EU States Combined to Force Down Snowden Flight 290

The USA, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Austria combined to force down President Evo Morales’ jet in Vienna in 2013 after the CIA falsely reported whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board. The monumental cynicism of these nations in sanctioning Belarus for a directly comparable action is sickening, even by the standards of western hypocrisy. Indeed, to force down a Presidential jet covered by diplomatic immunity is a greater offence to international law than Belarus forcing down the Ryanair flight.

Both actions are wrong. You will excuse me also for pointing out that there is no sanction on Israel for targeting over 30 news organisations in Gaza and bombing them.

Perhaps I might go still further and mention that as I am about to go to jail for dissident blogging, I see the western powers as having limited moral authority to complain of Belarus jailing dissident bloggers? That is even without mentioning the long term persecution and entirely false accusation of my friend and the world’s greatest exposer of war crimes and government corruption, Julian Assange.

Apologies for the very short post. Am not too well and have been confined to bed since yesterday. I have an MRI scan in the morning, but hope and intend to bounce back very soon.

In the event I am put in jail at short notice, I wish to make plain that I am absolutely happy with my family and in fighting form, raring to get to the Supreme Court and there is no chance whatsoever that I will voluntarily commit suicide.


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290 thoughts on “EU States Combined to Force Down Snowden Flight

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  • Republicofscotland

    Daddy Bear aka Alyn Smith who has been given the preposterous made up title of SNP Foreign and Commonwealth spokesperson probably by Sturgeon the Betrayer, to give the impression that the SNP actually has some power at Westminster when they have none, got his tuppence worth in yesterday in the HoC over the hijacking of the Ryanair flight.

    Smith like McDonald just can’t help himself when he said that it seems that Minsk must have had some sort of help from Russia in the hijacking.

    Those SNP MP idiots that we voted in, to do our bidding for in the HoC, to further Scotland’s interests, in my book didn’t include them also doing England’s bidding for them, by commenting on and ergo making enemies of countries on the international stage.

    The SNP MPs are acting in the HoC as though they are and have been part of the Westminster establishment since its inception.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Smith’s predecessor wisnae ony better.
      Stephen Gethins became the first SNP, MP to be ALLOWED a position on the HoC, Foreign Affairs Select Committee in July 2015. Gethins retained his position as SNP, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson and member of the FASC following the 2017, snap election, despite having his constituency majority reduced to TWO. Gethins was an implacable Russia baiter in the HoC and spoke on little else.
      Prior to gaining a salary from UK politics, first as an advisor to Alex Salmond and then as an MP, Gethins was employed by “NGO Links”. NGO Links is based out of the University of Arizona and is funded by the US Government’s National Science Foundation (the National Endowment for Democracy may be losing its usefulness as a CIA front). NGO Links is exclusively interested in matters on Russia’s Southern border with particular emphasis on Georgia. Labour leader, John Smith’s daughter Catherine was also employed by NGO Links, although she disingenuously claims that it’s “London based”. Catherine Smith is the Chair of the John Smith Centre for Public Service. Sturgeon is a big fan of the JSCfPS / Establishment school for Stepford politicians.
      On losing his seat in the December 2019 snap election, Gethins quickly gained employ at the School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews. The SoIR, was BBC Scotland’s go-to source for “Russia bad” commentary before they discovered the swivel eyed, Prof. Anthony Glees at the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham.
      Gethins is also a member of the John Smith Trust. The JST runs “intense … Fellowship Programmes … for emerging leaders from … the former Soviet Union.”
      The most worrying aspect of the Gethins saga is his initial employment by Alex Salmond despite the obvious State Department / CIA / NED connection (NGO Links).

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “Alex Salmond despite the obvious State Department / CIA / NED connection (NGO Links)”

        Yes, it’s a mystery and there seems to be so much of it about.

  • Kuhnberg

    Solidarity Craig. Thanks for your bravery in making all who follow your work aware of what is really going on.

