Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dancing with the Devil -- or Boinked by the Bolsheviks?

Don't rush to absolve Russians in the plane crash that killed all the top leaders of Poland.  One must consider the source of the news coming out -- Russian.  We don't know that the crash was rigged, but it is consistent with past Soviet/Russian/KGB operations, and remains a definite possibility.  Certainly, one must give weight to incompetence -- but who was flying the plane?  A Polish pilot or a Russian?  Who was in the control tower?  A Russian or a Pole?  Where was the airport?  In Russia or Poland? How do we know the account is true that the control tower warned them away?

 "... its dangerously sharp descent on the last attempt... They estimated after the tragedy that it was off course not only vertically but also horizontally by 150 meters"

Perhaps.  Even in the U.S. accidents of this kind can happen, but almost always only when there is severe wind shear and microburst downdrafts.  This is also consistent with somebody having tampered with the flight instruments. Or with the instrument landing system (ILS), or -- with the signals transmitted from the ground which tell the plane (and the pilot) he is on a proper glideslope.  It would be *extemely* easy to transmit false glideslope signals -- or not -- and put one pilot on a wrong descent path, and another on a proper one. And who would know? A portable transmitter briefly set in position, then carried away afterwards.

So I wouldn't rush to give the benevolent benefit of the doubt to what is, let's face it, a totalitarian country, run by a former communist and KGB spy, who is known to kill his enemies.

We may never know,  but for those who are philosophically predisposed to discount conspiracy theories in favor of the popular press accounts, we have a philosophical issue: what is a "fact" that we may reach any conclusion upon?  Right now we don't have many facts.  Do we have any?  How do we know it was even foggy?  Well, that one seems likely -- it is too hard to fake severe weather for so many people, and weather reports can be checked, etc.

But how do we know the control tower's account is correct that they attempted to wave them off?  They were landing at a Russian military airfield.  The report of attempts to wave off the plane came from Russian sources, etc.  For all we know, that control tower could have been exhorting the pilot to land, rather than waving him off, to make sure he was taking a terrible risk.  It's reported that the previous plane attempting to land was Russian.  How do you know that?  Russian sources.

The satellite photos of the Smolensk airfield and surrounding area are surprisingly good. About 6 inch resolution.  This place is as flat as it gets. Look at the terrain map on  Or go to Google Earth for a more realistic perspective. Type in "Smolensk, Russia".   The airfield is clearly 110% military -- note the aircraft.  (Note also the very poor maintenance of the runway -- weeds grown through everywhere. Not like any airbase I was ever on.) Reports said they crashed a mile from the runway.  I'm guessing from the west.  Even in fog, with a properly working ILS, I don't see a major problem reaching that runway in flat terrain with properly working ILS.

News reports are now saying the Russians didn't open the black box till the Poles arrived.  Just remember -- It was a Russian plane.  Pretty easy to fake/substitute another black box when you made the plane.

All of the information coming out now is Russian, and all came through the Russian military and the Russian government. We then get it from the AP or Washington Post or NYTimes (those bastions of objectivity), who got it from a Russian news agency, who got it from the Russian government, who got it ....?

So why would Putin have wanted Kaczynski dead?

... "He was a very brave Polish patriot who stood up for freedom. 'He suffered hugely under communism and always stood up for his beliefs, and for his great faith in his country."
...The country sent troops to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and recently boosted its contingent in Afghanistan to some 2,600 soldiers.
U.S. Patriot missiles are expected to be deployed in Poland this year. That was a Polish condition for a 2008 deal - backed by both Kaczynski and Tusk - to host long-range missile defence interceptors. The deal, which was struck by the Bush administration, angered Russia and was later reconfigured under President Barack Obama's administration.
...U.S. President Barack Obama: 'Devastating to Poland, to the United States, and to the world. President Lech Kaczynski was a distinguished statesman who played a key role in the Solidarity movement, and he was widely admired in the United States as a leader dedicated to advancing freedom and human dignity.'

It's interesting that only two days ago we signed a new treaty with Russia that agrees to eliminate 30% of our nuclear arsenal.  The Russians, however, give up nothing, since most of their nuclear arsenal is no longer working, and they just have to give up those parts.

So let's review the conspiracy theory:
1. Polish president, a long-time thorn in Putin's side;

2. Polish president visits Russia to commemorate Russian acknowledgment of Russian atrocities, flying Russian-made jetliner to Russian military base and crashes 1 mile short of runway in very flat terrain;

3. Obama inks nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia a few days ago and agrees to delay missile defence for Poland.

4. Putin has a long history of killing off the opposition.
I therefore invoke the Goldfinger Principle:  Once is happenstance, Twice is coincidence, Three times is enemy action.

From the perspective of foreign relations / etc, no one has an interest in exposing a mass murder.  Not the Polish government (what are they going to do?), nor the U.S (are we going to start a war over it?  Would Obama do anything to piss off his handlers in Moscow?).   True or not, the accident story will prevail, and in truth, this may be best--for now.  But if Putin gets away with it--assuming he did it--it will establish a very serious precident.

Seriously, doesn't all this have a 1939 feel to it?

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