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Belarus accused of ‘hijacking’ Ryanair flight diverted to arrest blogger

DWG

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TLDR: Belarus ordered a Ryanair flight from Athens to Lithunia to land because of an alleged bomb threat. The real reason was to arrest a Belarussian dissident on board. There's going to be hell to pay.
 

Bounce

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Hate to say it but nothing will come of this, nothing ever does... It's pretty damn sad.
 

jeffb

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They're just copying what the US did when they forced down the President of Bolivia's jet.


That link didn't really seem to work so here's CNN's:
 
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Archibald

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France did that in the Algerian war, looking for a FLN leader. And from memory, Israel did that chasing a palestinian terrorist leader, too (George Habbache or whatever the name of that criminal was). In both cases it failed to catch the target and backfired quite badly diplomatically.

The Israelis also shot down an Egyptian 727 in the early 70's while France nearly killed Leonid Brezhnev (!!) returning from Africa, during the Algerian war, scaring the hell of his Il-18 with Vautours chasing it - luckily Leonid wasn't yet leader of USSR, it was in Mister K. days circa 1961 (@Michel Van made an alt-history over this at AH.com a while back).

So it is a rather risky business when it goes wrong...

Basically it is a complete shame because it amounts to taking an airline, its crew, and its passengers "hostage" of politics - even more when the said politics are those of a nut madman like that SOB Lukashenko (am I allowed to write SOB as long as I don't write the full expression behind the accronym ?)

That's quite ugly indeed, but at least they didn't blasted the aircraft from the sky and killed everybody onboard - the next step in horror.
 
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DWG

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Orionblamblam

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They're just copying what the US did when they forced down the President of Bolivia's jet.


That story does not seem to be even close to your summary. What the story says:
1) A rumor floated about that the Bolivian presidents plane had Snowden aboard. Who started the rumor? Not explained.
2) The plane was in the EU. Various EU nations refused to allow the plane to land, refuel or fly over without disclosing a full passenger manifest.
3) No indications in that story that the US was anywhere involved; the US certainly did not send up a fighter plane to force the transport down as seems to have been the case in Belarus.
 

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Let's hope they are still both alive, him and his girlfriend.

The most concerning part is that they tricked the pilots in order to have them land inside Belarus, at an airport farther than they were flying at the time. This kind of action damage the confidence any crew must have with an ATC and could possibly delays critically their response time in the future.
Considering that the plane had to make an emergency descent from cruise altitude to under 10000ft to reduce the risk of an explosive decompression (something not really passenger friendly - think at all the trauma induced (psychological and physiological (sinus, inner ear...))), the safety of the passengers was inappropriately put at risk.

Clearly, Belarus don't fit EASA requirements anymore and passengers should be allowed to seek reparations.

So sad that the amount of those are capped so low per regulation. If the Belorussian regime had to face a plausible 500+Million dollars bill before taking actions, it's probable that the plane would have had enough time to cross the Lithuanian border.
 
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jeffb

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They're just copying what the US did when they forced down the President of Bolivia's jet.


That story does not seem to be even close to your summary. What the story says:
1) A rumor floated about that the Bolivian presidents plane had Snowden aboard. Who started the rumor? Not explained.
2) The plane was in the EU. Various EU nations refused to allow the plane to land, refuel or fly over without disclosing a full passenger manifest.
3) No indications in that story that the US was anywhere involved; the US certainly did not send up a fighter plane to force the transport down as seems to have been the case in Belarus.

Various EU nations suddenly refused to allow over flight unless the Bolivian President's aircraft land and consent to a search (disclose a full passenger manifest). Airspaces were closed in succession until the aircraft was forced to land in Austria. Once there the authorities refused to let it leave until they were allowed to physically search it (after 14 hours).

That's extraordinary.

But if it is, as you suggest, a regular occurrence and nothing out of the ordinary, I'll look forward to someone trying it on with airforce one or any one of a dozen other western leaders diplomatic transports.

Was the US involved in the closure of the airspaces? Given that the searches were obviously intended to confirm whether Edward Snowden was aboard after rumours were circulated that he was, and Snowden isn't wanted for any crimes in any of the countries that magically closed their airspaces to a Presidential transport, who else but the US would have the desire or the diplomatic clout to arrange such an occurrence?

