - what du you do? Keep on driving until the police man draws his pistol? Start a car chase?

The pilot is the least important person in this whole affair. He just flew the airplane and followed the "advice" of the Belarusian authorities. He is probably obliged by law to do so already before fighter jets show up.

Posted by: m | Jun 15 2021 16:18 utc | 3

Facts appear to support that the plane was not "hijacked" by Belarussia and that Protasevich is not being coerced.

But what would one expect from a pilot that is informed of a credible threat against his plane?

And what other explanations might explain why Protasevich is being so cooperative (while his girlfriend is not)?

Protonmail's failure to cooperate with Belarussia doesn't mean much as Protonmail markets themselves as a secure email service. AFAIK, Minsk has not demonstrated that they were cc-ed on the first email, nor have they pointed to a source for that first email. If it was communicated to Minsk airport by a different airport, it would be easy for Minsk to say so and even name names.

<> <> <> <>

IMO Protasevich is a double agent. That best fits with what happened, as I explained in two comments of the previous thread on this topic: A little too convenient and in my response to a How so? question.

Convince me otherwise.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 15 2021 16:21 utc | 4

BigLie Media is par for the course. This political cartoon shouldn't just aim at BuzzFeed "News", but include the entire corral of liemasters.

In the interview, I lost count of the number of false allegations hurled at Putin and parried back. He's clearly accustomed to it but I'm sure it's very tiresome and irritating. Of the op/eds I've read in anticipation of tomorrow's Summit, the best advocate the Outlaw US Empire abandon its Fabulist stance and return to realism if it wants to call the Summit successful. Many are already thinking about the Pressers afterwards and their differences. One thing I'm certain of is the outrage Congress will have for Biden's performance regardless its quality simply because he's meeting with Putin and they are almost all Fabulists, and know nothing of reality.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2021 16:40 utc | 5

There are a quite some 'smoking gun' stories which are supposed to prove that Belarus knew Protasevich was on board and one which now seems to be generally accepted is police boarding the plane immediately after landing to get Protasevitch. This story is told by one of the eyewitnesses in the passenger interviews: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/24/belarus-flight-passenger-accounts/
He 'thinks' police came on board to arrest Protasevich. That doesn't have to be a lie. The altercations about Protasevich not wanting to leave the plane can easily be interpreted wrongly.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 15 2021 16:44 utc | 6

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2021 16:40 utc | 5

The man has a lot of patience, it is frankly ridiculous the way that journo behaved, assuming all fantasies as irrefutable fact and going back to the old Saloon crap of are you a killer?. Disarmament, end of open conflicts, economic collapse, health emergency, the end of the world are all minor details for these well paid parrots that read the official line, are you a killer? do you guarantee that our boy petty swindler Navalny is going to be in good health, man o man, the president of the biggest country on earth is not a jail warden, I mean your president does not remember if it is Libya, Syria, Atlantis or Mordor and you want Vlad to remember every night before going to sleep to phone the prison and make sure the swindler is being song a lullaby. It is beyond idiocy and as I said earlier, it is going to be a long time before Vlad agrees to talk to and idiot journo like ...whatever his name is.

Just as an add on, Zakharova wishes for Assange to be “brain washed” and shown to us all, so the BBC guys can leave the room to protest for torturing an illegally detained Journalist, with capital letter.

Posted by: Paco | Jun 15 2021 17:05 utc | 7

Thanks to the trolls for presenting defenses of the imperial narratives. We'd have never known the establishment position without your input! /s

Look more closely at the map that our host provided showing the relative positions of the airliner and the Mig-29. There was never even an opportunity for coercion of the pilot. The airliner could have continued on its course for less than five more minutes and been out of Belorussian airspace. That exiting of Belorussian airspace would occur well before any interceptors could have arrived.

There was no hijacking, no coercion, and no forced landing. That is all just nonsense fed to gullible morons with flimsy over-laundered minds.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 15 2021 17:06 utc | 8

For the doubters, m and Tuyzent:

Belarus has all the records, airport cameras, pilot communications, look at the picture, screen shot from a video, how could he be detained at the airplane when he is walking the tarmac by himself to board the bus?

Belarus customs did not have the passenger list, but found out about the valuable target on board through the noise that Vyacherka guy started on social media. There are so many recorded facts that the whole western construct falls by its own weight, Belarus executed an absolute by the book operation, and that is why the pilot testimony should be front page on every "paper of reference", but as I said before, the whole story is being pushed down Winston Smith tube, the problem is Belarus has the records and the main witness,

Posted by: Paco | Jun 15 2021 17:17 utc | 9

The key differences between Russia and the U$A are insurmountable.

Let’s look at fundamental difference about the international system’s polarity (world order). Russia openly states that we’re in a multipolar world and wants multilateralism. The U$A wants a unipolar world and is unwilling to acknowledge the multipolar order and give up its hegemony. Unless there is a meeting of minds on this core difference, everything else is secondary.

If the ambassadors are back to their assigned countries then the meeting was a step in the right direction. If not, then the conflict further escalates.

Posted by: Max | Jun 15 2021 17:19 utc | 10

@m 3
Your lies are pathetic and stupid. The decision about declaring emergency as well as accepting the offer to land in Minsk was completely with the pilot. Air control of an airport has no authority about a pilot when s/he decides. They are no policemen. If the pilot had decided to change course into Poland, Latvia, or else, Minsk air control could not have done anything.

The facts are there. Why do you lie?

Posted by: aquadraht | Jun 15 2021 17:26 utc | 11

Putin was not incorrect. Putin knows the police questioned the pilot.
When Putin said it is odd, he was referring to the fact that no journalist has interviewed the pilot. "Ask the pilot. It's the simplest thing. Ask the chief pilot. Ask the commander of the aircraft. Did you ask him if was he forced to land? Because I have not heard or seen an interview with the commander of the aircraft that landed in Minsk. Why not ask him? Why not ask him if he was forced to land? Why don't you ask him? It's actually even odd. Everybody accuses Lukashenko, but the pilot hasn't been asked." (by the media)

Posted by: Willow | Jun 15 2021 17:31 utc | 12

The BBC claim that "A BBC reporter who was initially at the media briefing said the 26-year-old was clearly appearing under duress."

We still have not seen the pilot himself speak but the Ryanair "boss" is the one doing all the talking. He claims that the Belarussian airport officials; " Michael O'Leary said the pilot tried to seek advice from the airline, but was given false excuses by officials that Ryanair was not answering the phone."

I just hope that they send reporters who are a bit more intelligent to Geneva.
*****

Just for the aside; I was held up on the route de contournement for some time (which goes around Geneva for through traffic) as were many others. Biden has landed, and gone to the Hotel Intercontinental for a quick kip.

Even Easyjet office windows are boarded up in the airport in case of .... snipers? Do they usually go to this amount of trouble for one old man ?

Basically you cannot go to Geneva tomorrrow unless you have a very good reason.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jun 15 2021 18:02 utc | 13

Thanks b for letting us know what was actually said about Protasevich by people in Russia and Belarus, including by Protasevich himself. Of course, a Google search about the press conference only shows accusations that he was being paraded against his will by the authorities.

"BBC journalists at the press conference left the room as they assumed that Protasevich's appearance was not voluntary."

Yep, that's what the BBC correspondent tweeted:

Jonah Fisher
@JonahFisherBBC
"We have just walked out. Not taking part when he is clearly there under duress."

Very convenient excuse for the BBC to "report" on the press conference without reporting what was said in it. In fact their report didn't even mention that they walked out, apart from a very vague hint:

"A BBC reporter who was initially at the media briefing says Mr Protasevich, 26, was clearly appearing under duress."

