Patterico's Pontifications

5/24/2021

Belarusian Government Hijacks Airliner to Arrest Opposition Leader

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



This story is insane:

European Union leaders discussed punishing measures, and investigators were seeking more details about an audacious effort by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to snag the founder of a prominent opposition outlet. The leader sent up a MiG-29 fighter jet to escort a Ryanair flight down to the ground in Minsk, a power play that set a fearsome precedent for journalists and political opponents, who now must fear flying through the airspace of repressive regimes, even if they are moving from one free capital to another.

The Ryanair plane was nearing Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sunday before Belarusian authorities turned it around, made it land in their capital, Minsk, and arrested journalist Roman Protasevich, the founder of an opposition media outlet. He faces at least 12 years in prison.

The plane was on its way from Athens to Minsk, when a false bomb threat — obviously orchestrated by Lukashenko’s thugs — created the pretext to force a landing in Minsk. There, Lukashenko’s criminal gang with state authority arrested Protasevich, who had helped organize protests against the regime.

Several countries are responding by prohibiting flight over Belarusian air space. Meanwhile, the Russians think this was a great idea.

A number of Russian officials praised the move. Lawmaker Vyacheslav Lysakov wrote on his Telegram that it was a “brilliant special operation” by Belarus’s state security services. Kremlin propagandist Margarita Simonyan, the editor in chief of the government-funded TV channel RT, formerly Russia Today, said on Twitter that Lukashenko “performed beautifully,” adding that she is envious of Belarus.

The article notes that Putin and Lukashenko are likely to grow closer after the incident. They will meet this week.

72 Responses to “Belarusian Government Hijacks Airliner to Arrest Opposition Leader”

  1. No plane should travel from/to Belarus for the next 10 years.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  2. Also, Lukashenko should be indicted at the World Court for piracy. FWIW.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  3. His girlfriend, too:

    Sofia Sapega, the girlfriend of the arrested journalist, was also detained when the plane landed in Minsk on Sunday after a bogus bomb threat during its flight from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, her university in the Lithuanian capital said.

    Ms. Sapega, a Russian citizen, was detained at the Minsk airport along with Mr. Protasevich under “groundless and made-up conditions,” the European Humanities University in Vilnius said in a statement demanding her release.

    There was no word Monday morning from the Belarusian authorities on their whereabouts.

    Lawyers seeking to help Mr. Protasevich said he was believed to be in a jail in Minsk operated by the Belarussian intelligence service. The Russian Embassy in Minsk said that Belarus had notified it of Ms. Sapega’s detention.

    https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/05/24/world/belarus-ryanair-protasevich

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  4. No plane should travel from/to Belarus for the next 10 years.

    Yeah, it will be interesting to see if the airline industry has the guts to impose an outright ban against these flights, or if they quietly cave.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  5. I am taking no sides. Russian history (and Bellorussia is Russia, it’s right there in the name) is entirely “meet the new boss same as the old boss”. I see no good guys. Only top dogs and underdogs.

    Did you know that Stalin was sent to the gulags several times by the Czar (one account says seven), while his day job was as an editor for Pravda at the time still a local Georgian newspaper?

    nk (1d9030)

  6. *Belorussia*

    nk (1d9030)

  7. 1.No plane should travel from/to Belarus for the next 10 years.

    What? And defy the blessed conservative commandments of free enterprise and free market capitalism?
    Have you EVER flown Aeroflot???? The stews don’t shave their legs [or arms] and make a wookie pass for a Playboy centerfold.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  8. KGB or Belarus security service agents on board:

    Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary accused Belarus of “state-sponsored piracy,” telling Newstalk radio Monday that he believed Belarusian KGB agents were also on the flight that was carrying 26-year-old Protasevich, who is wanted in Belarus on a variety of charges.

    Similarly, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that secret service agents may have been on the plane, telling Ireland’s RTE that the agents were “clearly linked to the Belarusian regime.”

