Saturday 31st of July 2021

memory lapse...

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US President Joe Biden and the EU heads of state and government strongly condemned the arrest of journalist Raman Pratassevich in Belarus.

The Ryanair aircraft, passing through Belarusian airspace while transporting him from Greece to Lithuania on 23 May 2021, was grounded in Minsk after a false bomb threat. The journalist was then arrested for inciting anti-government protests last year.

In its statement, the European Union “calls on the International Civil Aviation Organization to urgently investigate this unprecedented and unacceptable incident” and announces the adoption of new sanctions against Belarusian officials and to isolate the country.

Yet, on 3 July 2013, the European Union had forced Bolivia’s presidential plane, with sitting president Evo Morales on board, to land in Vienna (Austria) or risk being shot down. The EU intended to search it and arrest Edward Snowden, whom the United States believed to be inside. Therefore, this type of incident is hardly “unprecedented and unacceptable” as far as the EU is concerned.

At the time, the Vice President of the United States was Joe Biden, now President. He had personally threatened various states willing to harbor “whistleblower” Edward Snowden. The spokesperson for the US Secretary of State was Jen Psaki, currently serving as White House spokeswoman. She had defended the right of the United States to arrest and condemn "this traitor". When asked about the two incidents, she could no longer remember.

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article213197.html

 

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The parents of detained journalist Pratasevich also urged the international community to help free their son.

"I want you to hear my cry, the cry of my soul. So that you understand how difficult it is for us now and how much we are experiencing this situation,'' Natalia Pratasevich, the reporter's mother, said at a news conference in Poland. "I am begging you, help me free my son.''

 

Kremlin is 'not in charge of controlling air traffic'

 

Meanwhile, Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov sidestepped the question of canceling flights by European air carriers. 

"The presidential administration is not in charge of controlling air traffic. We recommend you to address this question to our aviation authorities," Peskov told journalists according to Interfax.

Belavia cancels international flights

Meanwhile, Belarusian national carrier Belavia cancelled flights to eight countries on Thursday. Belavia announced the cancellations were "due to flight bans from a number of countries," after neighboring Poland joined a growing list of territories that have barred its overflights. 

"We regret that our passengers have to face this situation for reasons beyond the airline's control," Belavia said as it scrapped flights to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hanover, Kaliningrad, Milan, Munich, Rome, Vienna and Warsaw until Oct. 30.

 

Read more:

https://www.dw.com/en/russia-prohibits-austrian-airlines-flight-to-arrive-without-entering-belarusian-airspace/a-57690737

 

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a neo-nazi...

 

By Paul Robinson

 

Should the murky past of an activist standing up against a dictatorial government be ignored for the sake of winning a PR war? Some believe so, but the case of Roman Protasevich shows the risky consequences of ignoring the truth.  

It’s probably safe to say that before this week almost nobody in the West had heard of Belarusian opposition activist Roman Protasevich, the editor of a Telegram channel banned by officials in his native country. On Sunday, however, all that changed.

 

Protasevich became an international cause celebre after the passenger jet he was traveling on from Greece to Lithuania was diverted to the Belarusian capital Minsk, and he and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, were arrested on the tarmac.

With fame comes attention. It wasn’t long before critics threw a spotlight on Protasevich’s past, casting doubt on his credentials as a hero of liberal democracy. Instead of championing Western values, they said, the activist is a neo-Nazi groupie, who had had fought with the notorious Azov Battalion in Ukraine.

Proof of the Belarusian’s service with the far-right-led militia was soon made available, with photographs circulating online, as well as statements by both his father and the regiment’s one-time commander Andrei Biletsky. Questions remain as to whether Protasevich served in the outfit’s propaganda department or as a front-line fighter, but his association with the regiment is no longer in doubt. Meanwhile, pictures have emerged of him wearing a T-shirt with neo-Nazi insignia, as well as stories of his involvement with Belarusian nationalist militia.

But does any of it matter? Lots of people do stupid things in their youth, but then move on. What matters is what Protasevich is doing now. Why drag up all of his past baggage?

These are not unreasonable questions. It is fair to wonder why Protasevich’s far-right connections have any relevance to his arrest and the diversion of a civilian airliner.

