The truth behind the Smoleńsk catastrophe is far too unnerving for the West according to German investigative journalist, Jurgen Roth.
SCND: June 20, 2015
Jürgen Roth, a German investigative journalist and the author of Verschussakte S. (Secret File “S”: Smoleńsk) sat with Olga Dolesniak-Harczuk to discuss his newly published book and his thoughts on the Smoleńsk plane catastrophe. “Smoleńsk was an indirect message from Russia proving that if necessary, they have the capability of getting rid of whoever they want and whenever they see fit. Of course, I still believe that we may never really uncover the full truth, however what’s done is done and the message is clear: for Russia, nothing is impossible.”
In your book you mentioned that a high ranking Polish politician engaged in talks with the general of the Russian Federal Security Service D. Jurijow. The book however does not outright reveal that politician’s identity. Was there anybody in particular that you had in mind?
I would not be able to divulge that information even though that individual’s name was in fact revealed by Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) own report. The legal barriers simply would not allow me to publish that information. The report contains what exactly was conveyed by each dispatcher, from the Polish side and the Russian side. These notes were prepared by a BND employee based on two separate accounts by two individuals who were not associated with each other in any way and yet somehow both arrived at the same conclusion. The report was later handed to someone higher up in the organization. Whatever happened to that report subsequently is anyone’s guess.
Just so there’s no confusion as to what the report reveals; was there in fact evidence that the word came from within Poland to set out and …
And the supposed explosive materials within the TU-154M? According to the report such an implementation would not be possible without the collaboration of Polish forces, do you stand with those claims?
I described what the sources all pointed to and that is what they confirmed.
Any specific details?
In respect to…
Well, since there were 2 informants, did the BND report record what each of them wrote?
Only a summary of their testimonies was available. So, I cited that text which contained information on who exactly ordered this operation to move forward, which individual from the Russian service responded and collaborated with the Polish side, and finally the information on where the center of this operation was located. There were even digital scans of the identification cards, one Russian, one Polish belonging to the two informants cooperating with the BND official. This document was genuine. One thing that cannot be stressed enough is that since this is a documenting from the intelligence service, you have to tread lightly. You can either believe that everything in that document is trustworthy or a complete fabrication. I, for one am convinced that everything in the document is trustworthy.
It’s texts are in tune with all the implications and signs that point to an airborne explosion.
The claims you make in your book are rather serious, almost provoking though not surprising according to some Poles. Do you expect the government to comment, do you expect the Polish prosecutors to seek to verify you version of the story?
And do what exactly? If anything, I’m sure they’ll simply move my book into the fantasy genre. One of the Polish ministers has already reacted along those lines. The government will of course monitor and follow any new information that surfaces and any actions that might follow, however nothing much more will be done. Meanwhile the BND will most likely search day and night for the actual sources that appear on BND employee’s notes and try to reach them. That is why this document cannot be disavowed, it really does exist.
I somehow get the feeling that, it not for your book - a book published for German readers, Smoleńsk would have remained exclusively Polish issue even though it remains an unsolved incident of great international significance. You like to talk about puzzles and how pieces make up a larger picture. This puzzle however is rather startling. It’s been 5 years. Will the world finally break through the conspiracy of silence that encapsulates this tragic event?
It has been garnering more and more attention ever since 2010. The delay in any progress was accredited to good relations between Western Europe and Moscow with Putin and Medvedev driving the narrative. Nowadays Putin is associated with lies and manipulative politics and consequently the international community should let Moscow know their dissatisfaction and demand coherent, concise answers. But while Europe and the US should come together to straighten out this issue, it isn’t an easy task. PM Donald Tusk wields influence in Europe and maintains cozy relations with Angela Merkel. Elmar Brok, a self-described defender of human rights officially declared his acceptance of Russia’s gathered facts in the Smoleńsk investigation. All in all, a sad state of affairs and quite a problem. I think that the opposing side that rejects the Russian version should also be considered, yet no one in the West wants to know the truth. No doubt, anyone familiar with what goes on knows very well how Putin would react if he were to ever been forced into an uncomfortable position. Political interests aside, nobody wants to poke the bear, so they simply stand idly by as lies are spewed and associations are forged with entities more criminal than his own.
In one of your fragments, dedicated to late President Lech Kaczyński, you wrote that Kaczyński annoyed Russia to put it lightly, the Kremlin must not have been amused by his economic and energy plans such as attempting to eradicate Poland’s dependence on Russian gas or his moves to estimate potential Polish shale gas supplies.