This is a bit like the way that the OSCE made excuses for not monitoring the recent Belarusian elections - when they claimed that the Belarusian authorities didn't give them enough advance notice about the vote.

Posted by: Brendan | Jun 15 2021 18:13 utc | 14

@m - The pilot is the least important person in this whole affair. He just flew the airplane and followed the "advice" of the Belarusian authorities. He is probably obliged by law to do so already before fighter jets show up.

The pilot is the ONLY decider on a flying plane. There is no law he has to follow in the case of an emergency and there is no one who can command him to do this or that.

If you drive with a car through another country and a local police man gives you a hand sign to stop your car - what du you do? Keep on driving until the police man draws his pistol? Start a car chase?

There was no policeman who told the pilot what to do. The ATC mad a recommendation. There was no gun pointed at the pilot. The MIG was not even in the air at that time.

Posted by: b | Jun 15 2021 18:22 utc | 15

Sure, Protasevich looks nervous at times, which is quite normal considering the stakes and he's facing a lot of journalists, but he doesn't look scared or numbed down after a beating or being drugged. He's definitely not looking like a purged Soviet in a Stalinist show-trial. It would nearly make me wonder if he was betrayed and decided to work with the government side after being dropped by his foreign backers, or if he's been a kind of double agent all along. Were I a Russian/Belarusian speaker, I might have an idea, but being ignorant, I'm stuck.

About the landing and the Putin interview, it just goes to show how utterly retarded and braindead Western media and intelligence are. You don't need Belarusian airforce to threaten the plane for it to be "convinced" to land in Minsk. The bomb threat alone would do the trick, if it's timed accordingly. That Western accusations can't even grasp this level of subtlety is telling. Not saying it's a KGB/Lukashenko trick, just that it could have been, but that wouldn't be a forced landing under military threat, just a trick to force landing through fake bomb threat.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 15 2021 18:22 utc | 16

In line with several recent thread topics and the upcoming Summit atop the two most recent Western confabs, I emphatically agree with the following point made by Finnian Cunningham:

"The poverty, hardship and litany of social problems, including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, that stem from the grotesque inequality that capitalism produces are – and should be – the number one challenge for all nations, particularly those in the West where the issue is most acute.

"However, instead of addressing what should be blindingly obvious, Biden and other Western so-called leaders are framing the challenges in a cock-eyed way. That means the problem of capitalist inequality accumulates and gets worse. (And yet right-wing American media pundits have the ignorant stupidity to describe Biden and his Democrat party as being 'radical leftists' and 'Marxists'. Jeez, give us a break!)

"Listening to Biden and the others at the Group of Seven summit over the weekend, one would think that the greatest challenge of our time is the purported clash between “democracies and autocracies”. That is, between the United States and its Western allies on one hand, and on the other hand Russia and China." [My Emphasis]

Putin, Xi, and numerous likeminded leaders are very active in trying to deal with the systemic inequalities present within their political-economic systems, with a major emphasis on eliminating poverty. Indeed, I'm arguing that the failure to deal with such structural inequalities ought to be denounced as a flagrant violation of Human Rights, while also saying all but UNSC approved sanctions are also vicious Human Rights violations. In other words, attack the weakest points in the West's arguments that their "Democracies" deliver better results for citizens.

Here, Cunningham states what we barflies see as obvious:

"The series of summits at the G7 and with EU leaders and NATO allies was framed in such a way as to be the prelude to a showdown-like meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16. What’s all the belligerence for? Can Biden not just meet another important world leader – Russia’s Putin – and discuss in an earnest and cooperative manner vital issues about the pandemic, climate change and nuclear disarmament. No, of course, Biden can’t. Because he and other Western politicians [and their media] are held hostage mentally by their own false propaganda about alleged Russian malign conduct."

Where's the anticipation of the upcoming talks between Putin and Xi that are supposed to occur next month? Is it possible for the economic activity between the two to increase further? How does the EU plan to keep its newest and weakest members from going bankrupt, and where does China fit in? What additional stupidity will the Outlaw US Empire engage in versus Russia and China when the former has over 20% structural unemployment and inflation rapidly spiraling upward? And what of the Great Reset now being marketed as B3W or some such that will do nothing to alleviate the structural economic problems Neoliberalism has caused?

The political-economic methods being employed have differing ideological goals very similar to those that ruled the Cold War. IMO, that's where the debate ought to occur--What's best for Humanity?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2021 18:23 utc | 17

@Tuyzentfloot

There are a quite some 'smoking gun' stories which are supposed to prove that Belarus knew Protasevich was on board and one which now seems to be generally accepted is police boarding the plane immediately after landing to get Protasevitch. This story is told by one of the eyewitnesses in the passenger interviews: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/24/belarus-flight-passenger-accounts/

YOU ARE LYING.

The word "police" does not appear in the WaPo story you linked. Nor is there anyone in it claiming that the authorities entered the plane while the passengers were still on board.

It says this though:

When the flight landed passengers were escorted onto buses.

Erika, who asked to only use her first name to avoid attention from authorities, told The Washington Post that Protasevich was on her bus.

Protasevich was on the bus on the way to the terminal with all the other passengers. Belarus didn't even know he was on board. He only was caught during passport control.

Posted by: b | Jun 15 2021 18:34 utc | 18

@8 William Gruff
So when you drive with your car through Belarus and a Belarusian border police officer hand signals you to stop you go on full speed instead? Because - hey! - it's just five minutes to the border. The Belarusian authorities don't have to tell you anything!


There were two ATC's, one from Minsk airport which was handling the landing procedure and another one responsible for the general air traffic in Belarus. The latter one told the pilot to land at Minsk.

It's not the military, that's why they don't give "orders" but "request permissions", issue "recommendations", "advice" etc. The pilot of a passenger airplane is nevertheless expected to do what he is told. Pilots can't just fly like they want, plains would regularly crash into each other.

Posted by: m | Jun 15 2021 18:36 utc | 19

The MSM sings with one voice. It seems that at least once monthly, a manufactured "incident"is created. MOA and other internet sites rush to supply the facts and the falsehoods are dispelled for a few discerning people.

But the politicians run with these erroneous reports, time and time again, attempting (and often succeeding) in creating anti-Russian and anti-Chinese anxiety among those that absorb their news from the mass media.

Behind the curtain, of course, are the intelligence agencies stirring their witches brew. Their goal seems to be to spur a Russian/Chinese over reaction. This dynamic may lead to a catastrophe for us all.

Posted by: Simjam | Jun 15 2021 18:37 utc | 20

@17 Cunningham asks "Can Biden not just meet another important world leader – Russia’s Putin – and discuss in an earnest and cooperative manner vital issues about the pandemic, climate change and nuclear disarmament."

Of course they could. But it would be boring. No juicy headlines for the media and nothing to scare the kiddies.

Posted by: dh | Jun 15 2021 18:44 utc | 21

Some seem to say that Protasevich is being mistreated by being shown answering questions on TV. On the other hand his family know he is safe in one piece.

One thinks about the poor families of the thousands of people, many completely innocent, who were blindfolded, put into wooden coffins....and rendered to black US prison hell holes around the world.....with plenty of assistance from UK. One innocent man was even kidnapped off the streets of Italy by the CIA. Many of these people disappeared for years...waterboarded in medieval dungeons.

I'm sure their families would have welcomed the odd TV interview so they could see their loved one was still alive.

Rules based order, my arse.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Jun 15 2021 18:46 utc | 22

Protasevich asked the journalists at the press conference a political puzzle (video, ONT article):

It’s a person. It’s a woman. A politician. She lives in one of the European countries. She called for not paying taxes, not recognizing the illegitimate government, called for the army to go over to her side, and also began to create not only an alternative government, but also alternative embassies of her country. Who do you think she is?