  • Brian c

    Short but straight to the point. Always does the heart good to see you cut through the industrial scale gaslighting and call these hypocrites and warmongers out for what they are.

    A fearless, good natured voice of truth that will be very sorely missed.

  • Margaret O'Brien

    Craig I like to think I am a reasonably brave person. I have lived through some hard times where I’ve needed to be quite courageous, but I never could be as courageous as you.

    If they do jail you remember every one of us out here who will be thinking of you every waking hour you are in there, including myself.

    With all the shit humanity is capable of, it helps that people such as yourself and Julian Assange are standing up against it. Pity and shame you are being made to suffer for it.

    I’m very sorry to hear you are unwell. I hope you’re getting the best care available.

  • josh R

    shame on me, & thank you for nudging my critical faculties 🙂

    I did see this story, although admittedly only one of 140+ articles on my reading list for this week (!), but I wasn’t aware of the MS saturation the story was generating.

    I initially just thought “wow!” and found it a very provocative incident. But was mainly considering it in terms of the preceding geopolitiking between NATO, Belarus & Russia, wondering what would come of it in the next few days, what the ‘spin’ would be, what seemingly inevitable omissions, inaccuracies & obfuscations would be employed (cynic that I am!).

    To my shame, I hadn’t even considered it in relation to the hijacking of Morales’s flight & begun to compare the MS ‘indignation’ to the 2 events (downing a Head of State’s aircraft with diplomatic status perhaps being the more outrageous of the two? or not).

    Perhaps that serves me as a timely reminder of how easy it is to forget a story’s relevance in the context of prior events, particularly when the ‘indignities’ pile up so fast & furious that yesterday’s news gets lost in the 60 second MSM hypno-loop.

    It’s also a heartening reminder of just how valuable & rare ONE blog can be in this (dis)Information Age, and an equally prescient reminder of how precarious that scarcity is in this ‘hostile’ environment of deplatforming, censorship & criminalisation, of speech and thought.

    Aside from Murray’s thoughts & information, Gerald’s reminders;
    May 25, 2021 at 00:53

    & Sam’s background;
    May 25, 2021 at 07:49

    …are equally valuable, particularly as they’ll likely appear in no other wider coverage or conversation.

    As with other commentators, I also find Murray’s last paragraph ‘chilling’. Whilst I want to find some sign of a tongue in cheek, the fact that there is none rings warning bells aplenty.

    I’m sure it will get the “Conspiracy Deniers” chuckling & rolling their eyes, but if we are prepared to suspend our delicate sensitivities for a moment, Murray’s comment, whilst hopefully a “just in case” afterthought, ultimately boils down to entertaining the possibility of assassination.

    What. The. Absolute. Fk?!?

    I am thus motivated to post a few bytes of digital logorrhea (Chilling – Not In a Good Way) that I shelved the other day, thinking it too bellicose……

  • mark golding

    Somewhat foreboding to read, ‘no chance whatsoever that I will voluntarily commit suicide,’ albeit essential.

    There are of course similarities between Belarus president Lukashenko and Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Both used I suggest criminally overt state powers to arrest and prosecute political opponents.

    Seductively a canny Vladirmir Putin in truth, despite a paradoxical main media reporting otherwise, fed Lukashenko a rotten carrot on a broken stick by offering finance and trade agreements while furtively supporting and funding certain opposition parties to encourage a greater union with Russia.

  • Alex McEwan

    Best Wishes Craig.
    Get better soon, Scotland needs your intellect, insight and integrity.
    We note with great concern your remark on suicide. Do you suspect that the dark forces of the UK security organs might try a McCrae-Kelly on you?
    If so be sure that many of us will be on lookout for you.

  • Jimmeh

    I keep coming across remarks to the effect that Belarus is “in the heart of Europe”.

    If Belarus is actually in geographical Europe at all, it’s on the extreme eastern edge. It’s not in the EU. It’s to the east of the most easterly EU states. If it”s at the heart of anything, it’s at the heart of the Pripyat marshes.