That could have been one of the motives. After all, Kaczyński never signed the lopsided contract with Gazprom. It was Donald Tusk who finally sealed the deal. But that still remains only one of the reasons the plan was set into motion. Unfortunately, we’re trapped in a loop of speculations simply because far too much has been stifled and hidden away.
Interestingly enough there have been leaks from the military prosecutors, a radio station revealed some new stenograms from the TU-154 M cockpit. They were read out from a recorded copy from the plane, the originals of course are still in Russia. All of this was published a day before your books premiere, perhaps a coincidence?
A rather funny yet shameful shot at propaganda of which I’m quite aware. It’s as if only now someone has come up with the technology to playback the recording from the cockpit and as usual General Błasik is presented as the one who lingered in the cockpit and exerted pressure on the pilots. The alcohol story persists as well. Purportedly new revelations that lead back to the same Russian version of events. A maneuver like this can only hold up for so long, sooner or later we’ll find out who stands behind all of this, but for now it seems that the pilots and Błasik will bear the burden of guilt.
So what was the end goal of Smoleńsk?
Smoleńsk was supposed to show that when it comes to getting rid of someone, Russia always delivers. I for one still insist that we will never uncover the whole truth, but the fact remains that if Russia wished to demonstrate how far they can go and what they are willing to do, then the message is clear. I even write about hits and assassinations within Russia that the FSB was behind. Hundreds died by the hand of the FSB, and they have quite the résumé. Smoleńsk was a prelude to what they are capable of in Ukraine.
You also wrote about Bronisław Komorowski, how do you rate his attitude and decisions following the catastrophe?
I’d rather not tie all of that to the Smoleńsk catastrophe, however, his political behavior and tactics were somewhat worth noting. Komorowski was supposed to, if not actually played a critical role in regards to the Military Information Service. I mention in my book a report from the Military Information Services. Like I said earlier, it’s not really something to associate with the catastrophe itself, but Komorowski did indeed want to personally get his hands on that report.
A few months ago, Andreas Schockenhoff died. He was an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin and the only German politician who publicly questioned why the plane wreckage was still in Russian possession. A German politician with that sort of audacity doesn’t come along too often.
Schockenhoff was no amateur, he knew his way around Russian affairs, and putting the spotlight on Putin the way he did was quite bold, I don’t know anyone else who would pull a stunt like that. I’d like to believe that there are some remaining politicians within the CDU who at least tread lightly when it comes to Putin. Angela Merkel herself knows very well to be cautious in regards to Putin.
If it were a German delegation flying that morning and the president of Germany died instead, how would the investigation look like then?
You’d be looking at a competent investigation up to par with international standards. We would have a critical media that would never cozy up to the government or take sides. The problem with Poland is that it is divided by an indestructible iron curtain. The people are divided between Donald Tusk and Jarosław Kaczyński. It’s quite incredible and at the same time unbearable to watch. There’s no dialogue or intelligent exchange of opinion and thoughts or support from the one entity that has the capability and legal muscle to set the facts straight. This iron curtain divides not only politicians but scholars and journalists as well. This would never happen in Germany regardless of our past and our experiences, then again our past differs from Poland’s, even our relationship with Russia was different.
Experiences are one thing, but that doesn’t necessarily factor in as to why we still do not have sufficient evidence or that the Smoleńsk investigation has become a disgraceful blunder where the military prosecution has gone as far as agreeing to accept audio evidence that are assumed to be copies of the original recordings. How did we get here?
You should ask your government, with Donald Tusk at the helm. After all, he was the one who lead the discussion with Putin, the one who handed the lead investigation to the Russians. That was quite an error on the government’s part. It just shows how strong and healthy the relations must have been between the two sides. Nevertheless a slew of evidence was relinquished to Russia and may very well be gone forever. That gave Russia the opportunity to fill in the gaps and answer questions the way they saw fit, there’s no surprise there. If you take a look at the German plane crash in France you’ll see that Germany goes through all the tasks meticulously and all the way through, they would never bargain and they would never ever leave a stone unturned.
And to add insult to injury, that very same individual, once head of the Polish government has one of the highest roles within the EU…
A tragedy no doubt, however with his neoliberal agenda to keep him busy, he should feel right at home, the folks over there do not necessarily burden themselves with the Smoleńsk issue.
Translation: Daniel Lanzarjewicz
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