Cui bono? Who stood to gain from grounding an aircraft that was rumoured to be transporting a US political dissident?
 

kaiserbill

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Politics.
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The Third Rule:

"Political, religious and nationalistic posts are discouraged."

It was made one of the most important rules for good reason. It will lead to a host of other rules being broken.
 
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Orionblamblam

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Cui bono? Who stood to gain from grounding an aircraft that was rumoured to be transporting a US political dissident?

Where's your evidence that the US forced these nations to do this? The evidence that Belarus sent a fighter to "escort" a jetliner seems pretty clear.

It could be that the US strongarmed these countries. It could be the US just asked. It could be that these countries did it on their own hoping to curry favor with the US. And it could be they did it just on general principle. If you wish to state flatly that the US "forced" the plane down, you'll have to provide more evidence than is given in the linked article.
 

jeffb

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Cui bono? Who stood to gain from grounding an aircraft that was rumoured to be transporting a US political dissident?

Where's your evidence that the US forced these nations to do this? The evidence that Belarus sent a fighter to "escort" a jetliner seems pretty clear.

It could be that the US strongarmed these countries. It could be the US just asked. It could be that these countries did it on their own hoping to curry favor with the US. And it could be they did it just on general principle. If you wish to state flatly that the US "forced" the plane down, you'll have to provide more evidence than is given in the linked article.

No, I don't. If you'd like to argue that what occurred here wasn't instigated and orchestrated by the United States when the only clear beneficiary of the action was the United States, then I think the onus is on you to demonstrate how that could possibly be.

Most reasonable people are willing to accept that if it walks and talks like a duck, it's almost certainly a duck. If someone then claims it isn't a duck, the onus is really on them to provide compelling evidence to support that case.
 

Orionblamblam

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Cui bono? Who stood to gain from grounding an aircraft that was rumoured to be transporting a US political dissident?

Where's your evidence that the US forced these nations to do this? The evidence that Belarus sent a fighter to "escort" a jetliner seems pretty clear.

It could be that the US strongarmed these countries. It could be the US just asked. It could be that these countries did it on their own hoping to curry favor with the US. And it could be they did it just on general principle. If you wish to state flatly that the US "forced" the plane down, you'll have to provide more evidence than is given in the linked article.

No, I don't. If you'd like to argue that what occurred here wasn't instigated and orchestrated by the United States when the only clear beneficiary of the action was the United States, then I think the onus is on you to demonstrate how that could possibly be.

Most reasonable people are willing to accept that if it walks and talks like a duck, it's almost certainly a duck. If someone then claims it isn't a duck, the onus is really on them to provide compelling evidence to support that case.
Guilty until proven innocent. And probably even then.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Politics.
Unwanted on this forum.

The Third Rule:

"Political, religious and nationalistic posts are discouraged."

It was made one of the most important rules for good reason. It will lead to a host of other rules being broken.
Agreed. It is however news related to aviation, so the story itself is potentially of interest, but veering off into politics and whataboutery is unhelpful.
 

Trident

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Please don't make the mistake of equating Western democracies with banana republics.

Agree in general, but it would help the cause if they didn't behave like banana republics on occasion. The best defence against whataboutism has always been not to give your opponent this kind of ammunition in the first place. While even then it doesn't exonerate any other country doing the same nonsense of course, it can be seen as emboldening them to emulate. "Do as I say, not as I do", apart from being morally questionable, has a habit of leading to unintended (and uncomfortable) consequences.

More specifically on topic: the EU is to close its airspace to Belarusian operators, which will be a SERIOUS problem for them far beyond the loss of lucrative destinations inside the bloc (look at a map). Alas, as always, it will be the average citizen rather than the ruling elite who suffers most from these sanctions.
 

Trident

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Cancelling Nord Stream 2 is something that should have been considered more seriously in the past, for example as a response to Navalny's poisoning or his arrest on return to Russia. It's a very daft move in this instance though, for one there is no indication that Russia had any hand in this whatsoever and, more pertinently, Belarus earns a lot of its income from Russian gas transit fees. Lukashenko would be delighted at the demise of NS2!

