They did not intend to land

Wieslawa Lewandowska talks to Antoni Macierewicz, MP, about fog, disinformation, reliability of the investigation of the evidence and the instructions of the Ulyanovsk School, i.e., about the laborious but effective way to discover the truth about the Smolensk plane crash.

Wieslawa Lewandowska: – Fear to talk, Mr Macierewicz! All reflections and seeking the truth about the plane crash at Smolensk are regarded as big political incorrectness. The media are trying to convince that Poles are bored with this theme.

Antoni Macierewicz, MP: – Many people may be bored because of some media… However, those who can think independently, which is still the majority of people, are rather shocked how the media and a considerable part of ‘political elite’ connected with the Civic Platform and the left-wing party are attacking all attempts to explain the Smolensk tragedy. They are shutting our mouth like it was in the case of the Katyn affair once… Today we are dealing with a wave of hypocrisy and arrogance that is increasing to the extent that has not happened in Poland’s history. The memory of the late Poland’s President and in general, this striving for the truth is being attacked in an extremely brutal way.

– One can hear the argument that we can criticise the dead because a one-year mourning has ended…

– But it was during the mourning that one could hear the accusation that ‘the President has blood on his hands’ and during the mourning Prime Minister Tusk called the blasphemies against the cross ‘a happening’! Those people do not simply tolerate striving for the truth… when an old woman, laying flowers in front of the Presidential Palace, demands it and when the eminent documentary film-maker Ewa Stankiewicz demands it or when an MP or a parish priest blessing an obelisk demand it, and recently when people of good will decorating the tomb of Christ, using symbols referring to the Smolensk tragedy, demand the truth. We are observing more and more nervous reactions of those ‘politically correct’ critics when they notice the very thought that the truth about the Smolensk crash can be discovered….

– The average receivers of daily information find it hard to believe that. In fact, many of us were convinced from the very beginning that we would never get to know the truth about this crash….

– No wonder when the media and politicians interested in such a course of events have been doing their best to sow disinformation and to manipulate the public opinion. But we have known a lot about those tragic events for a long time! In my opinion we are approaching the truth… Many matters and explanations that were spread during last year only to lead people astray and made it difficult to discern the reality, have been definitely rejected.

– For example?

– The turning point was the experiment aiming at checking whether the pilots were right to use the procedures to go round, i.e., to interrupt the procedure of landing, and speaking concretely, whether the usage of the button ‘go round’ over the airport that did not have an ILS system according to the procedures and whether it was effective. We were told to believe that the badly trained Polish pilots used this button without realising that the system did not work in that case.

– And it turned out that it did?

– That’s right. Because this matter, like most problems concerning the explanation of the causes of the Smolensk crash, was created artificially to mislead, to control people’s minds and draw attention from the truth…The recent experimental flights of TU-154M showed that the button ‘go round’ over the airport without an ILS was working. Of course, it works when it is not out of order…

– Earlier we had not been certain about it and even the constructors of this plane had not realised that?

– Exactly! Here we are dealing with the problem of disinformation about this matter. Our parliamentary team investigating the causes of the Smolensk crash has a script that was used in the school in Ulyanovsk, which trained Polish pilots how to use TU-154M (we have received this script from one participant of those special courses). It turns out that in that Ulyanovsk school pilots were taught how to fly back up to circuit height using with the bottom ‘uchod’ [go round] at the airports that were not equipped with an ILS (actually the airports of the communist countries did not have that system!). So the matter was obvious for a long time but it was good that these experimental flights were conducted in Poland. If their results are given to the public they may neutralise a little this confusion evoked by the MAK report that misled people stating that using the automatic pilot was forbidden, which was nonsense…. The Polish ‘experts’, including Colonel Edmund Klich, spread this thesis, too.

– …that Polish pilots who had not been properly trained attempted to land in a forbidden manner?