(silence)

Since there are no guesses, I’ll tell you [the answer]. She’s a politician from Austria Monika Unger. In 2019, she was sentenced to 14 years in prison for attempted rebellion. Familiar charges, don’t you think?

Posted by: S | Jun 15 2021 19:02 utc | 23

@Paco, the reason I post about the 'boarding the plane' myth is to clarify that the media don't just 'push lies'. A large component of the media performance can be explained through of trust. I've been following the local media closely on this issue and I'd describe the performance as often trying their best but fucking up systematically. Most people on here will focus on the liars and generalize from them.
Mainstream media can be defined by whom they trust. When the hypothesis is launched by our side that Belarus planned this it is considered trustworthy: treated as true until proven false . Since it is unlikely the sender of the mail to show up that is already a strong bias. In addition there are about 5 'smoking gun' stories to support the main thesis. Each is treated as true until proven false. Arguments from the bad side are listed dutifully but they are not trusted. That makes it hard for them to 'prove' anything false. They get stuck at the level of 'claims'. In such conditions the conclusion is guaranteed. You can disprove a few smoking guns, eventually even all of them but the central claim will not be negated. No outside manipulation required.
All the 'outside' manipulation needs to do is to reinforce the groupthink and to nudge it in the right direction.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 15 2021 19:07 utc | 24

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary appeared today before the British Transport Select Committee and said some things that are contradicted by facts that have not been disputed by those who accuse Belarus of diverting the Ryanair plane. He apparently didn't provide any evidence for what he claimed, even though Ryanair should have the records of what happened, including call logs and voice recordings.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/belarus-breached-all-the-international-aviation-rules-says-o-leary-1.4593974

"He explained that the captain “repeatedly” asked Minsk ATC to provide an open line of communication back to Ryanair’s operations control centre in Warsaw, but was told: “Ryanair weren’t answering the phone”, which was “completely untrue”.

Mr O’Leary said diverted Ryanair flights in that location would normally land in Poland and the other Baltic states, but the captain was put under “considerable pressure” to land in Minsk.

“He wasn’t instructed to do so, but he wasn’t left with any great alternatives,” he told the committee.

After the plane landed in Minsk, “a number of unidentified persons boarded the aircraft” who were “carrying video cameras”, Mr O’Leary said.

They “repeatedly attempted to get the crew to confirm on video that they had voluntarily diverted to Minsk”, but the crew “refused to confirm that”, he explained."


Mr O’Leary added that the passengers and crew were taken to a terminal building, while the captain remained onboard the aircraft but was accompanied by an armed guard every time he left his cockpit.

“It was a very threatening and hostile environment,” he said.

“We eventually got the aircraft back out of Minsk after about eight hours.”

There were five passengers missing when the plane took off again, the committee heard.

They were Mr Protasevich, his travelling companion, and three “unidentified persons”.

Mr O’Leary said: “We understand from the security agencies that it is likely that they were three KGB types.

“Now whether that was Russian KGB or Belarusian KGB, we don’t know, and we’re not sure there’s much of a difference anyway.

Posted by: Brendan | Jun 15 2021 19:13 utc | 25

@m #19:

The pilot of a passenger airplane is nevertheless expected to do what he is told.

The recommendation to land in Minsk was not mandatory. It was up for the pilot to decide. No orders or threats were issued, as the transcript of the radio traffic clearly shows.

Posted by: S | Jun 15 2021 19:15 utc | 26

Tuyzentfloot@24 Not the way I'd put it, but this way is possibly better. Yes, mainstream media goes by who it trusts, all claims made by its preferred sources are automatically accepted with any other claims being automatically deemed extraordinary and thus requiring a extraordinary amounts of evidence. The number one source of such authoritative news is "our" government. That's why it took years for the media to forthrightly admit Trump was a habitual liar. Fox has its reliance on Republican partisan sources in the hard right conservative movement. Others, the ones usually dubbed MSM around here, tend to regard elite academic sources as authoritative. Note that elite academic sources include things like right wing foundations created by the likes of Koch. This is why neoliberal economics is still the default for the MSM.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 15 2021 19:21 utc | 27

thanks b and william gruff for your comment @ 8...

@ 4 jackrabbit... it seems you missed.. you can do better... Mao Cheng Ji | Jun 2 2021 19:29 utc | 6

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2021 20:07 utc | 28

these journos are there to help hold up the mirror of narcissistic, self-inflating bs to the West, incl its politicians. Judith Miller taught Dick Cheney what to say. journalism means confirming the journalists' opinions back to them. what happened doesn't matter.

all this and bigger nukes, too! these aren't governments, they are gigantic criminal organizations. something more important at this moment than the coronavirus? why yes there is. quite a few things, like inflating home prices by 20% as ineffective eviction moratoria end.

Unfortunately for people pinning hopes on Russia, or rather its gov't, Putin makes clear constantly how eager he is to partner with his partners, his colleagues. him being the brightest bulb in a roomful of ghoulish non-entities like Joe "aim away from kids" Biden doesn't make him less a mafia boss.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Jun 15 2021 20:31 utc | 29

On another thread, Paco linked to this excellent article in Russian that discusses the difficulties related to translating. Here are a few excerpts:

"NBC, which President Vladimir Putin interviewed ahead of his meeting with Joe Biden, focused on the literal translation of most of the quotes and phraseologies. Because of this, much remains unclear.

"Translation difficulties often distort perceptions of what politicians actually say. Indeed, the most difficult task for the translator - situational speech-turnovers-occasionalisms, when the traditional expression is somewhat modified to the situation. So Vladimir Putin's recent interview with the American media left questions and misunderstandings abroad. Translators either could not, or did not want to convey the usual references to classics or folk proverbs and sayings in the Russian leader's speech. They either remained untranslated, or completely distorted their meaning, which is already a little in Russian-American relations.

"Vladimir Putin traditionally fills his interviews with many phraseologies, turns, saturates references to literature that may seem alien to the English-speaking perception. And often translators are hit by a literal translation, which partially loses or makes sense. And this time all the difficulties clearly could not be overcome."

Here's an excellent example:

"'We have this proverb: there is nothing to blame on the mirror if the face is crooked. It has nothing to do with you personally, but if someone puts something to us, you look at yourself, you will see yourself in the mirror, not us. There is nothing unusual here,' Putin said in an interview.

"The famous Russian proverb was translated verbatim, so now it sounded like 'don't get mad at the mirror if you're ugly.' Apparently, not picking up an analogue, literally retold the popular wisdom. In this form, it spread to a number of news outlets in the United States."

Here's how it was translated and published by the Kremlin:

"We have a saying: 'Don't be mad at the mirror if you are ugly.' It has nothing to do with you personally. But if somebody blames us for something, what I say is, 'Why don't you look at yourselves?' You will see yourselves in the mirror, not us. There is nothing unusual about it."

Small but very consequential differences. And of course there were more. That's why I trust the Kremlin's translations, although I could get them in Russian then use my machine translation software to read it as I do with other Russian language media. Paco and S, and a few other barflies are fluent in Russian and can thus provide the verbatim and nuanced meaning of the prose/speech, and their reports about those differences I value highly.

And being mostly monolingual, English speakers can be easily fooled by their BigLie Media when it distorts and/or deliberately falsifies what a foreign leader or media has said/written/reported. I usually loathe Microsoft products, but its Edge browser has a translation function that works very well and keeps me from having to copy/paste into Yandex's translation app, which is inefficient.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2021 20:43 utc | 30

It really would be more honest if the corporate media in general--and the America media in particular--dispense with the idiotic charade of being "journalists" and come out of the closet and admit they are nothing more than paid stenographers for the American Deep State and its spy organizations like the CIA.

