SKETCHES OF SMOLEŃSK
Wiesława Lewandowska talks with Antoni Macierewicz about three pillars of propaganda vision of the Smolensk catastrophe, monopolizing contacts with the Russians and ‘nominating’ an accredited.
WIESŁAWA LEWANDOWSKA: - ‘On 10 April 2010 the aeroplane should not have taken off from Warsaw’ – this conclusion was passed by media from a still unpublished report of the Supreme Chamber of control, 21 months after the Smolensk catastrophe. Nothing new or does it rather raise your astonishment?
ANTONI MACIEREWICZ: - This publication of the Supreme Chamber of Control fully confirms analysis and conclusions which we presented last year in the White Book, and which concerns the responsibility of Bogdan Klich, the Minister of National Defence, as well as the responsibility of the director of Government Protection Bureau – and what follows it – the minister of Minister of Interior and Administration, Jerzy Miller. There are also basic accusations resulting from the published summary of the conclusions of the Supreme Chamber of Control, directed against the director of the Chancellor of the Prime Minister Tomasz Arabski, and the Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski. However, I am astonished by the fact that the publication had a partial character and did not include the whole analysis. It was the first such case when the Supreme Chamber of Control passes the summary of its report to media, at the same time not presenting the conclusions from the whole analysed material. During the investigation of the Smolensk tragedy, the Supreme Chamber of Control was controlling the work of seven organizational units of the country, but it quickly published only the results of control over the Leadership of Air Forces and 36 of Special Regiment of Transport Aviation. In the beginning, we did not receive materials of the other five units, for example, the Chancellor of the Prime Minister. There are not any results of the National Defence Ministry either...There is still a dispute over a range of responsibility of the management of the Government Protection Bureau, as well as the Ministry of Interior and Administration, but the government of Tusk is defending gen. Janicki at any cost. It is astonishing because the rule are explicit and impose the responsibility for safety of the President of the Polish Republic at foreign airports too, on the minister of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, the director of the Government Protection Bureau and the director of the operation. This unclear situation is a result of an ambiguous way of the publication of the report of the Supreme Chamber of Control.
The fact is that such a selective way of presenting the report of the Supreme Chamber of Control directly brings an old thesis about the fault of the pilots.
It does, indeed. An impression was made that most faults were on the side of the pilots and the Leadership of Air Forces. Therefore, this way of presentation is simply dishonest. After all, it is known, that not a mess and not a problem connected with the training of the pilots were the reason for the tragedy. When we analyse the newest reading of the sound track from the cockpit of the authorship of the Institute of Forensic Expertises of Professor Jan Sehn from Kraków, we see that the thesis about the mess and nervousness in the cockpit was simply a Russian construction of propaganda, which aimed at attacking the Polish pilots. However, it was completely the other way round – in the cockpit there was an absolute peace. It is worth reminding that the atmosphere in the cockpit was a subject of remarks made by the minister Bogdan Klich during a conversation recorded secretly by Edmund Klich. Mr. Minister says that he is shocked mostly by the fact that the pilots ‘are reading altitudes so peacefully till the end, in conviction that they are flying correctly’, whereas they were reaching altitudes in a way extremely peaceful because, in fact, they were flying correctly till that moment.
After 21 months, besides the press sample of e report by the Supreme Chamber of Control, scientific expertises appeared, although they were not groundbreaking but changing and broadening the knowledge about the catastrophe. However, during the investigation led by the Russian MAK the Polish accredited Edmund Klich carelessly states on TV that there has not been an earlier necessity to carry out exact laboratory analysis because the matter after the investigation was obvious.
Mr Edmund Klich, when often asked whether the aeroplane wing had been investigated or whether analysis had been done, used to repeat that they had not because the Russians had already done it and it was known that the wing had hit at the birch, got torn away and that’s it.... This ignoring and trivializing everything, even one’s duties, is dramatic and unclear, as well as changing everything only into the dimension and effect of propaganda, but not scientific or analytical. And repeating it for 12 months...
Today Edmund Klich considers himself to be persecuted by governing politicians...