    Typo alert: the name of the Bolivian leader whose plane was forced down is “Evo Morales”, not “Eva Morales”.

    You seem to be in the mood for a fight, Craig. I’m impressed – most of us would have crumpled long ago (I certainly would). Get some rest, and get well soon – you’re going to need your strength.

    • Pigeon English

      Geographical Europe starts from Urals. So it is fair claim.
      More countries claim where literal centre of Europe is. Lithuanian Poland etc.

    • Hans Adler

      “Heart” of Europe is perhaps overstating it a bit, but Belarus is definitely in Europe. The western third of the country was Polish before the west shift of Poland after the Second World War. Poland, the country’s western neighbour, is part of Central Europe. It’s north of Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. The latter stretches quite a bit further east than Belarus.

      Belarus’ eastern neighbour is Russia, but of course it’s the European part of Russia. The country’s easternmost point is still 100 miles west of Moscow (as the bird flies), and from Moscow there is still another 400 miles or so of Europe.

      Of Belarus’ 5 neighbours, 3 are EU countries (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania), one is Russia and one is Ukraine, which NATO/EU are currently trying to integrate against fierce Russian opposition. Most of Crimea, which NATO is so keen to control, is east of the easternmost point of Belarus. And even that is as firmly part of Europe as is St. Petersburg with its strong German influence. (The last speakers of Gothic, a Germanic language whose speakers wandered southwards through Germany/Poland, were discovered in Crimea by the Flemish ambassador in the 16th century and survived into the 18th century. Other Goths had continued onwards to Rome and later Catalonia, where they were romanised.)

      Belarus has a lot of potential if it ever becomes a democracy and EU/NATO get cordial relations with Russia. Which is of course two big Ifs.

      • GrigoryZinoviev

        Several countries claim to be at the heart of Europe, but according to the research of the French National Geographic Institute, the one and only geographical central point of the continent is in Lithuania, a fact that has even won recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1989, a group of French scientists from the institute announced that the geographical centre of Europe was just to the north of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius – 26 kilometres to be exact – near the village of Purnuškės. The map references of their version of the centre of Europe are 54 degrees, 54 minutes latitude and 25 degrees, 19 minutes longitude.

        In Western Europe we have a very lopsided view of things.

        • Piotr+Berman

          This is a lie! I know from my geography lessons which I had in my elementary school in Poland. The center of Europe can be established very simply. You find the southern-most point, Cap Matapan in Peloponesus, Greece. Connect with a straight line with the northern-most point, Nord Cap in Norway. Find the western-most point, Cap Vigo in Spain, connect to the eastern-most point, in the northern Urals (Urals veer east in the north). The intersection is in Poland!

          Later I noticed that the most southern point is actually in Spain, and the same exercise, but corrected, shows that the center of Europe is in Spain. Thus Western Europe consists of Ireland and Portugal (and Iceland), Central Europe is Spain, and Eastern Europe starts in France, and England that is to the north of France. And from Rhine onwards you have Eastern Europe. Germany is Middle East Europe (I strongly recommend falafel and shawarma that you can get in every nook of a German city), Poland and Lithuania, just East Europe, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine, Far East Europe. Further east there are vague lands shrouded in mists, myths and fogs, so it is hard to assert if they are in Europe or not.

          • Pigeon English

            Is there any country in South Europe?
            Country the size of Spain can not be the most West, the most South and Centre

    • Laszlo

      I’m fairly sure Mr Murray will address your comments. Meantime (as a layman) I cannot restrain myself from commenting on your “This is their airspace and they decide, who flies through and who gets grounded.” and should correct this as follows: this is their airtrap and they decide who flies through and who gets grounded. Ultimately, did anybody had an arrest warrant for the captured people? Think hard please!

    • Laszlo

      This is new to me thanks. Just wonder who did train the Israel terrorist killing British officers in Cyprus (in reward helping to set up new Israel)?