At least, they would be deserving of more respect for their honesty rather than their pathetic attempts to pimp themselves as intrepid journalists.

The self-styled "Free Press" ain't about freedom.

Presstitutes Embedded in the Pay of the CIA: A Confession from the Profession
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/presstitutes-embedded-in-the-pay-of-the-cia-udo-ulfkotte/1136264876

Posted by: ak74 | Jun 15 2021 21:20 utc | 31

@Brendan #25:

“Now whether that was Russian KGB or Belarusian KGB, we don’t know, and we’re not sure there’s much of a difference anyway.”

Sounds legit. Could be French KGB. Could be British KGB. There’s just no way to know. They’re all too similar.

On a serious note, maybe Russia should reassess the terms on which Ryanair is doing business in the country, as its blabbermouth CEO has just insinuated—without any evidence whatsoever—that Russia made a fake bomb threat to land the plane.

Posted by: S | Jun 15 2021 21:27 utc | 32

All incidents, and their informational aftermath, should be taken with historical input. Which G7 nations have a history of distortions and outright lies. The winner by far, is the U$A, and their attendant handmaidens.

Period, full stop.

Posted by: vetinLA | Jun 15 2021 21:28 utc | 33

m @19

Our host and others have already responded adequately to your trolling. Your ignorance of how air traffic control works is not a successful rhetorical device. Bludgeoning others with your own obtuseness until they ignore you does not count as a "win".

There was no hijacking, no coercion, and no forced landing. That is just a fairy tale told to entertain children and idiots.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 15 2021 21:34 utc | 34

james @Jun15 20:07 #28

Yes, you're right. I was wrong about that part.

They also got the email. But we still don't know WHO made the threat. Protasevich says it was a personal vendetta against him by another member of the resistance. Is that a credible claim?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 15 2021 22:05 utc | 35

Thank @ Brendan | Jun 15 2021 19:13 utc | 25.

Wenn "somebody" and not a small fish is lying so loudly, you know for sure that's a big rat!

1/The pilot never ask to speak to Ryanair "IN POLAND" [I don't know how an ATC could connect the plane to its MAIN BASE]
2/The communication with ATC is really without any pressure. The pilot don't even change route nor FL for 20 mn

For all the fakenewsers: the pilot spill unfortunately the beans AT THE END OF THE JOURNEY IN LITHUANIA [no more "KGB pressure"
"made the decision [to change course to Minsk] after consulting Ryanair's management", according to [Rolandas Kiškis, head of the Criminal Police Bureau]

I posted it since May 23 or 24, that's known from the beginning.

What's up with the OACI probe? Any news from Cockpit Voice Recorder? And who/where is the pilot?

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 15 2021 22:23 utc | 36

"generally I haven't been doing stunts here..." since Flint is in the news.

US politicians don't even have to try at all. it takes literally zero effort to penetrate their lying.

it's the job of Tom Friedman and Bret Stephens and co to make this garbage palatable. and people who provide the pretext for war are war criminals, right?

"Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law." Nuremberg Principle VII

just keep that in mind re MSM dirtbags, incl BBC of course

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Jun 15 2021 22:44 utc | 37

@ Jackrabbit | Jun 15 2021 22:05 utc | 35.. thanks jr... i think that claim may or may not be true.. hard to know for certain.. it is possible.. i thought it was interesting about the guy on the shuttle transit in minsk who took the picture of roman, which was immediately passed onto Frank Viacorka, or? so as to speed up the process of the wests spin... i don't know that they figured out who that guy was either and i believe the pic was taken unbeknownst to roman p..

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2021 23:12 utc | 38

Mig-29 top flight speed is 2400 kph, right?

Posted by: Josh | Jun 16 2021 0:13 utc | 39

240 kilometers in 6 minutes, once full acceleration is achieved. If it is true that the fighter jet was 55 km away (being scrambled after a mayday call), then yeah it's not unlikely that the pilot for the passenger jet was already landing.
Plus, if the Lithuanian authorities were not screaming bloody murder after they interviewed the pilot, well, there's that too.

Posted by: Josh | Jun 16 2021 0:21 utc | 40

@Rêver #36:

And who/where is the pilot?

A team of trauma counsellors are helping him regain the memories of Lukashenko threatening to liquidate his entire family unless he lands the plane in Minsk. To avoid the threats being recorded, the tyrant has ordered a troupe of wing-walking monkeys on a biplane to fly right next to the cockpit window. “We know where you live,” signaled the monkey atop the simian pyramid using flag semaphores. The horrific sight broke the pilot, and he submitted to Lukashenko’s will.

Posted by: S | Jun 16 2021 0:26 utc | 41

Also, what is Ryanair saying?
This is an actual company, with offices and employees and telephones (with listed telephone numbers), right?
Are they saying, "Please save us from the super scary boogey man!!"?
Or, are they saying, "I already told you to stop calling me here."?

Posted by: Josh | Jun 16 2021 0:51 utc | 42

RJB1.5 @ 37:

O'Bomber was given filtered water to drink. Of course he quaffed it without having to think twice about drinking it.

He should have been given Flint water straight out of the tap, same as what Flint residents have to drink, without any further treatment in-between the time it came out of the tap into the glass and the time the glass was placed on the desk. His reaction might have been very different.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 16 2021 1:48 utc | 43

S @ 41:

Wooooh, I bet the monkey also signalled with the guns of one Yosemite Sam.

"We know where you live" ... No wonder the pilot nearly lost the will to live.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 16 2021 1:53 utc | 44

Jackrabbit @ 35:

Roman Protasevich fingered Daniil Bogdanovich as the fellow who made the threat.

Refer to a previous MoA post dated June 4, 2021, which Bernhard has linked above in his post and scroll down to S's comment @ 81, where that commenter has done an English-language translation of the first 18 minutes of Protasevich's interview on Belarus state TV and you will see Protasevich mentions Bogdanovich as the culprit.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 16 2021 2:03 utc | 45

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 15 2021 19:07 utc | 24

I think you have made the point. Communication is essentially made through a multitude of different presentations and varied comments of each new information, and not through the information content. In most cases, no bad faith involved. Grasset (who has made this a central point of his reflections) defines this as "système de la communication".

Posted by: Alberto | Jun 16 2021 6:13 utc | 46

Okay, I looked it up. It turned out to be not even that difficult.

According to international regulations the pilot (pilot in command) has "final authority as to the disposition of the aircraft". He has to operate his plane "in accordance with the rules of the air" and "may depart from these rules in circumstances that render such departure absolutely necessary in the interests of safety."

When the pilot received the "recommendation" from the Belarusian authorities to land at Minsk he had to do that ("in accordance with the rules of the air"). He could have overridden that recommendation. But only if it had been "absolutely necessary in the interests of safety." Since Minsk is a safe airport there had been no grounds for this.

Posted by: m | Jun 16 2021 7:24 utc | 47

@m:

What are you talking about?
First, ATC never gave instructions but recommendations regarding the landing in Minsk. Pilots are not obliged to follow these as they are, well, recommendations and not instructions, hence not "rules of the air". Under normal circumstances the pilot follows instructions from ATC (regarding flight level and heading) to avoid risks and potential collisions.
Second, the pilot eventually declared an emergency (pretty close to the Lithuanian border), and a really urgent one at that (triple "Mayday" call plus transponder code 7700) as there was a serious concern about the safety of the plane. At that point the pilot is fully in command and can basically do whatever he wants and ATC is there only to assist him. There are recommendations of the ICAO about such Mayday calls and the pilot followed them. After declaring the emergency he followed the formula and stated his intention to land in Minsk, as he deemed it "absolutely necessary in the interest of safety" to divert from the flighplan. The ATC did not tell him that he has to do that, the pilot told ATC, what he decided to do and asked ATC for assistance in carrying out his decision.