    “When the plane landed, either five or six people didn’t reboard the plane before it took off again, but only one or two people were actually arrested, so that certainly would suggest that a number of the other people who left the plane were secret service,” he added.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/24/europe/belarus-ryanair-flight-raman-pratasevich-hijacking-intl/index.html

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  9. What? And defy the blessed conservative commandments of free enterprise and free market capitalism?

    They have a free choice. Land in Belarus, or land everywhere else. Are you against choice?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  10. @9. Choice?

    Take a train.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  11. Actions like this need consequences. Strong ones.

    Time123 (69b2fc)

  12. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 5/24/2021 @ 8:54 am

    No plane should travel from/to Belarus for the next 10 years.

    Or over it.

    Unless Roman Protasevich is released.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  13. Trump would applaud.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  14. @13 wondered who would make it about trump

    we have a winner!

    JF (e1156d)

  15. The United States and Italy actually did this at least once, but that was to arrest a real terrorist, and it was done without claiming any phony danger to the plane.

    https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/achille-lauro-hijacking-ends

    On the recommendation of the negotiators, the cruise ship traveled to Port Said. On October 9, the hijackers surrendered to Egyptian authorities and freed the hostages in exchange for a pledge of safe passage to an undisclosed destination.

    The next day–October 10–the four hijackers boarded an EgyptAir Boeing 737 airliner, along with Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Palestine Liberation Front who had participated in the negotiations; a PLO official; and several Egyptians. The 737 took off from Cairo at 4:15 p.m. EST and headed for Tunisia. President Ronald Reagan gave his final order approving the plan to intercept the aircraft, and at 5:30 p.m. EST, F-14 Tomcat fighters located the airliner 80 miles south of Crete.

    Without announcing themselves, the F-14s trailed the airliner as it sought and was denied permission to land at Tunis. After a request to land at the Athens airport was likewise refused, the F-14s turned on their lights and flew wing-to-wing with the airliner. The aircraft was ordered to land at a NATO air base in Sicily, and the pilot complied, touching down at 6:45 p.m. The hijackers were arrested soon after. Abbas and the other Palestinian were released, prompting criticism from the United States, which wanted to investigate their possible involvement in the hijacking.

    On July 10, 1986, an Italian court later convicted three of the terrorists and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 15 to 30 years. Three others, including Mohammed Abbas, were convicted in absentia for masterminding the hijacking and sentenced to life in prison. They received harsher penalties because, unlike the hijackers, who the court found were acting for “patriotic motives,” Abbas and the others conceived the hijacking as a “selfish political act” designed “to weaken the leadership of Yasir Arafat.” The fourth hijacker was a minor who was tried and convicted separately.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  16. Italian and US personnel faced off on the tarmac of the NATO base when the Italian authorities ordered the PLO members released. Eventually the US backed down.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  17. Of the four convicted Achille Lauro hijackers (who murdered a Jewish American by pushing his wheelchair into the sea), two were released on parole after 5 years (and promptly fled Italy), and the other two were released after about 20 years.

    A great deal of detail here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achille_Lauro_hijacking#Sigonella_crisis

    A standoff occurred when 20 Carabinieri and 30 VAM (Vigilanza Areonautica Militare) contested for control of the plane with the 80 armed operatives of the U.S. Delta Force and SEAL Team Six. These contesting groups were soon surrounded by 300 additional armed Carabinieri (the Italian military police) who had also blocked off the runway with their trucks. The Italian Air Force (VAM) personnel and Carabinieri had already been lining up facing the US special forces soon after the American’s main contingent had arrived by C-141s. Other Carabinieri had been sent from Catania and Syracuse as reinforcement. These events became known as the Sigonella Crisis.

    Stiner and Gormly contacted the Pentagon to inform them of the situation, and this information was passed onto the Reagan Administration. Members of the President’s staff told the Italian government that the US special-operations team intended to arrest the hijackers. The Italians dismissed the Americans’ claim of a right to do so, maintaining that the matter fell within their own jurisdiction due to the ship sailing under an Italian flag.