Fundamentally, the charges leveled by the Belarusian state against Protasevich have nothing to do with his links to the far-right. Instead, they concern his work organizing anti-government protests in Belarus. If it could be shown that, in the process of doing this, the activist propagated far-right views, then his background might indeed be relevant. But if all he was doing was mobilizing opposition to what many believe was a fraudulent election, then his dubious past is neither here nor there. He was engaged in legitimate democratic activity and should be set free.

Second, his political views have no bearing on the legal status of Belarus’ action in diverting his aircraft. Either it’s legal to ground a passenger jet to arrest a wanted man or it isn’t – the political opinions of the passengers are irrelevant.

And third, bringing up those opinions may be seen as an attempt to excuse an illegal act by simply changing the conversation.

Mention of Protasevich’s fascist links deflects the conversation from the abusive nature of the Belarusian regime to the alleged sins of its opponent. The victim becomes the offender. It could be argued that participating in that game is a gift to the authorities, and that discussion of anything that detracts from resolving the humanitarian crisis in the country should be avoided.

These are all fair arguments. But they aren’t the full story.

For starters, it is fair to say that media reporting should be accurate and complete. Describing Protasevich as a “journalist” or “reporter,” and painting him as a democratic activist, without mentioning his far-right connections, deprives readers of understanding the full picture. People may get an entirely wrong impression of who he is – simply because editors think the public can only deal in terms of heroes and villains.

Second, the moment that somebody engages in political activity, their past is effectively fair game. The essence of democracy is accountability, which, in turn, requires full disclosure of facts and that all those engaged in politics account for their past activities. Protasevich cannot claim a right to privacy for the mistakes of his youth.

Third, facts shouldn’t be suppressed just because they are politically inconvenient. Democratic principles rule out the notion that uncomfortable truths should be locked away in a cabinet, only to be let out when it’s safe for the public to know them. Once we head down that path, any pretense of democratic freedom goes out the window. People deserve to know the truth.

Beyond that, this case also raises some important questions concerning the types of people that Western states and political activists hold up as their champions. In an article for Politico, journalist Leonid Ragozin argued that Protasevich was exactly the sort of person that the West should be supporting in order to promote democratic change in countries such as Belarus, insisting that states should “provide people like them with safe havens and opportunities to do their work in the EU.”

According to Ragozin, “by embracing the healthy part of society in both countries and working together with people like Protasevich and Navalny to build a common European future, the EU will do more to bring about the end of dictatorships than any number of sanctions can ever offer.”

But is it really fair to call somebody with Protasevich’s far-right connections “the healthy part of society”? Most people would probably think not. But if society at large doesn’t know about the activist’s past history, the absurdity of Ragozin’s proposal wouldn’t be as obvious. Suppressing the truth, in other words, can have dangerous consequences – in this case, committing to supporting “healthy” parts of society which look far sicker than they should.

It’s often said that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend.’ But this isn’t true in every case, and the promotion of extremists can have highly negative consequences. Ukraine is a prime example of this sad reality. The pro-Western revolutionaries who overthrew president Viktor Yanukovich in 2014 did so with the support of far-right groups, despite championing a more liberal stance themselves. Both they and their Western backers pretended that the neo-Nazis didn’t exist, or if they did, assumed they weren’t a problem. But others did notice them, and their presence helped to delegitimize the new government and sparked rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

This all shows that you ignore unpleasant truths only at your peril. Protasevich’s murky past is irrelevant to the rights and wrongs of his arrest, and it may indeed deflect attention from the misdeeds of the Belarusian state. But that doesn’t mean that we should act as if that past doesn’t exist – people deserve to hear the full story. Fair reporting requires one to tell the truth – the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – not only the bits of it that suit the agenda.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/russia/525032-protasevich-arrest-neo-nazi-links/

 

 

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Why get our information from Russian state sanctioned news outlet? Say, the Western media often leave out the details of the beast, a situation designed to allow for emotional outrage rather that knowledge of facts. The Russian state sanctioned outlets do not have to dig deep to find historians and journalists with greater knowledge of facts than the gutter Western media. These Historians and journalists would not get published in the rubbish Western media because their views and knowledge runs contrary to the main stream narrative in which hypocrisy is the soup of day, daily. 