– Yes. The Polish specialists deciphered the fragment of the recorded conversations from the black box, which the Russians falsified. It turns out that despite the Russian thesis they did not intend to land but on the contrary they wanted to go round! The deciphered fragment shows that Captain Protasiuk commanded ‘go round’ at the height of 100 m…

– But they did not go round…

– Exactly! The question is: why? The followers of the Russian theses mislead people: they did not go round because the plane used the auto-pilot and the pilots did not know that at the airport without an ILS the system of automatic return did not work after pressing the button ‘uchod.’ As the Russians explain pressing this button caused the lost of several precious seconds and that’s why it was not possible to rescue the plane and thus the Polish pilots, badly trained, were to be blamed… Such a thesis gave a pretext to another one: more brutal and ruthless wave of accusing the late Captain Protasiuk.

– The thesis that it was the ‘human factor’ that failed has been eagerly repeated not only by the Russians. In your opinion, can we regard it as decidedly untrue?

– Yes, we can. The conversations in the cockpit show that a minute before the crash the pilots talked about going round at the height of 100 using the autopilot. They were ready to make such a manoeuvre and decided to it because they knew that it could be done! Moreover, the Russian air traffic controllers in Smolensk knew about it, too. They heard the Polish pilots and accepted their decision. If such a manoeuvre had not been possible they were obliged to warn the Polish pilots. The manoeuvre was routine and according to the instructions given to the Polish pilots since 1985 by the Russian specialists lecturing at the school in Ulyanovsk. Therefore, we are dealing with a classical accumulated disinformation aiming at throwing responsibility on the pilots and their alleged bad training and incompetence. And on the other hand, we have an attempt to cloud the real course of events…

– But the copies of the black box data, which the Russians gave us, point to the fault of the pilots…

– The registered data show that the pilots decided to fly down below 100 m, i.e. landing… and only at the height of 70 m, measuring from the ground and not from the level of the runway, the commanded ‘go round.’ But the truth is different; the command ‘go round’ was given at the height of 100 m over the level of the runway! The Polish response to the MAK report informs that the Polish specialists managed to decipher all the registered data and advised the Russians to make corrections. Both the Russians and the main media in Poland as well as the politicians of Tusk’s government ignored those findings…

– But why do we hear about the Polish pilots’ fault increasingly strongly suggested by the Polish media?

– Indeed, neither the government nor the main media want to consider the official stand of the Republic of Poland. Let us add: the only official Poland’s stand! There is only one explanation: this stand formulated by the technical commission directed by Colonel Grochowski is uncomfortable for Prime Minister Tusk and his government as well as for those media that have been involved in proving the fault of the Polish pilots since the beginning and they have been doing so with no less fierceness than the government of Prime Minister Putin. Consequently, the public opinion knows nothing about the state of affairs and is waiting for the ‘Polish report’ although it has been available for long (exactly since 12 January 2011).

– Why is it so?

– I do not know! I have spoken about it almost every day since 12 January. And nobody cares! I cannot understand why in Poland it is so hard to print the true fragments of the recordings of the black boxes; why this fact was pushed into non-existence in the media and why it does not exist in the social awareness…It does not exist to the extent that during the conference held on 21 April 2011 the Prime Minister stated that we did not need the original black boxes because we had an excellent copy… He dared to say that nobody questioned the credibility of that copy! But the governmental committee of Colonel Grochowski questioned the value of that copy, using the expertises of the Jan Sehn Institute in Krakow. The parliamentary team that I preside over also questions the credibility of this copy and we have even reported about a crime concerning this matter. The governmental and mainstream information about the Smolensk tragedy is lies after lies, ignoring the facts in order to force a comfortable picture of the situation…

– Why isn’t Poland eager to reveal these known fragments of the true picture?