I do not think so, although there must have been some misunderstandings. When I look at the action by the colonel Klich from the beginning of the tragedy it seems to me that at any cost he wanted to cause a situation when nobody apart from him would have an access to information or data about the catastrophe. How has his characteristic conflict with the procurator Krzysztof Parulski appeared – both men were aiming at developing their own competence and monopolising contacts with the Russians.
What does it prove?
It proves the fact that both men are officers representing an old school of relationships with the Russians, in which the direct access to ‘emperor’s ear’ was the most important. In the case of Edmund Klich it worked. During the first hour after the tragedy he received a phone call from the proxy of the director of MAK Andrzej Morozow; therefore, he was accredited and was holding the post as a chairman of the National Commission for Air Accidents Investigation for a long time. Undoubtedly, in the Smoleńsk tragedy, it was the Russians who determined not only legal and organizational conditions of investigating the catastrophe, but they also undertook the most important personal decisions. It was them who ‘nominated’ those who in Poland decide about the evaluation of the tragedy and, thanks to it, they gain results which are useful for them.
It is a very depressing theory and accusation!
Unfortunately, it is and facts confirm it. In my opinion, for example, the procurator Parulski, the director of the Military Procurators did not completely adjust to the binding rules resulting from the code of criminal behaviour: the protection of the accident place, the protection of guarantee of the exteriority of the aeroplane debris and all evidences (mainly the black boxes). It is a duty of the procurator Parulski to investigate the place and victims’ corpses of the catastrophe and to supervise the corpse section and at least to guarantee the active participation in this procedure by Polish representatives...As it is known, only the corpse section of president Lech Kaczyński was carried out in Smolensk, in the presence of Poles. The Colonel Parulski did not allow Polish procurators to do the corpse section with the Russians of other victims which had been transported to Moscow.
However, might it have been because of the definite objection by the Russians?
There was not any objection. The attitude of the president Miedwiediew and the atmosphere of the discussion between Polish and Russian procurators in Smolensk on the day of the catastrophe, lasting from 11pm to 1am prove that the Russian procurators were ready to guarantee this participation on the Polish side. The result of the common discussion was a conclusion that Polish procurators would be able to participate in all legal actions. And, therefore, till 13 April there were common hearings of witnesses, and, thanks to it, we managed to gain very essential information for this matter.
Do you accuse Polish procurators of their faults and carelessness?
Yes, I do. The procurator Krzysztof Parulski, first of all, did not make any effort to make Polish procurators investigate the place of the tragedy. Now, there is a discussion about where the body of the late gen. Błasik was found. Determining this place was supposed to be an evidence for his presence in the cockpit. If we had at least a situational sketch made by Polish procurators today, there would not be a problem with explicit judging this matter. However, we do not have this kind of Polish documentation! We have only a very general Russian communicator stating in which sector the victim’s corpse was found.
The Russians probably have not made an exact sketch either... Since the very beginning we have been willing to blame the Russian mess...
I have a different opinion on this issue. Knowing the Russians, however, I think that they made a very exact sketch but only for their advantage. The characteristic feature for the Russian country is the fact that the mess and chaos exist outside. And this state is shown not only to discourage but also to make it impossible for our society and foreign observers to undertake any attempts of identifying a real situation. I am sure that the Russian authority has a full and precise knowledge about the matter of the Smolensk catastrophe.
And doesn’t the Polish authority care about the knowledge?
It seems so, because as long as the Russian apparatus – the one connected with aviation and safety and the apparatus of propaganda – was very well-prepared for this critical situation, the Polish side did not pass the exam, and completely....got subjected to Russia. The Russians knew at once what to say, what thesis to formulate, who to activate on the Polish side, to whom give information and who to promote. The Polish side turned out to be completely helpless, especially in the respect of the dependence of the state apparatus, and readiness of getting subjected to Russian demands.
In Poland – surely to the joy of Russia – we are still fighting for the Smolensk truth...Official Polish experts and commentators blamed the element of the Russian fault and willingly focus on the criticism of the investigations done by the Seym Team under your leadership; there are accusations about incompetence against the experts, who are questioning the decisions of MAK and the commission of Miller.