    A phone call took place between the US President Ronald Reagan and the Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi. Craxi claimed Italian territorial rights over the NATO base.[21] Reagan informed Craxi that the US would seek extradition of the terrorists to face charges in US courts.

    Stiner and his men standing eyeball-to-eyeball with the 300 armed Italians, relayed to the Pentagon “I am not worried about our situation. We have the firepower to prevail. But I am concerned about the immaturity of the Italian troops. … A backfire from a motorbike or a construction cart could precipitate a shooting incident that could lead to a lot of Italian casualties. And I don’t believe that our beef is with our ally, the Italians, but rather with the terrorists.” The American leadership in Washington concluded that while Stiner and his men could take the terrorists it was unlikely they would be able to get them out of Italy. By 4:00 a.m. CET the next day, orders arrived for Stiner and his men to stand down.

    It did not end there, however:

    U.S. Major General Stiner, in command of the American Special Operations Forces at Sigonella, upon learning that the 737 had been cleared by the Italians to proceed to Rome with members of the PLF still onboard, became concerned that there was no guarantee that once airborne it would travel to Rome rather than back to Cairo. He boarded a T-39 Navy executive jet (the North American Sabreliner) with other American Special Operations personnel and planned to shadow the 737. When the Egyptian airliner took off from Sigonella at 10:00 p.m. the T-39 was not granted clearance from that runway. In response the Americans used a runway alongside without receiving Italian permission to do so.

    In response to the unauthorized act by Stiner and the Americans, the Italians sent in two Aeritalia F-104S Starfighter warplanes of the 36° Stormo (Wing) from Gioia del Colle. These were soon joined by two more F-104s from Grazzanise airbase.[15][12] In response to the Italian action, other warplanes (that have never been publicly identified but are assumed to have been American Tomcat F-14s) came up behind the Italian jets.[12] The Italian jets also found their radar jammed above the Tyrrhenian Sea, with the assumption being it was done by a U.S. Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler. National Security Council staffer Michael K. Bohn in the White House Situation Room at the time, later recalled “Pilots on board the US and Italian jets exchanged colorful epithets over the radio about their respective intentions, family heritage, and sexual preferences.” Once the 737 approached Rome, the formation of US Naval fighters, turned back – only the T-39 with U.S. Special Operations Forces continued to the Ciampino airport.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  18. The Achille Lauro mastermind was called Abu (or Abul?) Abbas. Or Abu al-Abbas. He was captured in Iraq in 2003:

    https://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=79522&page=1

    His given name was Mohammed Abbas. He died in I.S. custody in early 2004.

    In the late 1990’s he lived in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled him immune from prosecution for the Achille Lauro hijacking under the Oslo peace accords. The U.S. Department of Justice held that the Oslo accords did not apply to events that happened in a third country. He moved to Iraq about 2000.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  19. Trump would applaud.

    Dont forget, he probably got the pilots to screw with Mike Pence’s plane landing at LaGuardia once it got out Pence was thinking of bailing on the ticket.

    urbanleftbehind (ef8c2a)

  20. 13.Trump would applaud.

    Trump would helicopter.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  21. I’ll bet Putin is envious of Lukashenko. All Putin did was poison a dissident on a plane.

    Paul Montagu (a05eda)

  22. JF (e1156d) — 5/24/2021 @ 11:22 am

    I know. This is getting ridiculous. Move over Godwin’s law, make way for Trump.

    felipe (484255)

  23. “I am not worried about our situation. We have the firepower to prevail. But I am concerned about the immaturity of the Italian troops.”

    Old World War II era joke: Did you hear the U.S. Army just acquired some surplus Italian Army rifles? Never been fired, and only dropped once.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  24. JVW (ee64e4) — 5/24/2021 @ 1:02 pm

    Heh! Funny every time I hear it. Here’s mine:

    Did you hear that the Spanish have a new fleet of ships?