– It is hard to understand. It must have been the conviction that we can manage to have legally binding decisions based on the false picture of the situation and then seeking the truth, untying this knot of lies will drag dozens of years and will never be settled. The pattern of such activities is, for example, the Katyn affair, the investigation concerning Jaruzelski’ responsibility for the massacre of the shipyard workers in 1970 or Kiszczak’s responsibility for the killing of the miners in the Wujek coal mine in 1981. Poland as opposed to other countries has had a long tradition of tolerating treason… Just this fragment of the truth concerning the Smolensk tragedy in question has been revealed because the team of the Polish experts insisted to give a true picture of the recording in Poland’s stand sent to Russia. But one should ask how long Colonel Grochowski will be able to oppose the pressure of the government politicians. And the constantly repeated words of the Prime Minister or Minister Miller, suggesting the pilots’ fault, convey this meaning…As a result, it leads to complete disinformation of the public opinion that is more inclined to believe in the fault of the pilots who must have pressed the wrong button unnecessarily… Let us repeat to be clear for ever: the Polish pilots were not landing! At the height of 100 m over the level of the runway, i.e., at the right height to take such a decision they decided to go round. It is evident on the basis on the recorded conversations which were falsified by the MAK report. Unfortunately, the report shows that some representatives of the Polish party were to approve this falsification… We are sure that Minister Miller was involved in that but perhaps he followed the opinions of other specialists.

– The Prime Minister says with satisfaction that we do not need the original black boxes since we will reach the truth anyway…

– It was sad to listen to such nonsense that additionally was spoken in the presence of Poland’s Prosecutor General… It is outrageous that the Prosecutor General was silent when there was the announcement of infringing the fundamental principle of criminal law, the principle of direct examination of evidence, that the prosecutor and the judge must examine direct evidence and not dubious copies. Therefore, one cannot replace originals with a falsified copy… Let us remind ourselves of the other circumstances, for example the fact that Minister Miller had to pay several visits to Moscow to have copies of the recordings after it had occurred that due to some unknown reasons we had lacked 17 seconds of the recordings… And he signed the receipt of the allegedly credible and compatible copies… Then it turned out again that ‘blurring’ and ‘noising’ concerned the key places of the recordings.

– How can we then understand the big optimism of the Prime Minister who announced that we would reach the truth without the original black boxes?

– In my opinion this statement of the Prime Minister can be treated as interference in the investigation… It is a kind of command to the prosecutor’s office that accepts this command by the silence of the prosecutor general. It is an extreme humiliation for the prosecutor’s office and the principle of legality in Poland…

– The Prosecutor General is going to Moscow…

– I do not know what is the aim and sense of this visit. I only know that since the joint conference with the Prime Minister one should treat the prosecutor’s office as the incapacitated statement of the Prime Minister that Poland does not need the original evidence… The Polish investigation is to have the same conclusions, which President Medvedev showed in December 2010, as the Russian investigation. It is a real executive chain: Putin – Medvedev – Tusk – prosecutor general – prosecutor investigating the case. Additionally, one should include some media and pseudo-experts ready to confirm each thesis against Poland and Poles.

– What is then the use of the diplomatic note sent to Moscow this year?

– I asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs about this matter in the Parliament. The answer was, as usual in such matters, unclear and ambiguous. The content of the note is not known although the minister had to admit that it was not secret as Deputy Speaker Niesiolowski assured us of that… But not having this note in writing I could not conclude from the explanations of the head of the Foreign Affairs whether Poland asked to have its property, i.e., the plane wreck and original black boxes, immediately returned or not… I count on that the note included a demand to have the Polish property returned at once. Since they are indispensible proofs to complete the investigation of Miller’s committee and the prosecutor’s investigations. One should state it clearly that the one that announces the end of these proceeding without any access to the original main evidence is preparing a forgery!

– Can the plane wreck that was cut into pieces be still a good proof? Why did we not manage to have it back earlier?

– The matter is culpable because as the experts who were in Smolensk and wrote a complaint to Minister Grabarczyk state it is the Polish accredited officer Edmund Klich that prevented them from examining the wreck. This complaint is the basis of my suit to the prosecutor’s office against Mr Edmund Klich. On 2 February 2011 in Smolensk the experts who investigated the causes of the plane crash wrote that on the date of the examination of the wreck arranged by the Russians (April 2010) Edmund Klich whose presence at this examination was required simply left Russia unexpectedly… Mr Klich’s absence caused the MAK to cancel their consent to examine the wreck by the Polish experts. And Poles were not given this possibility again! I do not know whether it was Mr Klich’s conscious activity or negligence of his duties, which had serious consequences. It must have been an action against the investigation of the Smolensk crash.