Posted by: Gipsel | Jun 16 2021 8:06 utc | 48

@b. Listen to the passenger 15s into the little movie. That is the real record I was looking for. Then read my post. And then try to understand it. I'm not even saying that passenger is right. He is wrong but I give a plausible explanation that he is not lying when he says they took the passenger from the plane: that he merely misinterpreted an actual 'altercation' the airport police didn't even know about, namely that Protasevich wanted to stay on the plane. And he is not even entirely certain of it himself. I had heard that passenger story early on and think it affected the narrative but didn't keep links, so this is merely the first article I found with the movie, I didn't check the article. I fully agree with the conclusion that Protasevich was only arrested much later.
The main claim of that post of mine was that mainstream media cannot get the Belarus story right, however hard they try. Instead people attribute too much to (the very real factor of)lying. There's a lesson for you.
Also I hate having to confirm to people what side I'm on in order to put them at ease.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 16 2021 8:16 utc | 49

What I can never understand is why people like President Putin and FM Lavrov even bother to talk to "journalists" of the western mainstream media. They come with a rigged agenda, lack professionalism and knowledge and do not even have manners, let alone respect.

Posted by: DB | Jun 16 2021 8:58 utc | 50

The news used to tell you that something happened, then you had to decide what you thought about it. Now the news tells you how to think about something, and you have to decide if it even happened.

Putin fell for a hoax and Russia still has not figured out what happened. The main event was not the landing or the arrests, but preplanned narrative management operation, i.e. a hoax.

This is a failure of Russian intelligence. Russia lacks its Bellingcat. Western media must be read with the assumption that everything is a hoax, unless proven otherwise. Russia does not have the kind of capacity of critically analyzing news and open source intelligence like Moon of Alabama or our little Syria / Ukraine group. It is as if someone in Russia thinks that in order to find out what happens in the West one must send Boshirov and Petrov to investigate.

Putin should have called out the hoax for what it is, a hoax. Instead he argues about the details and refers to Lukashenko as the highest authority. This kind of incompetence will not convince the Western audience.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 16 2021 11:11 utc | 51

Tuyzentfloot @49

I wonder why you argue that "...mainstream media cannot get the Belarus story right.." and in particular "...however hard they try." Are these "professionals" in the corporate mass media denied some privileged information that our host has access to? I realize that the "journalists" in the employ of big business are far from the brightest examples of humanity and that their principal claim on respect arises from their ability to construct simple declarative sentences in their sole language that are somewhat grammatically correct, so are you arguing that their inability to "...get the Belarus story right..." is due to their gross incompetence? I further realize that incompetence is a recognized identity trait that figures prominently in Identity Politics, like being Black or female or having a mystery gender, so criticizing so-called "professional" journalists for incompetence is verboten, but are you trying to excuse their consistent inability to "...get the Belarus story right..." on that basis, leaving them beyond criticism?

As well, your suggestion that imperial journalists stenographers are "trying hard" to "get the Belarus story right" has piqued my curiosity. What leads you to believe that they are making any effort at all to accurately represent the truth in this matter? Have they, for example, made the minimal effort to do as Putin has suggested and interviewed the pilot?

Or perhaps by "right" in "get the Belarus story right" you mean "construct a false narrative about the Ryanair bomb threat that serves the empire's interests and that mass media consumers will swallow"? If it is this latter then you would do well to spare a few sentences to add clarity because it certainly sounds like you are making excuses for the corporate mass media consistently misrepresenting the truth in this affair.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 16 2021 11:15 utc | 52

@ Gipsel | Jun 16 2021 8:06 utc | 48
(& m [for the fun])

When pilot decided to divert to Minsk [mayday & 7700], the plane was really close to Vilnius, ready to land.
Known and posted by me with a 3D Flyradar24 for a while.

Only ONE possibility.

It was on UHF with Ryanair and Vilnius and it was VERBOTEN to land to Vilnius. Why? Who?

If a plot, not a Belarus one. Period.

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 16 2021 12:14 utc | 53

Jen @Jun16 2:03 #45:

Roman Protasevich fingered Daniil Bogdanovich as the fellow who made the threat.

Thanks Jen. I knew that (having read the transcript that you referred to.)

As I said to james @35: is that credible? Would any opposition leader actually betray TWO of of his most prominent colleagues?

And, assuming that it was Bogdanovich, is that reason for Protasevich to so easily break under questioning?

Furthermore, it's assumed that Protasevich was the target but Sofia (who edits the 'Black Book') seems like a bigger target - if not 'THE' target. The fact is, strongmen like Lukashenko need to protect the security forces that protect him.

Also note: the bomb threat against the plane was made as the plane neared Vilinus such that the pilot had virtually no option other than to divert to Minsk. Did Bogdanovich KNOW that it would be relayed quickly? Did Bogdanovich conceive and execute this plot in time it took from Protasevich's notification of travel to the time the plane was nearing Vilinus? Was Bogdanovich THAT pissed that Protasevich had missed some "minor deadlines"? Or was he so power-hungry that he was willing to risk his life to get Protasevich (and Sofia) out of the way? Betraying comrades like that could be discovered - especially if the Bogdanovich-Protasevich conflict was known to others - and such betrayal risks execution by others who risk their lives in opposition to Lukashenko.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 16 2021 13:14 utc | 54

@ Rêver | Jun 16 2021 12:14 utc | 53:

The threat email specifically mentioned Vilnius as the location of the threat. And the pilot was aware of that fact. The diversion to an alternate airport is just logical from that point of view.
On top of that, the plane was still at cruising altitude (~12km), as the pilot did not start the descent to Vilnius after the warning to win time and coordinate with Ryanair/Vilnius before making a decision. As every airline pilot can tell you, it would be really uncomfortable for the passengers to have such a steep descent to land directly at an airport in less than 50km distance from that altitude (it's way steeper than anything airline pilots do in normal operation [would have been ~14° descent] and they would have a problem loosing enough speed for a landing in such a steep descent). What follows is that they would have descended in some kind of a holding pattern (flying circles while descending) in case they would have decided to land in Vilnius. The usual descent from 12km altitude takes more than 200km flown horizontal distance (a usual descent angle is ~3° => 223km needed to descend the 11.7km difference between the plane's altitude and the airport elevation; this equals roughly the glide ratio of an airliner without deploying speed brakes [usually done anyway at some point to slow down], which means the plane would keep its speed without applied power to the engines at that descent rate). Looking at it from that perspective (and the pilots are very well aware of these things as the are dealing with them at every landing) the effective distance to Minsk was basically the same as to Vilnius (Minsk was ~190km away at the point the pilot announced his decision, the actual flown distance was ~240km in the [confirming what I just said, but also because the pilot did not fly directly towards Minsk but requested course changes to avoid some area with bad weather], it still took less than 30 minutes to land).

To sum it up: No conspiracy needed. It was basically standard operating procedure from the point the Minsk ATC informed the pilot about the threat and offered Minsk as a diversion location.

Posted by: Gipsel | Jun 16 2021 13:16 utc | 55

Belarus got one of the components of a major plot to cause mayhem in Belarus.
The west will use this a cause for sanctions and whatever they can come up with to hurt Russia regardless if it was a coincidence or a KGB plot.

Posted by: arby | Jun 16 2021 13:26 utc | 56

IMO there are no good guys in the Ryanair diversion to Minsk. Just a sad episode of the new Cold War.