    The new ships were built with glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can look at the old Spanish navy!

    felipe (484255)

  25. EU agrees sanctions on Belarus after forced landing of Ryanair flight

    European Union leaders have agreed a set of sanctions against Belarus, including a ban on the use of EU air space and airports after the regime of autocrat Alexander Lukashenko forced the landing of a Ryanair flight to seize a dissident journalist who was aboard.

    …….The EU leaders also decided to sanction individual officials linked to the operation, and called on the International Civil Aviation Organisation to start an investigation into what they see as an unprecedented move and what some have called state terrorism.
    …….
    European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would seek to slap sanctions on individuals involved in the incident, on businesses that finance the Lukashenko regime, and on the aviation sector.

    A draft joint statement proposed by Greece calls on EU airlines to avoid flying through Belarusian airspace, to ban Belarusian airlines from using EU airports, for an investigation and for sanctions on the regime.

    Lithuania, where the flight was destined before a baseless report of a bomb threat forced it to divert to Minsk accompanied by a Belarusian fighter jet, has already banned flights to and from the territory, while Britain’s transport secretary Grant Shapps ordered airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace and revoked the permit of national airline Belavia.
    ………

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  26. 21. Paul Montagu (a05eda) — 5/24/2021 @ 12:44 pm

    I’ll bet Putin is envious of Lukashenko. All Putin did was poison a dissident on a plane.

    You don’t think Putin and his intelligence agency came up with idea?

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  27. Joachim von Ribbentropp, who would later go on to sign the infamous Nazi-Soviet Pact, was ambassador to Britain before he became Germany’s foreign minister. In a 1937 conversation with Winston Churchill, Ribbentropp supposedly said: “Remember, Mr. Churchill, if there is a war, we will have the Italians on our side this time.”

    Churchill is said to have replied, “My dear Ambassador, it’s only fair. We had them last time.”

    Dave (1542be)

  28. Credit where credit is due; Lukashenko made Trump’s election playbook work:

    Lukashenko on Monday doubled down on his crackdown on dissent, banning livestreaming protests and publishing opinion polls that aren’t officially sanctioned.

    Belarus’s heavy-handed ruler since 1994, he has waged a campaign of violence and repression for months. In August elections, he arrested most of his opponents and then, according to Western observers, falsified results to produce a crushing victory against the lone remaining candidate. Protasevich became an enemy for helping to organize protests against the widely doubted win.

    Dave (1542be)

  29. Churchill is said to have replied, “My dear Ambassador, it’s only fair. We had them last time.”

    I love it. I know there are a lot of apocryphal stories where Churchill is concerned, but I want so badly to believe this one that I won’t even try to fact check it.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  30. You don’t think Putin and his intelligence agency came up with idea?

    I didn’t say that, Sammy. I’m sure Putin and his people have brain-stormed lots of things, but Lukashenko acted.

    Paul Montagu (a05eda)

  31. @28: every accusation is a confession

    i’ll bet protasevich’s protests were called an insurrection

    JF (e1156d)

  32. Mexico has offered asylum to Julian Assange. The air route from London to Mexico City overflies northern Florida. There’s a U.S. warrant out for Assange. Would it be legal to make the Aeromexico of British Airways plane land in Orlando to have him arrested? What if the FBI took him to Disney World before they took him to jail?

    nk (1d9030)

  33. What if the FBI took him to Disney World before they took him to jail?

    [Insert Eighth Amendment joke here.]

    JVW (ee64e4)

  34. Yeah, it will be interesting to see if the airline industry has the guts to impose an outright ban against these flights, or if they quietly cave.

    JVW (ee64e4) — 5/24/2021 @ 9:24 am

    Belarus doesn’t have the means to pay off the major western powers to look the other way.

    China’s punishment for Tiananmen was the US outsourcing large chunks of its manufacturing to the country for the next 20 years, providing it with Most Favored Nation trading status, and selling military tech that it’s now turning against us.