  • Yuri K

    Here you are wrong, Craig: both actions were right, legally speaking. According to the Chicago international convention (ICAO) of 1944 (last edited in 2006), Article 1, “The contracting States recognize that every State has a complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory.” Therefore, every country, that is, Belarus, UK, US etc has the right to intercept any civil flight above its territory and territorial waters. Countries also have the right to grant or deny their airspace to any civil flight if they wish so. So, legally speaking, Belarus authorities did nothing wrong. This is their airspace and they decide, who flies through and who gets grounded.

    I am not sure, however, that this applies to the Morales/Snowden 2013 case because Article 3a of ICAO excludes state aircraft from ICAO. If you need an example of precedents that would be applicable, here is a couple.

    • On Oct 21st 2016 a Belavia flight from Kiev to Minsk took off but was ordered to return to Kiev by the Ukrainian authorities. The flight departed to Minsk later but one passenger, an Armenian citizen Armen Martirosian, has been detained and released later. He flew to Minsk on the next available flight.
    • On Jan 5th 2004, a private jet owned by Andrei Vavilov, deputy finance minister of Russia in 1994-7, flying from Barbados to Aspen, CO, was ordered to land in LA. Vavilov was questioned for 4 hours and released.
  • Yuri K

    Here is Article 3 bis of ICAO (2006) if this helps:

    The contracting States recognize that every State, in the exercise of its sovereignty, is entitled to require the landing at some designated airport of a civil aircraft flying above its territory without authority or if there are reasonable grounds to conclude that it is being used for any purpose inconsistent with the aims of this Convention; it may also give such aircraft any other instructions to put an end to such violations. For this purpose, the contracting States may resort to any appropriate means consistent with relevant rules of international law, including the relevant provisions of this Convention, specifically paragraph a) of this Article. Each contracting State agrees to publish its regulations in force regarding the interception of civil aircraft.

  • Tatyana

    I believe that Lukashenko did the right thing. There are security procedures for such cases.

    Otherwise, what would he have to do? To say: “listen, folks, we received such a funny letter today, haha, your plane will be blown up over Vilnius! Don’t worry, the letter is fake, highly likely. Moreover, you have almost reached Vilnius – just a convenient opportunity to check the information for veracity – so, on behalf of the Belarusian people, I wish you a pleasant flight.”

    In this case, the President of Belarus would be accused of neglecting the danger, right?

    Of course, there’s a possibility that the letter appeared on Lukashenko’s direct order. But on the other hand, it’s quite possible that this was not ordered by him.
    Just today, in my own region, two officers were sentenced to long imprisonment, you know why? They sent letters with mercury to foreign embassies, under the guise of an invitation to an event. If someone thinks that this could have been on Putin’s orders, then this is a great stupidity.

    • Republicofscotland


      You might find this interesting.

      “Roman Protasevich is, like his partner the Atlantic Council fellow Franak Viačorka, a U.S. trained and financed regime operator who tried to violently overthrow the government of Belarus to then install a neoliberal U.S. client regime”

      “In 2016 the Ukraine sent military jets to force a plane flying from Kiev to Minsk to return to Kiev. The authorities were looking for a certain passenger on board who was later found to have been the wrong man.”

      “As Petri Krohn notes above the Ukraine in 2020 had planned to abduct Russian mercenaries on a flight from Minsk to Turkey by forcing the plane to land in Kiev. The plot failed.”

      Other nations have forced planes down, and some have forced them down for the benefit other other countries.

      • Tatyana

        Airplanes are just a small part of the iceberg. The complete picture is much worse.

        I feel disgust for that type of “opposition” who, in their political fight for power, resort to the help of foreign states. I see there’s normal opposition, like the communists in my country. They give an alternative point of view, they criticize the government and still act for the good of the country.
        But oppositionists such as Khodorkovsky or Navalny, in their thirst for revenge, begin to act completely as enemies – they call on foreign states to unleash disasters on my country! Where is patriotism here?
        I see this behavior in Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who sits somewhere in the Baltic country and asks ICAO to close air traffic with her homeland and asks the European Union to impose sanctions.
        I think to myself – Hello! this woman intended to be the wife of the new president! Can you imagine a wife of a British politician calling on Russia and China to impose sanctions on the United Kingdom?

        • Goose

          Assuming Protasevich isn’t stupid, he must have known about this risk. Could this have been planned precisely to bait the Belarusian authorities into acting this way? Given the context: that of an anti-Lukashenko uprising that failed, and indeed now fading from European public consciousness, what better way to bring it back centre stage?

          Before some say that’s an odious, offensive, insane suggestion and why would Protasevich do that? Look at Navalny’s inexplicable return to Russia from Germany, after allegedly being poisoned with novichok. These are the sort of games / calculated risks spies engage in with their assets to discredit leaders. Protasevich is probably safe now, by virtue of the international interest in him.
          Western backing in the form of well resourced western agencies seems to becoming a bit of an albatross, doesn’t it.

          Look at Juan Guaidó, and how discredited he is in the eyes of his fellow countrymen and women. Sure, people may want change, especially where there’s clear abuse of power, that’s understandable. But turning to foreign patrons, whose motivations and interest in your country are far from selfless and benign, just doesn’t seem worth it. The population naturally ask who is pulling the strings above these guys, and why?

          • Goose

            Being in exile fomenting revolt may be scarier than facing the regime directly. Protasevich has probably been looking over his shoulder everywhere he went.

  • Andrew Mcguiness

    I wish you good health, Craig. The situation is extremely distressing, stay strong!

  • Peter Moritz

    A more complete list of similar incidents:

    “In 1954 Israel forced a Syrian passenger plane to land to gain hostages which it hoped to exchange for captured Israeli soldiers.
    In 1957 French authorities diverted a Morocco-Spain Air Maroc flight to Algiers. Algerian independence leader Ahmed Ben Bella (based in MA) was on board.
    In 2010 the U.S. wanted to arrest a man who was on a flight from France to Mexico. On U.S. instigation the plane was diverted to Canada where the man was arrested and later transferred to the U.S.
    In 2012 Turkey forced down a Syrian passenger plane flying from Moscow to Damascus to search it for weapons. None were found.
    In 2013 U.S. allies shut down their airspace for a flight carrying the Bolivian President Evo Morales from Moscow. The plane had to divert to Austria where the authorities insisted on searching the plane for the “fugitive” Edward Snowden before letting it fly again. Snowden was not on board.
    In 2016 the Ukraine sent military jets to force a plane flying from Kiev to Minsk to return to Kiev. The authorities were looking for a certain passenger on board who was later found to have be the wrong man.
    As Petri Krohn notes above the Ukraine in 2020 had planned to abduct Russian mercenaries on a flight from Minsk to Turkey by forcing the plane to land in Kiev. The plot failed.”

    And who the blogger is of course not reported by the western media:

    “Ivan Katchanovski @I_Katchanovski – 13:15 utc · May 24, 2021
    Google searches show no references in Western media to past service in neo-Nazi-led Azov battalion in Ukraine of Belarusian opposition blogger, who was arrested by Belarus KGB after it diverted Irish Ryanair passenger plane that was flying over Belarus

    Ukrainian media reports that Protasevich served in the press-service of the neo-Nazi-led Azov battalion in Ukraine during the war in Donbas: “

    The NATO nations again in cahoots with Nazis

    • Hans Adler

      I am confused. Wasn’t the person they arrested supposed to be Roman Protasevich? To judge from his Wikipedia article, he looks relatively clean.

  • John Monro

    I am very pleased you won’t voluntarily commit suicide – in any case what is involuntary suicide? Murder? Apologies for the inappropriateness, you’ve been through a lot and continue to face serious existential threats. Bravery isn’t so remarkable in bravado, but much more so in doubt and fear. Ultimately, whatever happens, it will be your family that will see you through, your wife, certainly, but also your very small son, even if he doesn’t quite know this yet. Good luck.