The author is just flaunting his ignorance there.
 

jeffb

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Cui bono? Who stood to gain from grounding an aircraft that was rumoured to be transporting a US political dissident?

Where's your evidence that the US forced these nations to do this? The evidence that Belarus sent a fighter to "escort" a jetliner seems pretty clear.

It could be that the US strongarmed these countries. It could be the US just asked. It could be that these countries did it on their own hoping to curry favor with the US. And it could be they did it just on general principle. If you wish to state flatly that the US "forced" the plane down, you'll have to provide more evidence than is given in the linked article.

No, I don't. If you'd like to argue that what occurred here wasn't instigated and orchestrated by the United States when the only clear beneficiary of the action was the United States, then I think the onus is on you to demonstrate how that could possibly be.

Most reasonable people are willing to accept that if it walks and talks like a duck, it's almost certainly a duck. If someone then claims it isn't a duck, the onus is really on them to provide compelling evidence to support that case.
Guilty until proven innocent. And probably even then.
You know, you're right. On re-reading my comments I have to admit that you're completely correct.

There is absolutely no evidence that the US forced the EU nations involved to close their airspaces. It's 'generally accepted', that this is what happened but this version of events has never been directly confirmed or denied by the US govt and while comments made by the Obama administration are suggestive, the actual series of events remains unknown and my posts, completely speculative.

So I apologise for the unnecessary detour.

My original aim was simply to point out, as many have now done, that the tactic of forcing down aircraft to affect the arrest of one or more passengers is not a new development and not just restricted to nation states in the Banana-republic category and that condemnation of Belarus by the EU and US for employing it is somewhat hypocritical.
 

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The aftermath of the 1985 PLF hijacking of the Achille Lauro / the death of Leon Klinghoffer is another case:
US Navy F-14s forced an Egyptair 737 carrying the hijackers to land on Sigonella, Sicily. C-141s landed next unannounced, after that hundreds of Carabinieri and US soldiers in an armed confrontation on Italian soil. Diplomatic mayhem ensued.
 

Orionblamblam

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The aftermath of the 1985 PLF hijacking of the Achille Lauro / the death of Leon Klinghoffer is another case:
US Navy F-14s forced an Egyptair 737 carrying the hijackers to land on Sigonella, Sicily. C-141s landed next unannounced, after that hundreds of Carabinieri and US soldiers in an armed confrontation on Italian soil. Diplomatic mayhem ensued.

Now THERE is an instance of forcing a jetliner down in order to nab someone. Of course, one can argue that there is a bit of a difference between nabbing a blogger, and nabbing genocidal terrorists.
 

Trident

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Now THERE is an instance of forcing a jetliner down in order to nab someone. Of course, one can argue that there is a bit of a difference between nabbing a blogger, and nabbing genocidal terrorists.

On the one hand, absolutely so - on the other hand, it's a clear case of two wrongs not making a right. Consider the precedent it sets, encouraging actors with less respectable motives to follow this now established path - people like one Lukashenko, for instance.

In some ways, the US case is an even more grievous breach of international norms as it violated the sovereignty of another nation (Belarus acted within its own airspace). I bet you the strong Italian reaction was more about this and the precedent than overt disagreement with US views on the PLF members.
 

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Cancelling Nord Stream 2 is something that should have been considered more seriously in the past, for example as a response to Navalny's poisoning or his arrest on return to Russia. It's a very daft move in this instance though, for one there is no indication that Russia had any hand in this whatsoever and, more pertinently, Belarus earns a lot of its income from Russian gas transit fees. Lukashenko would be delighted at the demise of NS2!

The author is just flaunting his ignorance there.

Lukashenko is live-long opportunist, cunning, but not actually smart, whose idea of politics is a constant attempt to sit on two chairs at once. He constantly played Russia against West and West against Russia, making promises to both sides that he have no intentions to ever hold. He promised Russia "more integration" in exchange for money, then promised West "more democracy" in exchange for more money, then turned to Russia like "you see how good friends we are with West? You should gave us more money, or we wen to their side!", then turned to West like "you see how good friends we are with Russia? You should gave us more money, or we went to their side!"

Essentially his only goal is to stay in power personally. That's why he so adamant against long-dragging "Unified State" with Russia. His main power-base in Belarus are currently local Nationalists, who would leave him if he actually integrate with Russia. So he is making a lot of promises, but do little actual work.
 

DWG

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Clearly, Belarus don't fit EASA requirements anymore and passengers should be allowed to seek reparations.

So sad that the amount of those are capped so low per regulation. If the Belorussian regime had to face a plausible 500+Million dollars bill before taking actions, it's probable that the plane would have had enough time to cross the Lithuanian border.

The Montreal and Warsaw Conventions (Belarus is a Warsaw signatory according to Wiki) only apply to air carrier liability*, it would be perfectly feasible for passengers to sue the Belarussian government, though enforcement of any damages award might be difficult.

ETA: And now I think about it, Montreal completely excludes psychological injury, which is what you'd be suing for, so there'd be zero liability if suing under the convention.

* This is why you see people suing aircraft makers and even pilot training organisations instead.
 
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DWG

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Belarus is trying to get its version out there. I'm not convinced they're really helping their case.
 

Orionblamblam

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, it's a clear case of two wrongs not making a right.

Yes, but two Wrights make an airplane, so we circle back to being forum-relevant.

Consider the precedent it sets, encouraging actors with less respectable motives to follow this now established path - people like one Lukashenko, for instance.

Nah, I don't buy it. Remember 15+ years ago when the CIA and the like used waterboarding to convince terrorists to give up information? One of the arguments used against it was "if we do that, then our enemies will feel free to do the same." Yeah... these are people who lop tourists heads off with pocketknives. The US behaving badly doesn't make actually bad people feel anything but amusement over how adorable American hijinks are compared to theirs.
 

Trident

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Yes, but two Wrights make an airplane, so we circle back to being forum-relevant.

:D

The US behaving badly doesn't make actually bad people feel anything but amusement over how adorable American hijinks are compared to theirs.

Well sure, pariah's gonna pariah, obviously. Isolated dictatorships (or even non-state actors) are not going to alter their ways, or stop short simply because the US never did a certain thing, due to lack of a sufficient downside incentive. However, you wouldn't have to contrivedly explain away your own behaviour in response to whataboutism when you rightfully press sanctions. And some more prominent and diplomatically connected players like Russia and China might well be influenced in what they perceive as their solution space. There are too many examples of tit-for-tat responses to perceived and actual US transgressions in their foreign policy to ignore.
 
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TomcatViP

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Clearly, Belarus don't fit EASA requirements anymore and passengers should be allowed to seek reparations.

So sad that the amount of those are capped so low per regulation. If the Belorussian regime had to face a plausible 500+Million dollars bill before taking actions, it's probable that the plane would have had enough time to cross the Lithuanian border.

The Montreal and Warsaw Conventions (Belarus is a Warsaw signatory according to Wiki) only apply to air carrier liability*, it would be perfectly feasible for passengers to sue the Belarussian government, though enforcement of any damages award might be difficult.

ETA: And now I think about it, Montreal completely excludes psychological injury, which is what you'd be suing for, so there'd be zero liability if suing under the convention.

* This is why you see people suing aircraft makers and even pilot training organisations instead.
Being deceived purposely into thinking your plane is about to blow-up should be strong enough for a litigation since there is an intend of deception by a state authority.
Montreal convention deals with air-disasters and the responsibilities of a carrier. This is slightly different. Nobody will go after Ryanair for what happened there.
However the plane overflying at that time the Belarusian territory, it would first have to be in Belarussia if the case is brought against individuals or corporations and at the European level otherwise. But I am nothing of a lawyer. So this is only my understanding of the process.

Moreover we have here a significant infringement of regulations that was recognized by the the Easa and ICAO. There should be enough to back a complaint
 

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Poland could bring a claim against Belarus for violating the Chicago Convention before ICAO and probably be awarded full reparations - maybe monetary compensation for the passengers but more importantly the release of Protasevich and Sapega.

Not sure I see any way individual passengers could realistically sue Belarus in this situation.
 

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Russia has blocked Air France and Austrian flights from landing in Moscow, but allowed other European flights, so the headline is a bit selective. Further down in the article, and apparently its original subject before the Russian idiocy, the ICAO has launched an investigation and there are predictions Belarus will be expelled, which will make it difficult for it to fly anywhere.
 
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