– But the recent words of the Prime Minister about the speedy getting to know the truth, the ministerial support for reaching the truth, attempts to put pressure on the Russians sounded fairly optimistic…

– The words of the Prime Minister do not fill us with optimism. On the contrary, they are rather heralds of new trickery. Today the Prime Minister says that in June the ‘main theses’ of Miller’s committee will be published so that Poles can learn about the causes of the Smolensk tragedy before the elections. I am afraid that he announces that in spite of an official report the statements of Minister Miller himself will be used for political struggle. This report will not come to light at all or will be ex post adjusted to political theses. I want to remind you that the whole affair to postpone the publication of Miller’s report (it was to be published in February 2011!) results from the opposition of the experts of Colonel Grochowski’s committee who do not want to subordinate to the political demands of Tusk and Miller. The statement of Prime Minister Tusk means that he decided to ignore the experts and their stands and to force political accusations. The really optimistic thing is that the analyses of the parliamentary team make us get to know the truth slowly… We have already learnt that the pilots did not land… We know that for some, unfortunately unknown, reasons the button ‘go round’ did not work.

– How can we get to know why the button ‘go round’ did not work? – I believe that we will be able know this mystery… In the same way we are learning about the successive facts about the course of the crash… Today we know for sure that the crash actually happened at the height of 15 m over the ground…

– The plane broke apart 15 m over the ground?

– I would not like to determine that but one can clearly conclude from the examinations of the American experts that at some 30-28 m from the road, at the height of 15 m over the level of the runway, at the speed of 270 km per hour at 10:41.05 the power supply for the FMS system was switched off and the data about the place, speed and height of the plane at this moment were registered on the central computer disc of TU-154 M. At the same moment the recordings of the black boxes stopped. It was the moment when the pilots lost the possibility of any activity…The most likely course of events is as follows: when the button ‘go round’ did not work at the height of 100 m the plane began falling down, at the height of 70 m the second pilot performed the go-round manually. Then all the witnesses reported about extra power to the engines. The plane just began going up and then something happened and caused that the power supply switched off and the plane crashed. It took place, let us repeat it, at the height of 15 m over the level of the runway, at some 60 m over the first traces of the plane touching the ground. We do not know what happened at that moment, what was the mechanism.

– An assassination attempt as a possible cause has been definitely excluded. And you still have doubts?

– I think that on the basis of what we know it would be justifiable to speak about ‘activities of some third party.’ Of course, one cannot decide the question of intentionality of such an action. For example, it could be connected with the breakdowns when the plane was repaired… It is a separate discussion that should be yet held.

– Is there a chance we will ever get to know, will establish the main, first cause?

– Yes, there is. I attach great significance to the work of the Polish experts whose names are often unknown and who are shelling little fragments of the reality. The picture of events is slowly appearing from that. Two weeks ago I asked myself the question what happened when the captain had said at the height of 100 m, ‘We are going round’… Now I know that the plane was still going down because the button ‘go round’ was out of order… Unfortunately, the clearly bad will of the government of Mr Tusk and disorientation made by some media, which has been dominating in the public space, causes that such important fragments of the truth do not reach the social awareness at all.

– This Smolensk fog keeps disturbing. What do you think about the motif of the artificially made fog, which is in focus in the news?

– Undoubtedly, artificial fog can be made and it is often done in military activities… But it does not seem to me that this direction of investigation is most important considering the explanation of the direct technical cause of the crash. I do not claim that the problem of fog is not important but I am afraid that this motif can be easily ridiculed in the media and that’s why it is often exposed…

– Recently the Polish investigation included the so-called civil motif examining the ways of organisation of the two flights to Smolensk in spring 2010. Shouldn’t this problem have been discussed earlier? Is this manoeuvre beneficial to the whole investigation now?