    Belarus is a remnant of the Russian empire with no other foreign sponsors.

    Factory Working Orphan (f916e7)

  35. The outrage really is from the travel and tourism industries. Governments don’t want criminals with outstanding warrants crossing their country with impunity by plane any more than by car or train. Note that Greece is at the forefront of the protest. Because tourism is their bread and butter.

    nk (1d9030)

  36. So, to travel to or from Belarus people will have to fly though Russia. Seems a fair penalty.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  37. @32. Would it be legal to make the Aeromexico of British Airways plane land in Orlando to have him arrested? What if the FBI took him to Disney World before they took him to jail?

    Why fly? There’s always the Steamboat, Willie. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  38. Belarusian Government Hijacks Airliner to Arrest Opposition Leader

    ‘Course, there was an alternative 😉 :

    Cheney Gave Order to Shoot Down Jets

    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-jun-18-na-cheney18-story.htm

    ‘WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney was huddled with top U.S. officials in a bunker below the White House on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when a military aide told him that a hijacked aircraft [full of U.S. citizens] was 80 miles from Washington and closing in fast. The aide needed to know: Did Cheney want to give warplanes scrambled over Washington orders to shoot it down?

    Cheney did not hesitate. He authorized fighter aircraft “to engage the inbound plane.”’

    “So?” – Darth Cheney

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  39. Dave (1542be) — 5/24/2021 @ 3:16 pm

    Credit where credit is due; Lukashenko made Trump’s election playbook work:

    No, what he did is like what Trump accused the Democrats of doing.

    Of course, it’s easy to tell the difference between real election cheating and false claims of election cheating.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  40. @DCSCA@38 If they could have shot down the planes and saved the world trade center and all the people in it and all the people who were there and who’ve since died from various poisonous airborn particulates, they should’ve done it. When a jet is turned into a huge missile you destroy it, even if it’s full of hostages.

    Nic (896fdf)

  41. Now that’s some cold, sober thinking, Nic. I agree.

    Can I send a prospective significant other to you for finishing school? :)

    norcal (ad7fce)

  42. Timothy Snyder:

    Violence and the lie work together. Violence was needed to confirm the lie that Lukashenko won the elections. And then the lie is needed to confirm that violence was justified. Tens of thousands of people have been detained in Belarus, many of them tortured in custody. Even against this background, reporters have been a special target. The hijacking of a plane to arrest one reporter comes amidst arrests and imprisonments of many others. In every case, the supposed offense is truthful reporting.

    Snyder noted another thing: The flight was from one EU country to another. And this:

    Russia does not seem to be upset that Belarus has arrested one of its citizens in a bizarre, unprecedented and highly unlawful way, which suggests prior knowledge. A complicated abduction operation such as this one would be more likely to succeed with the help of Russian intelligence. It seems unlikely that the Belarusian regime, now very dependent upon Russia, would have committed such a spectacular international crime without Russian approval.

    It is worth asking whether the whole initiative was a Russian idea. NEXTA’s coverage of Belarus was a problem for the Putin regime, which fears clean elections, protest, reporting — and above all reporting about protests for clean elections. Another Russian interest is not hard to see: when the EU predictably sanctions Belarus for this infamy, then Minsk will have no choice but to move even further towards Moscow. The only way to defeat that logic is to consider whether Russia is co-responsible, and punish Russia if so.

    Paul Montagu (a05eda)

  43. @norcal@41 Kicking puppies is no fun. 😛

    Nic (896fdf)

  44. Is rookie mistake to overfly country where marked for death.

    Many reason for plane land even without help from KGB.

    If comrade hooligan connect through Berlin save many trouble and avoid reach room temperature at young age.

    Dave (1542be)

  45. @38. Except, as the article notes, the aircraft was headed for Washington and the evacuated buildings, Nic, not the already burning WTC in NYC.