Is Roman Protasevich a neo-Nazi? Most likely, but he must be our friend because he is against the Russian supported government of Belarus and we (the Western governments) are trying to destroy this relationship which has provided Belarus with a stable cohesion which we hate in our capitalistic energised sewer brains because of "freedom" to be stupid and greedy — while engrossing ourselves on Americanalmuck fast food and fizzies.

 

assange is still in prison...

 

by 

 

The blogger Roman Protasevich snatched out of the air by Belarus authorities seems to have heavy-hitting Western friends. The US president and European leaders have condemned his arrest and are demanding his release. 

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, has denounced Belarus for ordering the landing of an airliner in Minsk and taking Protasevich into custody. 

“We will put pressure on the regime until it finally respects the freedom of media, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of opinion,” declared Von der Leyen as the European Union imposed a new round of sanctions on Belarus.

US President Joe Biden said the incident was “a direct affront to international norms”. His Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was a “shocking” violation of aviation rules and the rights of journalists. 

 

Aside from the hypocrisy here (recall the US ordered several EU countries to force the landing of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane in 2013), there are other nuances. 

Protasevich may be a blogger and journalist in name. But he was wanted by the Belarus government for allegedly inciting sedition through a media channel he set up from exile in Poland. Requests from Belarus for his extradition were ignored. It is arguable therefore that the Belarus authorities had legal right to ground the plane he was aboard as it transited the nation’s sovereign airspace en route from Greece to Lithuania at the weekend. 

The 26-year-old Protasevich has had a checkered and dubiously awarded career. As a graduate student of journalism in Belarus, he was made a Vaclav Havel Fellow in 2017-18, awarded by the US government-funded propaganda service, Radio Free Europe. RFE has a long history of being a CIA front which goes back to the Cold War against the Soviet Union. 

He went into exile in 2019 working from Poland on creating opposition media campaigns against the Belarus government. Then in 2020, Protasevich was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. 

It seems plausible that the young Belarusian activist, like several others among his peers, was groomed to perform as a conduit for foreign powers to interfere in and destabilize Belarus. Long-time President Alexander Lukashenko is a target for Western regime change owing to his country’s close relations with neighboring Russia. 

When Lukashenko won re-election in August 2020, the West decried a rigged ballot, and street protests kicked in. The Western-supported opposition media channels run by Protasevich and other exiled Belarusians were instrumental in fomenting the anti-government demonstrations.

Lukashenko’s government has been accused of using heavy-handed repression and mass arrests. 

However, Belarus seems to have legitimate concerns that it was being targeted for a color-style revolution. That is, for illegal regime change by Western powers. 

It does seem suspicious that Western media coverage of Protasevich’s arrest went promptly ballistic with condemnations. Radio Free Europe, his alma mater, devoted several articles to the story. 

There are also more sinister aspects to Protasevich’s busy career. According to Ukrainian and Russian media reports, he was seconded on communications work in Ukraine’s civil war where he was befriended by far-right leaders of the Maidan movement, the CIA-backed group which carried out the coup d’état in Kiev in 2014. Protasevich reportedly did communications for the Azov Battalion, the notorious Neo-Nazi militant group which has terrorized the ethnic Russian population in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine. 

It is not clear at this stage if Belarus violated international aviation rules when it ordered the airliner to make a detour landing in Minsk whereupon Protasevich was apprehended. The so-called Chicago Convention affords countries sovereignty over their national airspaces. 

In any case, American and European states have set huge precedents for such an irregular intervention from their past “hijacking” of the Bolivian president’s private jet, as well as from countless cases of “extraordinary rendition” flights by the Americans with European complicity in secret transport of “terror suspects”. 

But what seems clear is that the case of Protasevich is not simply that of an innocent opposition journalist, as the West is sanctimoniously making out. He and his alumni of Radio Free Europe have a case to answer over allegations of working for foreign powers to destabilize their native country. 

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202105251082992744-flying-high-for-foreign-powers/

 

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fake news that Is true...

...