However, in the big picture, we know this new Cold War is driven by the Thucydides Trap. And we will see more tensions and bad behavior as Cold War II continues.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 16 2021 15:19 utc | 57

Posted by: m | Jun 15 2021 18:36 utc | 19
It's not the military, that's why they don't give "orders" but "request permissions", issue "recommendations", "advice" etc. The pilot of a passenger airplane is nevertheless expected to do what he is told. Pilots can't just fly like they want, plains would regularly crash into each other.

It has been a long time since I was an air traffic controller, but I'm pretty certain that the ICAO regulations are still the same as they were then. Once a pilot declares an emergency, he or she is in control. At that point, ATC will usually give him a direct vector to the specific airport and runway that he wants, clearing the way by directing all other traffic in the vicinity away from his flight path.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 16 2021 16:13 utc | 58

Petri Krohn @51--

Putin's initial reaction as recorded by Russian media was to judge the West's reaction as an "emotional outburst" greatly lacking any sort of logic as the West was again lobbing accusations without any evidence as its done now for several decades. So, IMO, Putin knew the event was contrived. That he didn't mention his initial reaction in the interview IMO is quite understandable. IMO, in deciding how to budget its monies, Russia has decided not to waste it on the media equivalent of an arms race. The West has lied for decades and will continue to lie for many more decades because that's how it behaves--Russians well know it's projection and even have that quaint saying that was mistranslated to describe such behavior.

In the initial photos of the Summit, I see that Lavrov is indeed with Putin, so I wonder which of them will speak at the Presser--both hopefully.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2021 16:18 utc | 59

Putin's news conference is over. Seems like the Summit was rather mundane.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2021 16:41 utc | 60

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 16 2021 16:41 utc | 60

Unfortunately there were breaks in the transmission, maybe overload, the US journos with their typical BS, CNN: like did you COMMIT to stop threatening Ukraine, stop cyber attacks, stop this stop that, but listen to the tone, did you commit? given as a fact his accusations, then ABC I think posed a question as well, but I was pleasantly surprised by the final question by the Canadian Radio Canada correspondent, she asked Putin to talk directly to her nine year old daughter, why these leaders have to meet, Putin excelled with that answer, as he usually does, the man does not cease to surprise me with his infinite patience when it comes to US MSM clowns, I tell you being a black belt I would walk to one of those FKRS and just slam them to the floor, then again, I am not Putin thanks the Lord, it is a titanic labour he has to face when confronted by those clowns.

Posted by: Paco | Jun 16 2021 16:59 utc | 61

@58 Antispin
That's not the course of events and you know it.

The pilot didn't declare an emergency on his own innitiative.

The pilot was contacted by the by the Belarusian ATC and he was told that they had received a bomb threat by Email. The pilot asked who had received that Email. The Belarusian ATC replied "many airports" and recommended to land at Minsk. The pilot asked who had made the decision to land at Minsk. The Belarusian ATC replied that they had made that decision.

At that point the pilot turned his plane to Minsk airport and declared an emergency.

The plane didn't have any technical problems and the pilot didn't know anything about bomb threats before the Belarusiam ATC told him.

Posted by: m | Jun 16 2021 17:11 utc | 62

karlof1 @Jun16 16:41 #60

Seems like the Summit was rather mundane.

Pretty much as expected.

Talk and promise of future talks ... all of which make no real progress.

I guess we can be thankful that they are still talking.

<> <> <> <> <>

Putin rejected claims that Russia is behind cyber-attacks. The restoring of diplomatic relations (restoring ambassadors) will likely be reversed if USA declares that Russia is behind another cyber-attack.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 16 2021 17:16 utc | 63

US journos distinguish themselves with their disingenuous questions, all prepared to get a negative headline and nothing else, all details with little relevance like what one interlocutor sees in the “soul” of the other one and BS proper of a Hollywood movie but not of real life. To talk about the soul go and see a priest or go to a James Brown concert, if he’s still around

Posted by: Paco | Jun 16 2021 17:18 utc | 64

Paco @Jun16 16:59 #61

The BBC question was notable. As was Putin's answer in which Putin expressed admiration for the unabashed sophistry.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 16 2021 17:18 utc | 65

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 16 2021 17:18 utc | 65

Damn it, it broke right at that moment and I'm looking for that excerpt in the video now, Brits are just as mean as US journos but a lot more sophisticated.

Posted by: Paco | Jun 16 2021 17:24 utc | 66

@ m | Jun 16 2021 17:11 utc | 62

You should really read the available transcript of the communications with ATC more carefully!

The pilot was contacted by the by the Belarusian ATC and he was told that they had received a bomb threat by Email. The pilot asked who had received that Email. The Belarusian ATC replied "many airports"
That is pretty much standard operating procedure. Someone has to tell an airplane about such threats. And that is regularly the currently responsible ATC controller as the plane keeps in contact with them. So it's often the easiest way to do it.
and recommended to land at Minsk. The pilot asked who had made the decision to land at Minsk. The Belarusian ATC replied that they had made that decision.
Don't you spot the contradiction in your post? The latter part about a decision is clearly wrong. You are simply distorting the facts. The pilot asked, where the recommendation comes from and the ATC controller answered truthfully (i.e. no wrong claims that it comes from somewhere else). The Minsk ATC didn't decide anything there.
At that point the pilot turned his plane to Minsk airport and declared an emergency.
Which makes it his decision. Theoretically he could just have continued flying. Or declaring an emergency and then flying to the nearest airport in neighboring Poland or whatever. Ultimately, nobody forced him to make the decision to land in Minsk. The strongest claim one could make at this point is that Belarus tricked the Ryanair crew into making this decision. But it was the decision of the crew and it was not forced.
The plane didn't have any technical problems and the pilot didn't know anything about bomb threats before the Belarusiam ATC told him.
Which (as already stated) is the correct procedure when an airport receives a bomb threat. This was very much on display a few days later, when a similar threat (via phone call, not email) against a different Ryanair plane was received. There too, the currently responsible ATC controller (a German one) informed the plane (flying from Ireland to Poland and just being in transit over Germany at that time) about the received threat and the pilot decided to do an emergency landing in Berlin and not to continue to the actual destination airport in Poland. This Ryanair crew also didn't know about the threat before the ATC controller told them. I mean, how could they?!? And this plane also didn't have technical issues and still declared an emergency and diverted to a different airport. The plane was searched, nothing found, the passengers were checked and could continue their travel with a few hours delay. So obviously not that many differences.

Posted by: Gipsel | Jun 16 2021 18:22 utc | 67

@ Gipsel | Jun 16 2021 13:16 utc | 55

Yes, but....

The pilot was informed of the bomb threat 12:25,entering Belarus airspace.
The closest airport to divert at the time : Lublin (Poland) and Warsaw not so difficult.

The pilot decided "nothing" before flying so close to Vilnius. 20 minutes.

That's not a normal procedure.
Putin is right [I was too since 23rd May...😏]. Ask the pilot!

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 16 2021 21:14 utc | 68

@ Jackrabbit | Jun 16 2021 13:14 utc | 54


Also note: the bomb threat against the plane was made as the plane neared Vilinus such that the pilot had virtually no option other than to divert to Minsk.

NO, as known for 3 weeks, extra ball:


The pilot was informed of the bomb threat 12:25,entering Belarus airspace.
The closest airport to divert at the time : Lublin (Poland) and Warsaw not so difficult.

The pilot decided "nothing" before flying so close to Vilnius. 20 minutes.

That's not a normal procedure.
Putin is right [I was too since 23rd May...😏]. Ask the pilot!