    But hey, a Cheney’s gotta darth, eh, Nic. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  46. ^40.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  47. Flight 93 would not have reached its target, even if the passengers didn’t revolt. And they probably knew that, too.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  48. @DCSCA When a jet is turned into a huge missile you down it, even if it is full of hostages.

    Nic (896fdf)

  49. If comrade hooligan connect through Berlin save many trouble and avoid reach room temperature at young age.

    Yeah, but he had silver status on Ryanair which entitled him to a free drink and a 25% bonus in frequent flier miles.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  50. @43 :) Well done. I set myself up for that one.

    norcal (ad7fce)

  51. Is normal tourist visit to Belarus, comrades.

    nk (1d9030)

  52. And, seriously, how much help from the Russians would the Belarusian KGB have needed? Anyone who knew Protasevich’s itinerary could have made a phone call.

    nk (1d9030)

  53. Like they say on TV: The police can make many mistakes; the criminal only needs to make one.

    nk (1d9030)

  54. Is normal tourist visit to Belarus, comrades.

    TASS now report was pro-democracy operatives who bring down plane to discredit government.

    Inner Party comrades was know all along.

    Dave (1542be)

  55. As for certain comrades who don’t know the rules of engagement for airplanes off their flight paths approaching Washington DC, or Moscow for that matter, they should read up on them. Starting with the ABM Treaty of 1972.

    nk (1d9030)

  56. The kidnapped journalist has issued a confession, probably assisted by rubber

    Well, Belarus is a poor country. They probably can’t afford to do it by nine months in pre-trial detention without bail and a plea bargain to one-fourth (or less) of the maximum statutory sentence like we can.

    nk (1d9030)

  57. nk, Are you saying you’d like to see bails set lower and easier to get?

    Time123 (cd2ff4)

  58. I’d like cash deposit bail (as opposed to a recognizance bond) to be the exception, with the primary determination whether to grant pre-trial release at all being based on danger to society and flight risk, and a cash deposit being the smallest factor in making that determination.

    Cash bail has really become a racket. In Cook County, for example, you automatically lose 10% of your deposit as the fee the minute you put it up. 12.13% if you use a credit or debit card instead of cash, cashier’s check, or money order. I don’t know what bail bondsmen charge in other places.

    nk (1d9030)

  59. TASS now report was pro-democracy operatives who bring down plane to discredit government.

    It’s more likely than not that it was his own “friends” who betrayed him to the authorities. To eliminate him as a rival while holding him up as a martyr. It’s the Russian way.

    nk (1d9030)

  60. And, seriously, how much help from the Russians would the Belarusian KGB have needed? Anyone who knew Protasevich’s itinerary could have made a phone call.

    But interestingly, the plane was intercepted after it had begun preparations to land in Vilnius, and (from the looks of the flight paths I’ve seen) when it was minutes (or less) from leaving Belorussian airspace.

    If it was planned ahead of time, why not conduct a leisurely interception when the plane was deep inside Belorussia, during the 1+ hours it spent there, instead of waiting until literally the last minute.

    It’s hard to believe the Belorussian MiG would have shot down a jet with filled with passengers or violated the airspace of a NATO country to pursue it.

    Seems to me the RyanAir flight crew screwed the pooch by not getting across the border ASAP.

    To eliminate him as a rival while holding him up as a martyr. It’s the Russian way.

    “Purge him before he purges you” is the pithy aphorism.

    Dave (1542be)

  61. “Koba, why do you need my death?”

    nk (1d9030)

  62. one-fourth (or less) of the maximum statutory sentence

    What’s one-fourth of “death”?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  63. The problem with these “no overflight” rules is that Russia commands quite a big portion of the polar routes, should they want to get into that game.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  64. It’s hard to believe the Belorussian MiG would have shot down a jet with filled with passengers or violated the airspace of a NATO country to pursue it.
    It’s not. The Russians (and there isn’t any real difference between Belarus and Russia, one is the puppet and the other is the master) have done it twice: In 1983 to Korean Air Lines Flight 007; and in 2014 to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  65. @48. “The target is destroyed,” eh, Nic?!