II. Roman Protassevich at Azov?

Different information (re) appeared in the Belarusian and Russian media after the arrest of Roman Protassevich. They indicated that he accompanied the infamous Azov Battalion to Ukraine in 2014/2015.

Without the slightest coverage in the Western media, we first thought of fake news. However, in the meantime, various elements have come to corroborate these assertions.

 

2-1 Ukrainian Azov Battalion

Before expanding on the available information, let us briefly recall what the Azov Battalion is.

As early as June 2014, in this article linked to our coverage of the Ukrainian conflict, we introduced you to the infamous Azov Battalion, made up of neo-Nazis then fighting the Eastern Ukrainians in Mariupol:

The Azov Battalion is symbolized by the Nazi Black Sun (note that it is actually made up of 3 alternating swastikas) and the inverted emblem of the SS Das Reich Division...

 

...

This battalion of paramilitary volunteers was subsequently integrated by the government ... into the Ukrainian National Guard.


The commander of the Azov battalion, André Biletsky, leader of the far-right organizations "National Social Assembly" and "Patriots of Ukraine", declared that:

"The historic mission of our nation at this critical time is to bring the white races of the world on a final crusade for their survival [...] A crusade against subhumans led by the Semites" (Source: Wikipedia)

He later left the command of the Azov battalion to become ... Ukrainian deputy.

2-2 What we know about Roman Protassevich's career

We will first focus on the statements of Roman Protassevich - which we will obviously take, as for the others, in hindsight.

In this 2020 interview with Yuri Dud, Roman Protassevich, who, Belarusian, lived in Belarus, confirmed that he had traveled to the heart of Maidan in Ukraine at the start of the protests (which began on November 21, 2013) and that 'he had been wounded in the head by the police, which forced him to return to Minsk:...

 

...

 

2-3 Roman's work: simple journalist, supporter of the Azov battalion or soldier?

Several elements actually corroborate the claim that Roman Protassevich accompanied the Azov Battalion in 2014.

In this video Roman's father indicates [source 1; source 2; archive]: “They started to open criminal cases against my son in 2014, when he was in Donbass and fighting alongside the Ukrainian army. "

...

The Ukrainian channel ZN.UA also recently indicated [source]: "The Belarusian worked at one time in the press service of Azov".

In addition, the specialized American site FOIAResearch wrote in August 2020: “Protasevich has a neo-Nazi and anti-Communist past. He is a supporter of the Pahonia Detachment, a Belarusian militia that fought alongside the neo-Nazi Azov battalion in the post-Maidan Ukrainian civil war. "

The Pahonia group describes itself on Twitter as a "non-governmental organization that helps Belarusian volunteers in Ukraine".

Here is a 2015 image of armed members of the Pahonia Detachment:

 

Read more:

https://www.les-crises.fr/l-activiste-bielorusse-roman-protassevitch-aurait-bien-accompagne-la-milice-neonazie-azov-en-ukraine-en-2014/

 

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confession on TV...

 

Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich, who was arrested in Minsk after being taken off a diverted flight last month, has appeared in a tearful interview on state television. 

In the interview, he confessed to organising anti-government protests and praised President Alexander Lukashenko. 

Mr Protasevich's family say the interview was conducted under duress. 

The reporter, 26, was editor of the opposition Nexta channel on the Telegram messaging app until last year. 

He was put on a list of "individuals involved in terrorist activity" last year. 

Mass protests erupted across Belarus after long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in a 9 August presidential election widely condemned as rigged, and a crackdown followed.

 

The protests have been curbed and opposition leaders have been sent to prison or into exile. 

What did he say? 

In the interview broadcast on Thursday evening, Mr Protasevich admitted to attempting to topple Alexander Lukashenko and said that he was speaking to the television channel by choice.

He said that he had criticised President Lukashenko a lot but "began to understand that he was doing the right thing and I certainly respect him". 

At the end of the interview, he burst into tears and said he hoped one day to marry and have children.

The journalist's father told AFP news agency that it pained him to watch the interview. 

"I know my son very well and I believe that he would never say such things. They broke him and forced him to say what was needed," he said. 

 

Thursday's interview was Mr Protasevich's third appearance on state television since he was detained. 

In one interview, he said there was no use in the opposition calling for further street protests.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57353413

 

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