– The separation of this motif was made in such a way that it brings to mind the worst suspicions. There were no obstacles to do that earlier; we deal with some negligence, which in my opinion holds the Public Prosecutor’s Office responsible for it. Moreover, it is strange why the families of the victims have not received the status of the wronged as if it was assumed that the organisations of the visits had nothing to do with the tragedy. The investigating officers seem to consider some unrevealed assumption that the organisations had no influence on the course of events. It suggests their assumption of the pilots’ fault, i.e. a priori judgement that should be proved and which – as we know today – has no evidence.

– The civil investigation is perhaps even more mysterious than the military one. Can it be justified by the good of the investigation?

– Indeed, several dozen people were interrogated. Unfortunately, we do not know their names although they include public figures. The public opinion should be informed whether they, e.g., Minister Klich, Minister Arabski, Minister Sikorski and Prime Minister Tusk, were interrogated and whether anyone refused to testify. The lack of knowledge about this topic is an impermissible thing in a democratic country. It looks like the independent prosecutor’s office protects politicians. I do not understand why the most important witnesses, i.e. the ministers responsible for both the organisation of the flight and the tasks during the flight are not interrogated. It was during the flight, till its last moments, that the air traffic controllers talked to their superiors in Moscow and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and there must have been talks between the Polish embassy and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs about which alternative airport to choose. In my opinion the questioning of Minister Sikorski should be that of the key ones.

– What are the chances to bring the wreck to Poland, even only for memory of the tragedy, and to bring the ‘unnecessary black boxes’?

– Hard to tell. Even if we assumed that the investigation into the causes of the crash was conducted in accordance with the Chicago Convention, Annex 13 says that after the completion of the investigation all objects being the property of the country of the wrecked plane, shall returned to this country. The wreck, the black boxes and all other Polish objects should have been in Poland on 12 January 2011 at the latest (then MAK published its report). However, they did not reach Poland and we do not know whether and in what condition they will be returned at all. I will remind you of the way of ‘restoring’ of the extremely important evidence: the satellite phone of the President. We had the declaration of Mrs Anodina that the phone had been sent to Prosecutor General Seremet and …the statement of the prosecutor that he had not received the phone… And the matter ended – remained unexplained, dead half a year ago… It seems that the truth is that the government of Tusk is pretending that they are demanding the wreck and black boxes but actually they are interested in that the Polish experts will never examine this evidence. This is the only explanation why the accredited officer Klich made it impossible to examine the wreck and Jerzy Miller signed an agreement to leave the black boxes in Russia.

– And there are no strong ones? We do not need any evidence and memento?

– It seems so since the Prime Minister stated it clearly. But even if the investigation of the crash according to the Chicago convention was absurd, if Prime Minister Tusk agreed to it he had the obligation to see to the return of the wreck to Poland on 12 January 2011 when the procedure according to the Chicago Convention ended… But the Polish Prime Minister sent a mysterious note four months later and at the same time publicly assured the Russians that we did not need any original evidence. It is an expression of absolute disrespect of the state, contravention of powers. It is an action that should be judged by the State Tribunal.

– Disrespect resulting from carelessness, hopelessness, bad will or some interests?

– I do not want to judge the intention of the Prime Minister but I think it is an offence.

– Despite that do you share the Prime Minister’s optimism that we are approaching the truth?

– Yes, I do. We are very close to discover the truth but it has nothing to do with the machinations forced by Prime Minister Tusk… And I have no doubts that we would have been closer a year ago if the government of Prime Minister Tusk had wanted to examine the tragedy and had not been trying to make it impossible. Here we do not need any big miracles and have no big mysteries – a reliable examination of the original evidence is sufficient. The sad thing is that reaching the truth concerning this biggest tragedy that has afflicted Poland shows the bad will and collaboration hand in hand between the governments of Prime Minister Tusk and Prime Minister Putin.

"Niedziela" 20/2011

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: