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Op-Ed: Who did nothing to help that plane crash?

The Polish President’s plane crash in April 10th 2010, national trauma and loss of the top bureaucrats of the state consolidated the whole nation in painful process of mourning that followed soon after. The questions of who, what and how asked by many politicians from the opposite sides and average people on the street demanded quick explanations. The Russian side was working on the report but in opinion of many Poles they were delaying the results of the investigation.
This obviously caused a whole array of emotions up to creating a bunch of senseless conspiracy theories about the Russians killing the crash victims at the very moment of the crash. A few months after the crash, the whole event introduced a strong divide in the whole nation due to the politicians’ games who wanted to cash their capital on that crash, the brother of the deceased Polish President Lech Kaczynski, Jaroslaw, included.
A month ago, the Russians provided the report that was “unacceptable” for the Polish government and everybody was expecting for some time to pass until the Russians would come up with their new version of the report that would more satisfy Polish side. To a surprise of the many, the commission came up with their results in time as little as more than a month since its “unacceptable” version was published. Thus, the report turned out to be incomplete. That’s right – incomplete – as there’s really too little time to make it complete to satisfy many experts that still ask fundamental questions, both technical and political. What’s more, its “final” version was attacked by many Polish officials who got offended by the fact that it mostly blames Polish side for the crash. It particularly blames the commander-in-chief of Polish military Air Forces, allegedly drunk general Andrzej Blasik, for interfering the Presidential plane crew by pressing on them to land in bad weather in spite of having known about it from the Russian controllers before the landing.
The MAK Commission report is incomplete but what’s complete in Polish version of the tragic events of April 10, 2010 to sleep well with the accusations of the Russian side for the accident?

The grave of Arkadiusz Protasiuk  the major pilot of the plane that crashed near Smolensk on April 1...

The grave of Arkadiusz Protasiuk, the major pilot of the plane that crashed near Smolensk on April 10th, 2010, cemetery in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, near Warsaw, Poland.

Many Polish experts agree that this very plane had no right to take off from Warsaw on that very date. They turn everyone’s attention to the fact that the lower-class airfield in Smolensk was not prepared to accept the presidential plane. Generally speaking, Polish experts agree that there were no appropriate procedures that regulate that kind of presidential escapade and point out that the right procedures to land for the Presidential plane had to be prepared by Polish military officials who were neglecting this fact for many years. Many point their fingers to Polish Defence Minister for lack the right procedures that caused another military crash a few years ago and say that there’s sufficient reason for the Defense Minister Bogdan Klich to resign. Now the Military delays statutory payments for the military families who lost their members in that crash while on duty. This again puts these guys in a very bad light in the eyes of many people.

Captain Arkadiusz Protasiuk  the pilot of the crashed plane.

Captain Arkadiusz Protasiuk, the pilot of the crashed plane.
Renata Bee

They agree that the crew was “pressed” from within the plane itself. The presidential delegation wanted to complete its mission to lay wrath in cemetery in Katyn on time. During foggy weather the Russian flight controllers suggested to divert the flight to airfield in either Minsk or Moscow but it would have been too late for the President to take part in the ceremony when taking additional time to travel by train, either from Moscow or Minsk. What’s interesting, though, Polish crashed president already had his infamous record of pressing on the plane crew to change the decision while traveling to war torn Georgia few years ago. That time nothing happened but this time it could have been too much. On the other hand they point out that the Russian controllers were pressed by others who were present in their control tower during the Polish President’s plane was landing. Why did this happen that way? Because there were no procedures in place and regulating as to who was responsible and for what when helping the plane to land. Responsibility as to if the airport Sieviernyj in Smolensk was to be right place to take the Presidential plane was on Polish side since former Polish president Kwasniewski was landing there several years ago.

Lights and candles to commemorate the victims of the presidential plane crash.

Lights and candles to commemorate the victims of the presidential plane crash.
Renata Bee

A bit of light on the whole case can be shed by having the satellite cell phone conversation, shortly before the crash between the two brothers, President Lech Kaczynski on the plane and his grounded brother Jaroslaw, recorded in the Echelon system. But the Americans once said they wouldn’t publish these conversations and no wonder, they have their obvious reasons to do this. What if the result of the conversation turns out that there’s no blame on the Russian side but the rush on Polish one?
Two Polish journalists (Jan Osiecki and Tomasz Bialoszewski) along with the military expert for military transportation, col. Robert Latkowski, investigated the tragic case and wrote a book “The last flight”. They say that they agree in 95% with the Russian version of the report but they strongly disagree that “the drunk general made the Presidential plane crash”. In that context they also add that general Blasik was a passenger of the crashed plane and not its pilot. They say that the Polish investigating commission didn’t notice a sign of alcohol in Russian air controllers. So the question remains – could the general, the first pilot of Poland, enter the cockpit of that plane as a passenger? Yes, he could. Especially when using his general’s rank in absence of procedures regulating both civilian and military mission to Smolensk. The journalists say that the pilots’ duty is to avoid landing in bad weather but to which degree their line of duty was disturbed by the general wearing the same uniform while trying to enter the cockpit is still unknown, or is it?

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Renata Bee

Pardon me, not that really unknown. The general’s wife, when defending his honor at the time of publishing the Russian report said that her husband wanted to take the Holy Communion during the catholic mass in Katyn. All this in the name of his brother’s wife’s granddad that, as a soldier of the Home Army, died during the war. The catholic mass was planned to be a big celebration on that day as the crashed plane had 12% of their passengers consisting of high rank of clergy of different faiths, catholic mostly.
They all couldn’t have missed that event, they all didn’t want to travel by train and come several hours later. They wanted to be on time to honour 20,000 of those who lost their life 70 years ago when being killed by Russian KGB and found their graves next to them.

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