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 16 2021 21:19 utc | 69

@ Petri Krohn | Jun 16 2021 11:11 utc | 51

Dear Petri, Putin is right. And probably know what we don't. You're {we are 😉} right on the facts since 23rd May.
But only the pilot can explain his strange behavior [20mn of "nothing" when he/she could easily divert to Poland where the plane is based.]

Putin is right. Ask the pilot!

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 16 2021 21:31 utc | 70

Posted by: m | Jun 16 2021 17:11 utc | 62
@58 Antispin
That's not the course of events and you know it.

I think you have confused someone else's comment with one from me.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 16 2021 22:28 utc | 71

@67 Gipsel
"Theoretically he could just have continued flying. Or declaring an emergency and then flying to the nearest airport in neighboring Poland or whatever."

No he couldn`t. ATC had told him what to do. He could have departed from the ATC`s recommendation only "in circumstances that render such departure absolutely necessary in the interests of safety."

Posted by: m | Jun 17 2021 6:24 utc | 72

@ m
You are not so stupid, isn't it?

Calling for emergency [Mayday], turning VHF to 7700,a pilot is allowed to do what he want, even not anymore respect OACI/flight rules.

ATC work is to ease.

"in the interests of safety." Posted by: m | Jun 17 2021 6:24 utc | 72
"Pas mieux ! 😂😂😂

I posted many times the recommended procedure that THE PILOT DOES NOT APPLY


Suggested Controller’s Actions
What to Expect
As a controller, one can expect that pilots who become aware of a bomb threat will request:

To stop climb and/or descend if the aircraft is climbing.
Immediate flight level (FL) re-clearance, usually to lower FL
Landing at the nearest suitable aerodrome
Information about such aerodromes such as runway in use, runway length, runway surface, aerodrome elevation and approach aids and frequencies.

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 17 2021 8:02 utc | 73

@ m | Jun 17 2021 6:24 utc | 72

No he couldn`t. ATC had told him what to do. He could have departed from the ATC`s recommendation only "in circumstances that render such departure absolutely necessary in the interests of safety."
Of course he could have. ATC didn't give insructions to land in Minsk. If someone claims otherwise, he is simply lying. Recommendations are not instructions. Recommendations from ATC don't have to be followed. ATC and pilots use a pretty standardized language. One should not obfuscate the meaning of the terms used.

And declaring an emergency (as the pilots did!) is exactly the way for the pilots to tell ATC (and all other planes around), that there are circumstances which may critially endanger the plane and its passengers and that it will do whatever necessary to ensure safety. After that, ATC can't give any instructions. The pilots say what they want to do and ATC is only there to offer assistance in any way possible. Denying that simple fact, would be another falsehood.

Posted by: Gipsel | Jun 17 2021 8:15 utc | 74

Again you two deliberatley obfuscate the course of events in order to squeeze the facts into your narrative.

The pilot didn`t declare an emergency on his own innitiative and informed ATC about a bomb threat.

It was the Belarusian ATC who told the pilot about a bomb threat and re-directed the flight to Minsk. Only after that had happened did the pilot declare en emergency (as is standard procedure in case of bomb threats).

You are exploiting the legal loopwhole that nominally the pilot is in charge of the flight in order to push your narrative while in reality he had to follow standard procedure to the letter. He would have been authorized to depart from the Belarusian ATC`s recommendations only under very certain conditions (flight safety jeopardized by the ATC`s recommendations) which simply and obviously would not have been valid in this specific situation.

Posted by: m | Jun 17 2021 9:01 utc | 75

@ m | Jun 17 2021 9:01 utc | 75

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! You obviously obfuscate the ATC transcript while it is actually pretty clear. Or don't you understand it?

Of course ATC informed the pilots about an external threat as it is part of their job to do so. And they DID NOT REDIRECT the flight to Minsk. The Ryanair crew thought about what to do for the better part of 15 minutes and than they decided to declare an emergency and land in Minsk (as said before, they could have just continued flying or do something else).
And the mayday call is actually the fact of openly declaring an extraordinary situation with risks to the safety of plane, crew and passengers to ATC (exactly a situation where the pilot can do whatever is deemed necessary in the interest of the safety of the plane and passengers). Even without that declaration, it is a justification for the pilots to deviate from ATC instructions (communication is pretty low on the priority list in the course of saving lifes, you know [basic rules for flying: "aviate, navigate, communicate" in that order]). And to top this off, in this case there weren't even any ATC instructions!
The crew was not bound to any recommendation ATC may have been given. And especially after declaring the emergency the pilots had completely free reign. They could have done whatever they thought to be necessary, be it continuing to a Lithuanian airport, diverting to Poland, or - as they decided to do - landing in Minsk.

Posted by: Gipsel | Jun 17 2021 9:32 utc | 76

@ Rêver | Jun 16 2021 21:14 utc | 68 and Jun 17 2021 8:02 utc | 73

The pilot was informed of the bomb threat 12:25,entering Belarus airspace. The closest airport to divert at the time : Lublin (Poland) and Warsaw not so difficult.

The pilot decided "nothing" before flying so close to Vilnius. 20 minutes.

That's not a normal procedure.

They were informed 12:30/31 and requested a holding pattern at 12:45 (before declaring an emergency at 12:47). So it took them 14 or 16 minutes for that, depending how one counts. I'm convinced the crew used the time and tried their best to evaluate the situation. It was a pretty "fresh" threat and not too much information was known. They obviously tried to contact their company Ryanair (as other pilots have said, this is part of the standard procedures in such situations) and apparently had problems with that and even asked ATC for help to do so, contributing to the delay to decisions. Nobody wants to do something stupid because of a haste, when there is no apparent imminent danger (so an immediate reaction may not be needed to avert some catastrophe [counter examples would be pressure loss at cruising altitude or some other plane closeby on collision course, where an immediate reaction of the crew is necessary]).
Why the crew had issues contacting Ryanair? Ask Ryanair! Usually the crew should have the means to establish some contact (in most airlines satellite connections nowadays, so completely independent from any usual radio traffic). I think it is understandable that an ATC controller stationed somewhere where the company in question does not operate (they only transited Belarus, they have no connections going there and no base in Belarus) has no idea which radio frequency that company uses for such communications (the crew asked ATC for that, but why they didn't have that by themselves esacapes me). But in the end, they gave them a frequency to contact Vilnius (destination airport) and ask there (as Ryanair operates there, so they probably know more). And apparently the crew managed to contact Ryanair eventually, before making the decision to declare an emergency. At least that is what the Lithuanian police stated after questioning the pilots.
Suggested Controller’s Actions
What to Expect
As a controller, one can expect that pilots who become aware of a bomb threat will request:
To stop climb and/or descend if the aircraft is climbing.
Immediate flight level (FL) re-clearance, usually to lower FL
Landing at the nearest suitable aerodrome
Do you have the same list where the bold part reads "pilot"? ;)
The pilot's delay in requesting flight level changes can be deemed reasonable when thinking of bombs where the detonator is connected to a pressure gauge. And we have no idea how much fuel they had on board and what their pre-planned alternate airports were. This can also play a role in these decisions. As said, I'm pretty sure the crew tried their best to evaluate the situation to make the best decision possible under the given circumstances (which does not necessarily mean, that they actually achieved that; but their actions don't appear to be completely unreasonable).
When it comes to the "nearest airport", as I said above already, effectively Minsk was pretty close the whole time, as one needs horizontal distance for a normal descent anyway. It doesn't help that you fly with cruising speed 12km directly above an airport, you still have to descend and slow down to land there, which makes a landing on an airport ~200km or even a bit more away basically equivalent (if you don't have other severe issues so you can't make it for some reason).

Posted by: Gipsel | Jun 17 2021 10:22 utc | 77

"And especially after declaring the emergency the pilots had completely free reign."

No they hadn`t. Pilots never have a completely free reign. Pilots have to operate "the aircraft in accordance with the rules of the air, except that the pilot-in-command may depart from these rules in circumstances that render such departure absolutely necessary in the interests of safety."

The "rules of the air" are, omong others, what ATC says.

Has it been "absolutely necessary in the interests of safety" to ignore the recommendation of ATC to land at Minsk and instead continue to Vilnius? Obviously not. The pilot therefore didn`t have the authority to do that.

Posted by: m | Jun 17 2021 10:46 utc | 78

@ m | Jun 17 2021 10:46 utc | 78

You must be trolling because nobody can be so obtuse.

Pilots never have a completely free reign. Pilots have to operate "the aircraft in accordance with the rules of the air, except that the pilot-in-command may depart from these rules in circumstances that render such departure absolutely necessary in the interests of safety."
As you were told already multiple times by multiple people here, an emergency is exactly defined by "circumstances, that [may] render such departure absolutely necessary in the interests of safety." Otherwise it wouldn't be an emergency, isn't it?
Is it really that hard to understand, that in case of an emergency the pilots foremost obligation is to try to ensure the safety of plane and passengers and everything else is secondary or tertiary? I don't think so. Nobody cares about what ATC wants in such a situation, they are only there to assist by clearing the airspace around the plane with an emergency (to give the pilots all possible options) coordinate with emergency services on the ground and provide useful information to the pilots, which are always in charge of the decisions taken in an emergency. That is their ultimate responsibility to the passengers and other crew on board. Nobody can take that away from them.

Posted by: Gipsel | Jun 17 2021 11:52 utc | 79

"Nobody cares about what ATC wants in such a situation, (...)"

That`s not what the ICAO regulation states. "Mayday" is not a magical do-as-you-like-spell. A pilot has to follow the rules of the air as much as possible as long as they don`t impair flight safety. What that means in a concrete situation depends on the specific circumstances of the emergency.

Maybe that`s a good time to remember what the specific circumstances of the emergency were. The "emergency" was a bomb threat that turned out to be fake. All parts of the plane functioned as they were supposed to do. The pilots would have never noticed any "emergency" if it hadn`t been for the Belarusian authorities. The pilots wouldn`t have declared any emergency on their own innitiative.

I agree with your assessment that the pilots did carefully weigh their options. Without further information and without any concrete safety-relate objectives against landing at Minsk they arraived at the conclusion that they had no choice but to follow standard procedure, adhere to the recommendation of ATC and land at Minsk. Ther was simply no justificiation for departure.

[They probably had a bad gut-feeling. The frequent questions and the long hesitation pionts in that direction.]

Posted by: m | Jun 17 2021 15:03 utc | 80

@ m | Jun 17 2021 15:03 utc | 80

At that point in time nobody onboard the plane did know for sure, that there was no bomb. They acted, as if there would be one. And that is clearly an emergency situation where the pilots do not have to follow instructions from ATC, let alone a mere recommendation (which pilots don't have to follow even without emergency). You just made up some stuff which clearly isn't true.

And of course the pilots would never know of a bomb threat emailed to an airport if nobody would tell them. But it is the damn job of the authorities (via ATC) to tell them! Nobody forced the plane to land in Minsk. You construct a coercion where there was none. That the pilots may have had problems contacting Ryanair to get a second opinion abaout the fact pattern in a timely manner is a problem of Ryanair not a Belarusian one. In the end, the crew obviously weighed their options and decided what they thought would be the best course of action to ensure the safety of the plane (and of course they had multiple choices). Ultimately, it was the crew's decision.

Posted by: Gipsel | Jun 17 2021 15:25 utc | 81

@ Gipsel

We mostly agree. But a bomb threat is not a technical problem to evaluate.
FL390 is not a good place to wait. Decision to divert is question of minutes. 15 minutes heading to Vilnius at FL390? Not a qualified procedure.
So.... Ask the pilot.

And ask Ryanair to release the Cockpit Voice Recorder...
So sorry, unfortunately erased....

I posted the procedure for pilot in emergency a few weeks ago. Use research tool

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 17 2021 15:47 utc | 82

"(...)(and of course they had multiple choices) (...)"
No there weren`t. A pilot has to operate his airplane "in accordance with the rules of the air, except that the pilot-in-command may depart from these rules in circumstances that render such departure absolutely necessary in the interests of safety." ATC told him to land at Minsk. Since there were no circumstances that made it "absolutely necessary in the interests of safety" to not land at Minsk he had to land at Minsk. Any other course of action would have been a violation of international regulations and would have constituted an impairmant of aviation safety in it`s own right.

Posted by: m | Jun 17 2021 16:40 utc | 83

Belorussian TV station video:
"Video unavailable
This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Dzmitryi Malakovich."

Posted by: Keith McClary | Jun 17 2021 18:21 utc | 84

@alberto , I'm guessing this is Philippe Grasset who writes at http://www.dedefensa.org? I don't know him and it is not easy to google him because Grasset is a publisher.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 22 2021 20:53 utc | 85

@William Gruff, 52 you could say I am apologizing for the mainstream when I say they aren't lying. But it is not apologizing when I say they are a bit like a sect , too locked up in their groupthink to see the truth.
Claiming people are lying is often a lack of imagination. 'serious informed people cannot honestly see things differently from me' so they must be lying.

There are cynical liars in the mainstream and there are docile people who write what they are told to write, but there are also beliefs. Very many mainstream journalists trust authoritative sources and the secret services and despise Assange, deeply distrust anything labeled 'fringe' or 'conspiracy thinking', and deeply distrust all our competitors in foreign policy: Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua and so on.

I went through the Ryanair articles on the modest domestic flemish public broadcasting and I found a partisan level of distrust towards Belarus but also a lot of indications of honesty and sincere effort to do good journalism. They would put effort in spelling out what official Belarusian sources would say but would enterpret it entirely as "of course you cannot trust a word they are saying". From this partisan framework anything Belarus says is never convincing. It's merely an unreliable claim. Belarus may point to what they claim are verifiable facts but why would we follow the requests of such a disreputable claim. There are so many other more reputable things to check first.
Similarly a claim from Ryanair boss O'Leary that there were secret agents on board is treated as credible and is believed (while for a plane from Greece Minsk and Vilnius are very close together). Whatever Viacorka says is instantly believed because he is from the valiant opposition (for us that's easy. We don't trust him). It's really a bit like science, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and Belarus is at a severe disadvantage. It is easy to claim 'competence rises above it' but while there is an element of truth this severely underestimates the impact on our thinking of what we consider trustworthy. You could say their journalistic codes did not protect them from their partisanship sending them off the rails.

Now the NYTimes is likely more cynical about what they write but I think the same elements are at play and the people who have the wrong ideas, which really means people who trust the wrong sources, have largely been filtered out and sidelined.

I define the mainstream by whom they trust(while the mainstream can also be quite diverse) because that is in reality how we respond to them: because they trust people we consider extremely untrustworthy. The mainstream also defines the conspiracy thinkers by whom they distrust and whom they trust. They like to point at the stupidity of conspiracy thinkers to justify their distrust but the root cause is more basic.

Looking at other people as using different 'trust maps' is a powerful way to understand how they can see things very differently
It was very educational in that respect when officials started to warn about the danger of covid that people on here reactions were driven by distrust, and many got locked in by that. Not getting locked in can be hard work, especially when you don't see the reason to do that work and when the arguments are coming from the distrusted sources.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 22 2021 22:05 utc | 86

The comments to this entry are closed.