    See KAL-007 for details. 😉

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007

    “Oops!” – Rick Perry, 2011

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  66. What’s one-fourth of “death”?

    Sixteen-and-a-half years or so. The minimum sentence for first degree murder, 20 years, minus good time. (They keep changing the “truth-in-sentencing” good time.)

    nk (1d9030)

  67. Either he’ll fall to his death from a top of the prison window while trying to escape or he’ll accidentally poison himself by ingesting polonium.

    https://www.npr.org/2018/04/21/604497554/why-do-russian-journalists-keep-falling

    steveg (ebe7c1)

  68. Forgot to say if he survives first fall, despite quadriplegia suffered in the previous accident he nevertheless climbed out of his top floor hospital bed and plunged through the atrium.
    The four husky National Security agents tasked with watching the room were all whisked away from the hospital by ambulances and were rumored to be suffering from PTSD. Questions as to why they were not treated at the hospital they were already in were declined citing the private nature of medical information

    steveg (ebe7c1)

  69. “I am taking no sides. Russian history (and Bellorussia is Russia, it’s right there in the name) is entirely “meet the new boss same as the old boss”. I see no good guys. Only top dogs and underdogs.

    Sensibility? From nk? How could this be possible? What could have prompted this 180-dregree turnaround from his usual RUSSIA BAD PUTINS PUPPET routine? Oh wait:

    Jake Hanrahan
    @Jake_Hanrahan
    Replying to
    @Jake_Hanrahan
    People screaming at me and others for 24 hours online for daring to point out that yes the kidnapped NEXTA lad was closely linked with Azov (not that that at all condones Belarus’ crimes). Got called a liar. Ok. Here he is as part of an Azov military parade. Fourth from right.

    Oh, he has PROBLEMATIC CONNECTIONS. What a relief! I was almost entertaining delusions that nk had actually repented of his past cringe! Nevertheless, I do want to warn you that this is, in fact, a sign that nk is now a possible disinformatzya agent:

    David Hines
    @hradzka
    between this and Navalny, I wonder if this is a new strategy for Russia and aligned

    use methods you know people will object to… against a target with hard righty connections

    action brings initial freakout, then the news drops & the freakers-out hem, haw, look at their shoes

    A statesman might use this for leverage, a defender might ask whether the connections were relevant, a troll might ask what the difference between Azov and Al Qaeda is and whether the Khashoggi exception applies (Answer: depends on whether the Qatar checks clear.)

    As much as I’d like to have fun claiming that they’re Russian agents, it’s more important to remember that nk and Pat are simply LIBERALS: suddenly morphing into Russia Realpolitik Rod and claiming that lab leaking was always the sensible position, after all I fought so hard for it is nothing more than them trying to walk back their previously deranged associations to fit with conventional opinion. It’s a lot of things! But ‘principled’ is not one of them.

    All in all, it’s quite gratifying to know that somehow, Trump’s realpolitik Russia and China-suspicious positions were always right, even (and especially) ‘without evidence’.

    Good Times Chum (973149)

  70. So this might very well have been all Putin and not Lukashenko after all because Protasevich has been a pain to Putin broadly, opposing his komitaji in the Ukraine as well as his puppets in Belarus. Hmm.

    Makes more sense, actually. Lukashenko probably does not go to the bathroom without a directive from Putin.

    nk (1d9030)

  71. There were 3 people aboard the plane (besides the two people arrested) who did not get back aboard the plane to continue to Vilnius. One was a Greek who said his intention all along was to visit his wife in Belorussia, but the plane didn’t stop there. but the other two are thought to be Belorussian KGB agents (it’s still called the KGB in Belorussia.)

    One mystery is why they waited until the plane was about to exit Belorussian airspace.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)


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