While it is completely the other way round. Because what is really shocking is the fact that the report of Miller which is an official attitude of the government of the Prime Minister Tusk, was based on the materials which are not from scientific expertises; neither a Polish expert, witness or technician were investigating the wreckage of the aeroplane!
But the governmental report of Miller closes the matter in the consciousness of many Poles. Media willingly repeated that Poles had already been tired of Smolensk.
They got tired because we have been dealing with a propaganda which is harmful for Poland than a careful investigation for twelve months. The torn away wing by the ‘armoured birch’ and gen. Błasik were created into three pillars of propaganda vision of the reason for the catastrophe. While neither the wing of the aeroplane, nor the birch had ever been investigated by Poles properly. And today it is sad to mention the harm which was done to Poland when the information about the ‘drunk general who had enforced landing’ has spread all over the world. Luckily, at least in this matter, after the new reading of the recorded conversations in the cockpit done by the Institute of Forensic Expertises of Professor Jan Sehn - we have clear information: we know that there is no voice of the general on the tape.
But it does not mean that the thesis of possible pressures on the crew by the general was violated....
What is disgusting is the fact how strong Stalin’s construction is being created, which says that although his voice was not recognized, there is no evidence that the general was not in the cockpit. And what’s more – Polish supporters of the theory of pressure are going further than the Russians and draw a conclusion about the presence of the general in the cockpit on the basis of the fact that his body was found in the so-called first sector. As they write further, in the same sector where the body of the navigator captain Ziętek was found, Polish procurators are more fervent and say that the body of gen. Błasik was found near the body of captain Ziętek. After all, there is no evidence for it. And no procurator has got or seen it!
So, if the latest reading does not register the voice of gen. Błasik at all, how did the latest reading happen? Who identified the voice of the general?
It is an important question when we want to reach to sources and describe the mechanisms of the Smolensk tragedy. The first Polish reading of the recorded voice in the cockpit was published on 2 June 2010. Among people taking part in the investigation of the sound track, Waldemar Targolski stated bravely: ‘Yes, I have taken part in it, but when I came, these voices had already been identified’. The hearing of these tapes was also attended in by the colonel Bartosz Stroiński of the 36 regiment, who did not sign this transcript. The identification of the voice of the general was also attended by Zbigniew Rzepa from the Military Procurators who is stubbornly keeping silent now. In my opinion it is a significant silence...
So, how was the general’s voice recognised?
It is a really interesting riddle. We must consider here a testimony of the vice-president of a technical commission investigating the catastrophe, Maciej Lasek, who said that it had not been acknowledged that the voice of gen. Błasik had been recorded in the expertise of the Central Criminal Laboratory of the year 2010, but it was acknowledged by the Commission on the basis of situational context that certain words can be assigned to the general. So, Mr Lasek took on the responsibility for assigning gen. Błasik’s words which became the basis for accusations against him and this completely fictional construction of the course of events.
Didn’t anybody recognise the voice of gen. Błasik physically and literally?
No, but nobody wants to admit to it.
It turns out that on both sides of the ‘Smolensk barricade’ there is a strange fright. Why do most scientists connected with the Seym Team generally prefer to maintain anonymous? What are they afraid of?
I would say it in this way: on the one side of this barricade there is ordinary cowardice and opportunism, and on the other side - there is a consciousness of risk and fright. Our co-operators are mainly afraid of the attacks from media, restricting their possibility for further scientific, political and social activities. It cannot be concealed that in this matter there is a special media and political terror. It was only groundbreaking investigations of our American experts that changed the situation. Their publications in the Seym, and later on the Television ‘Trwam’, forced other media to report the decisions of the Team and Professor Nowaczyk, Professor Binienda and Professor Czachora. Since then, the atmosphere has been changing, especially that these results go together with the conclusions coming from the expertises of the recordings of the black boxes, done by the Institute of Forensic Expertises in Krakow.
Wiesława Lewandowska talked with Antoni Macierewicz. The interview was carried out at the end of January 2012.