    • Wikikettle

      Alexander Mercouris has a good all round piece on the Roman arrest.” The West and The Arrest in Belarus : A Case of Fear, Double Standards and Impotent Rage “.

      • Wikikettle

        We in the West set the precedents of Watch Lists and rendition flights. We flouted International Law. Now we are hopping mad when it’s done to our agents for Regime Change.

  • Tim

    I am so sorry Craig, you are a brave man. When you have time I would be interested to know how the defence fund is coming on

  • fonso

    The lack of questioning of Epstein’s suicide is another example of how we are constantly trolled by the establishment and its media. That whole shocking story of elite abuse has been closed as if it never existed. Even notoriously close companions like Mandelson are being rehabilitated and restored to the centre of British politics. No figure by all accounts had more contact numbers in Epstein’s black book than Tony Blair yet he too is being afforded more airtime than most government ministers. Any dissident figure with their connections to Epstein would be paraded day-in day-out as a child abuser. I just find it incredibly depressing that such sinister self-servers continue to be platformed as sage demigods while genuine truthtellers like the author of this blog face the threat of jail.

      • fonso

        I’m not sure when her trial takes place but I would be very surprised if she reveals much. She will have understood the message of Epstein’s suicide.

        • Goose

          She presumably has to plea bargain? Because it’s reported she faces anything from 35 -80 years in prison if convicted.

          May seem contradictory but if she does reveal all, she’ll thereafter be safer. As it’ll be the VIPs who are put on the defensive.

  • Neil Munro

    I hope you’ll be better treated in jail than the Belarusian dissident blogger.

    • DunGroanin

      Like Assange is ? In top security Belmarsg for extreme violent criminals? But hasn’t been charged or convicted of ANYTHING?

      The Scottish Lags will welcome CM as a hero – A Mandela or a Biko.

      The screws who are not English muppets also.

      Anyone even looks at CM in a funny way will soon meet instant justice of the patrons, I expect and the whole lot will learn a LOT from the great man – that they will be radicalised to the reality of their Scotland.

      Empires and Apartheid nations ought to know that such Bastilles are there for starting unstoppable changes.

  • AB

    Good man Craig.

    I remembered the Morales plane grounding when this story came out. I reckon folk just expect the hypocrisy now. I certainly do.

  • Ralph

    Despite our disagreements on certain subjects, Craig, I wish you good health and hope you will stay strong. Some of your reports have been excellent.

  • Pigeon English

    Britain is so polarised that we need common ground-enemies, Russia and China!
    We believe NATO is force for good in the world but until we:

    • implement sanctions against the Saudis for butchering journalist
    • implement sanctions against Israel for ethnic cleansing
    • free Assange
    • put Tony on trial for war crimes

    and much much more we have no moral grounds to preach to anybody.

    BTW guy arrested was allegedly posting names and addresses of police officers (would we tolerate that?).
    We charge people for potentially revealing our assets and putting their lives at risk.

    • John Cleary


      Worse than that. The names and adresses were those of FEMALE police officers.

      I seem to remember some bloke got done for revealing the identity of females in Scotland, and they were not even at any risk, unlike police officers. What was his name_

      No. It was that Murray bloke.

      Funny, eh.

    • John Cleary

      Just to add: perhaps we should seek guidance on all of this from the self appointed expert on all aspects of doxxing

      Lady Dorrian the number two judge in Scotland.

      She was, after all, able to read Mr Murray’s mind and positively confirm mens rea from his “relish” at his victims embarrassment.

      What says Lady Dorrian over this Ukrainian chappie?

      Perhaps have a word with her friend Baroness Smith. I think she has an interest in the Ukraine.

  • Tatyana

    For you:

    “Lithuanian law enforcement agencies claim that the captain of the aircraft made the decision to change the direction to Minsk after consulting with the Ryanair management. According to R. Kishkis*, 126 people and crew members flew from Athens, but after landing in Minsk, 121 passengers arrived to Vilnius”

    *Rolandas Kishkisis the Head of the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau

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