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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/25/21

US Beyond Shameless in Decrying Belarus' Forcing Down of Passenger Plane to Nab Journalist Critic

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Where was European outrage in 2013 when Obama (and Blinken) pressured NATO states to deny landing and refueling the presidential plane of Bolivia's Evo Morales forcing him to land in Vienna and have his plane searched in an effort to catch Edward Snowden?
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By Dave Lindorff

The gold standard for shamelessness has long been the guy who murders his parents and then pleads for the mercy of the court because he's an orphan.

The US, as well as the lickspittle NATO nations of Europe have pretty much topped this hypothetical example with a real one. They accomplished this by going into high dudgeon over Belarus President/dictator Alexander Lukashenko's ruse of warning of a bomb on a UK Ryanair passenger jet flying from Greece to Lithuania and sending Belarus fighter jets to intercept and 'escort' and divert the plane to a landing in Minsk. There his police conducted a comic "search" for the nonexistent bomb and then arrested a critical Belarus journalist who was on board the real purpose for the charade.

European countries are calling Lukashenko's outrage an official government act of piracy and are threatening to ban all flights from Belarus in response. In the US, an indignant Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement saying:

"The United States strongly condemns the forced diversion of a flight between two EU member states and the subsequent removal and arrest of journalist Raman Pratasevich in Minsk. We demand his immediate release. This shocking act perpetrated by the Lukashenko regime endangered the lives of more than 120 passengers, including US citizens. Initial reports suggesting the involvement of the Belarusian security services and the use of Belarusian military aircraft to escort the plane are deeply concerning and require full investigation."

Blinken added that the US would join America's "partners" in the EU and Lithuania and Greece [the two terminuses of the diverted plane's flight] in calling for the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization to review these events."

What seemed to exercise Sec. Blinken so was the threat to "independent media" posed by this unusual act of repressive government power in an effort to shut down a journalist. "The United State once again condemns the Lukashenko regime's ongoing harassment and arbitrary detention of journalists," Blinken said archly.

So why is the US in this case so uniquely shameless?

It was only eight years ago that it was the US that was forcing down a plane, only in that case it was not just any plane but rather one carrying a head of state, Bolivian President Evo Morales. But as with this latest incident the goal was harassing an "independent media" and nabbing a critic. In that 2013 incident the real target was Edward Snowden, source for one of the biggest stories of the century: the disclosure thousands of documents from a global spying program by the top secret US National Security Agency where he had been employed as a private contractor.

Snowden, you may recall, ended up trapped in the transfer area of the Moscow Airport for weeks because the Obama administration had revoked his passport while he was flying from a hideout in Hong Kong in hopes of reaching some haven willing to grant him asylum from prosecution in the US for espionage and other crimes"

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to:

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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