- The Smolensk Conferences. A Preliminary Summary and Conclusion
- NEW STUDY: Putin's Russian inquiry into the Polish Air Force One crash in Smolensk
- 15 simple facts the world should know
- Smolensk Reader's Digest. 23 pages, all the facts.
- Polish Military Intelligence was warned of a possible terrorist threat against one of the EU Member States' aircraft.
- Story behind the "1:24"
The information provided below is limited as much as possible to sources from the Polish Prosecution, Military Prosecution and governmental officials. Findings of international, independent academics and investigative journalists will be limited as much as possible in the text below.
The plane was carrying the Chief of the Armed Forces and the entire General Army Command of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland.
- Lech Kaczynski, President of the Republic of Poland and Chief of the Armed Forces,
- Gen. Franciszek Gągor, Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces,
- Lt. Gen. Tadeusz Buk, Commander in Chief of the Land Forces,
- Gen. Andrzej Blasik, Commander in Chief of the Air Forces,
- Fleet Admin. Andrzej Karweta, Commander in Chief of the Polish Navy,
- Lt. Gen. Włodzimierz Potasiński, Commander in Chief of the Special Forces,
- Gen. Bronisław Kwiatkowski, Operational Commander of the Armed Forces,
- Maj. Gen. Kazimierz Gilarski, Commander of the Warsaw Garrison.
- - The Polish Supreme Military Prosecution Office disclosed an official opinion drawn up by their experts indicating that General Andrzej Błasik (Commander of the Polish Air Force at the time), the crew of Tu-154M were fully sober at the time of the Smolensk crash and did not interfere on the operation of the flight crew. In its final report drawn up in January 2011, the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) stated that Gen. Błasik had a blood-alcohol level of 0.06%. Military Prosecutor's Office also confirmed that Gen. Andrzej Blasik had no effect on the operation of the flight crew and that after analysing the cabin voice recordings the stenographic records showed there was no pressure or any interference in the work of the cabin crew. The voice, previously attributed to Gen. Błasik, actually belonged to the second pilot, Major Robert Grzywna.
- - Smolensk - no longer a conspiracy theory since 2012. On the 5th December 2012, Military investigators admitted to Polish Members of Parliament during an official sitting of the Justice Committee that detectors used in Smolensk traced/detected explosive materials on the wreckage of the plane [VIDEO] 5th December Justice Committee transcript in POL http://youtu.be/iuM9dMTLF-E and translation in ENG of the actual Military Prosecutors' statement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6hoQ2NIoGA. Furthermore, a number of relatives of the victims have come together and sought collectively independent analysis of the personal belonging of their loved ones. These analyses have independently confirmed presence of traces of explosive materials on the belongings of the victims.
- - In reference to an article published in the weekly newsmagazine “Do Rzeczy”, the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office issued a statement admitting that in addition to TNT, devices used in Smolensk by polish authorities detected on the wreckage of the plane nitro compounds, octogen (HMX) and hexogen (RDX)
- - Before the Tu154M departure to Smolensk, the Polish Military Intelligence Service received notice in April 2010 of a possible abduction/hijacking threat to one of the EU Member States' planes. On April 9, 2010, the Anti-Terrorist Centre sent a notice of a possible terrorist attack to the Military Counterintelligence Centre, the Internal Security Agency and the Government Protection Bureau. In a written statement the Military Intelligence acknowledged that it received information and was warned of a possible terrorist threat against one of the EU Member States' aircraft. Further, Colonel Andrzej Pawlikowski, former chief of the Government Protection Bureau, clarified in an interview that "according to the information I obtained, our secret services received notice from one of the intelligence agencies operating in the territory of the European Union that one of the aircrafts may be hijacked. It concerned an aircraft carrying one of the EU Member States' leaders."
- The airport in Smolensk has not been at any point investigated nor has it undergone any security clearance by the Polish Governmental Protection Bureau having been refused entry by Russian authorities. Nevertheless, the flight was given green light for take-off and went ahead. Furthermore, the Polish Ministry of Defence did not provide the military Generals on board the plane with protection. No military team or task force was sent to Smolensk, no military or Governmental Protection Bureau officer were present on the landing strip when the plane crashed.
- Over an hour before the approach of the presidential Tu-154M plane to the Smolensk airport, a Russian Il-76 plane supposedly carrying transportation and protection for the presidential delegation, touched the landing strip with its wheels but ultimately pulled up before slowing down and flew away. To this day there is no explanation for this event (The plane was supposedly, carrying vehicles and protection officers, according to one of the Smolensk control tower staff).
- During the crash, there were no Polish Government Protection Bureau (BOR) officers, and there were no cars or transport waiting for the delegation on the landing strip, ready to take them from the airport to the Katyn memorial site, or any journalists waiting for the Polish delegation. There were no pyrotechnics at the airport designated to the check the cars. The lack of transport for the 96 member delegation should have been notified to a BOR superior (who was not there) and in turn to the Minister of the Interior and Administration. There should have been at least 12 vehicles ready to transport the delegation from the airport to the Katyn memorial site with at least two Russian vehicles - one opening and one closing the column. According to transcripts of the recorded tower voice conversations, cars along with protection for the Polish delegation were inside the Il-76 plane, which, unfortunately, for unknown reasons, did not land, with the pilots only touching the landing strip with the wheels but eventually picking up the plane and flying away (over an hour before the Tu154 approach). Since the Il-76, supposedly carrying transportation and protection for the delegation, for unknown reasons did not land, over an hour before the Tu-154M, then why was the Polish crew not informed of this and why was the polish presidential plane not diverted and given permission to descend, supposedly to a 100 meters (according to witnesses - 50 meters, thus breaching regulation) and make a landing approach?
- The crew of the plane was wrongly informed by the Russian tower about the course and glide path – in fact, the plane was above the gliding path and of course (discrepancy in 700-800 meters), despite being reassured throughout by the tower of their correct position. The control tower told the crew their position was 800 meters closer to the runway. The control tower until the last moment reassured the crew of their correct position – no flight corrections were made by the tower. Air traffic controllers in Smolensk, despite weather conditions and poor visibility failed to close down the airport. On the day, flight guidance from the Smolensk-Severny airport was dealt with by four Russian army officers: Colonel Nikolai Kransokutski (commanding officer on the day at the main tower in Smolensk), Lt.-Col Paweł Plusin, Major Wiktor Ryzenko and Major W. W. Łubancew. During the flight, Lt.-Col. Plusin conducted on-going telephone consultations with the on duty emergency operator of the Air Force Military Transport Headquarters Command Unit of the Russian Federation in Moscow - Codenamed "Logic". Whereas, Col. Krasnokutski conducted on-going consultations with the headquarters in Tver and the Air Force Command in Moscow. As a result of these discussions and consultations, the airport was not closed and the TU154 was not diverted to an alternative airport.
- - Jerzy Artymiak, the Chief Military Prosecutor has stated that the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office has not ruled out the possibility of third party deliberate involvement in Smolensk - a case still being investigated by Polish prosecutors. "At present, none of the investigated options, including the option of potential intentional action of third parties, which could lead to the crash, has not been ruled out yet and all of them are being examined"– wrote Jerzy Artymiak. "The present status of investigation does not enable us to specify even the approximate date of termination of investigation”. According to the Chief Military Prosecutor, substantial termination of the case “depends on the reception of all evidence and materials from competent bodies of the Russian Federation and on obtaining many opinions from investigators”.
- - All original evidence, including the wreckage and black boxes (property of the Poland) are still in the hands of Russian authorities. From the start, Polish authorities worked on copies made by Russian authorities of the original evidence material. These copies were such that the Polish Prosecution openly admitted that they were unable to use them or perform any operations. On numerous occasions the Polish Prosecution had to turn to Russian authorities with requests for better quality copies. The wreckage had been destroyed, cut, moved and dropped on a nearby stripe at the Smolensk Airport where it has been kept to this day exposed to weather conditions. The Polish committee based its report almost exclusively on the information received from the Russians (with black boxes and wreckage still being in Russia today). The committee did not even have access to the basic evidence necessary to conduct a thorough examination (e.g. the wreckage and black boxes). It only had copies of some evidence selected by the Russians.
- - The coffins of the victims have been sealed in Russia and never allowed to be opened, once in Poland. Polish authorities did not participate in post mortem examinations in Moscow. Burials in Poland were performed without any prior autopsies. Within 4 years, so far, 9 exhumations of Smolensk victims have been carried out in Poland, with 6 bodies buried in the wrong graves and one body still missing - the location of the body of legendary Solidarity co-founder Anna Walentynowicz is still unknown, despite relatives identifying the body personally in Moscow. No DNA identification has taken place. Now, family members of all the victims cannot be certain as to the location of their relatives. The Polish military prosecutor's office has not ruled out the possibility of further exhumations in the near future. So far, the exhumations have been undertaken under the prosecutions own initiative and judgment, systematically refusing such requests to relatives.
- - Illegality of the Polish committee: The Polish committee investigating the circumstances of the Smolensk crash was created and operated pursuant to provisions that are contradictory to Polish aviation law and with the Polish committee being illegal, its final report has no legal basis. Conflict of interests: Parties responsible for preparing and organising the flight, were the actual authors of the final Polish governmental report. Aspects of flight preparation: in cases where the President of the republic of Poland requests a flight to a certain destination, his Chancellery issues an official request for the preparation of the flight to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. In accordance with Polish law and procedures, the preparation of state flight rests with the Chancellery of the Polish Prime Minister, the Ministry of Interior (supervising the Government Protection Bureau), the Ministry of Defence (owner of the Tu154M plane) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Polish committee that was to clarify the causes and circumstances of the crash was headed by Jerzy Miller, the Minister of the Interior. A recent court ruling states that there has been negligence in the preparation of the flight.
- - A report, by the only Polish accredited to the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK), former Chairman of the Polish State Commission on Aircraft Accidents Investigation (SCAAI), Col. Edmund Klich claimed that the Russian authorities were to blame for the death of 96 people on board the Tu-154M. The report, drafted on November 30, 2010, is a catalogue of final comments to the Russian draft report and investigation. In it, Edmund Klich believes that the Russian IAC/MAK report must be rejected in its entirety, among others due to lack of professionalism, cooperation and manipulation. The Russian and Polish side, both failed to consider the final remarks drafted by the only accredited to the Russian investigation and were ignored in both their final conflicting reports that blamed the pilots and bad weather conditions for the crash.
- - Former Polish expert accredited to the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) Edmund Klich admitted on Polish RMF FM radio on 16.04.2012 that there was a tendency to direct the investigation into a human error factor and blame the pilots. He complained about the lack of support from the Polish government to those present at the scene in Russia. “This was my impression, during my stay at the scene, [...] receiving phone calls from different Ministries, [...] that there was a tendency to point and believe in pilots error, and that they should be presented as responsible. [...] The experts that were with me in Smolensk did inspect the wreckage, at least some of them did, but in fact it was rather a visual inspection than examining [...] but they never showed any factual results of their work.” – said Edmund Klich. Klich also complained about the lack of support from the Polish government whilst his stay in Russia. “I think the biggest mistake was a lack of support from Warsaw to all those present at the scene; firstly in Smolensk, secondly in Moscow [...] In fact there was no support at all; neither legal nor otherwise. When we passed on information that we had not been delivered from the Russians data we required and which was due under Annex13 of Chicago Convention there was no reaction and the issue was not publicised. It was evident that the Russian breached an agreement they accepted in the first place”. said Klich.
- - Every year Warsaw hosts a two day conference on the Smolensk incident, with the participation of a large number of independent academics, scientists, experts and relatives of the Smolensk plane crash - a third conference of this type took place in October 2014, with the second and first organised respectively back in October 2013 and 2012. All three conferences were independently initiated and financed by the Polish academic scientific community and were attended by worldwide academics, scientists, independent scholars, experts and researches; presenting their cases in respective fields. All participants unanimously agreed that the fundamental flaws lie in the fact that Smolensk plane crash has never actually been investigated, that the official versions behind the April 10th, 2010 presented in both Polish and Russian report raised sever doubts concerning credibility and that the investigations were carried under Russian guidance - with the study of evidence and investigation dictated by Russian authorities. After 4 years since the crash findings indicate without any doubt that the TU154M aircraft was destroyed by detonations on board the plane and that the official Russian and Polish governmental investigations of the disaster from the very beginning were nothing short of a scandal. Both reports appear to have been scribbled down in ambiguous circumstances, both are contradictory in their findings, many of which have been proven to be false and unfounded, subsequently giving a misleading picture and set of circumstances into the death of 96 Polish and EU citizens.
The Smolensk case is very complex and detailed but not a day has gone by in Poland without a Smolensk story in the Polish press. However, today, thanks to the work and own initiative of many worldwide independent academics and investigative journalists details of the actual events have been made available to the Polish public opinion.
The plane made one approach; the crew descended the plane to a decisive height of 100m and decided to "go-around" (official term used for pulling-up and circling around the airport). The crew began this manoeuvre. This process is reflected in the flight trajectory recorded in TAWS and FMS data, as also in the cabin voice recordings, where the command to circle the airport around was given by the Captain to stop descent - i.e. not to attempt a landing approach - all in the manner generally accepted, appropriately and according to regulations. The Captain's command to "go-around" was repeated by the second pilot. However, the plane continued its descent. As the aircraft was beginning to gain altitude two explosions occurred - one on the left wing and another in the passenger section.
The pilots of the Tu154M were military pilots, with the 1st and 2nd pilot with individually over 3.5 thousand hours of flight behind them. The crew was well-integrated and understood each other well – they flew together a few dozen times, including a really difficult flight from Haiti over the Atlantic with a damaged autopilot module, when they piloted the plane manually for 14 hours, including three refuelling stops. The crew knew Russian perfectly, as until recently, learning Russian was obligatory in the Polish military air force. The 1st pilot Captain Protasiuk flew 30 times to Russia and the Ukraine.
Further reading: The Smolensk Reader's Digest. 23 pages, all the facts.