Ignorance is Bliss … Especially in the Smolensk Crash Case
By Pawel Piotr Styrna, SFPPR News & Analysis
DS2013-SFPPR News, November 12, 2013
How could any respectable and educated person lend any credence to such conspiratorial musings? After all, it is not as if Russia has a long and bloody tradition of political murder, and even mass murder. Never mind that the post-Soviet regime in Moscow had both the means and the motive to assassinate Poland’s pro-American leadership.
Paweł P. Styrna
Ridicule is probably one of the oldest tools in the arsenal of political warfare. Making fun of an opponent serves to both undermine his credibility, and even to provoke him into angrily over-reacting. One method to discredit one’s political enemies is to mock them as “conspiracy theorists,” thereby implying that the targeted group is paranoid and psychologically unbalanced. Such a tactic requires little to no intellectual effort and allows one to conveniently avoid addressing the other side’s arguments.
An almost ideal example of this is Hanna Kozlowska’s October 24th blog entry on ForeignPolicy.com, entitled “Hot Dogs, Red Bull, and the Latest Conspiracy Theories About Poland’s Tragic Plane Crash.” In this incredibly shallow piece, the author virtually plagiarized the “echo chamber” that is Gazeta Wyborcza – the Koran of post-communist leftists and liberals in the post-People’s-Republic of Poland.
Ms. Kozlowska, no doubt, takes great pride in her wittiness as she makes light of the greatest national tragedy to befall Poland in the past two post-communist decades. Most people would consider turning the death of almost one hundred members of a country’s patriotic and pro-American political and military elite - including the president, key government officials, and the top military brass - into the butt of satire to be quite inappropriate and tasteless. But then again, even Poland’s liberal/post-communist president, Bronislaw Komorowski, and his fellow “centrist” prime minister, Donald Tusk, found the time to have a laugh shortly after the Smolensk Plane Crash, as the bodies of the victims were arriving in Poland. As a Polish proverb states: “the fish begins to rot from the head.”
Ms. Kozlowska then proceeds to ridicule the Macierewicz Commission as a cabal of “conspiracy theorists.” Never mind that this parliamentary body collaborates with many accomplished and respected experts and scientists. She mentions the commission’s findings in a most cursory and dismissive manner - clearly implying their alleged silliness - yet fails to challenge or debunk their findings.
Left: A smiling President Komorowski greets Prime Minister Tusk while awaiting the coffins of Smolensk victims at Okecie Airport in Warsaw. Right: A jovial Tusk meets with Vladimir Putin in Smolensk after the crash.
While we’re at it, why not also ignore the obvious fact that a parliamentary commission investigating a violent event must take into account all the possible scenarios, including the dirty word “conspiracy.” The author may not be aware that, in the United States, this is done as a matter of course, as demonstrated, for instance, by the investigation following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Why should Smolensk be an exception?
How could any respectable and educated person lend any credence to such conspiratorial musings? After all, it is not as if Russia has a long and bloody tradition of political murder, and even mass murder. Never mind that the Kremlin continues to be ruled by the successors of the Cheka or “former” KGB officers and their affiliates and agents. Never mind that the post-Soviet regime in Moscow had both the means and the motive to assassinate Poland’s pro-American leadership. Never mind that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, indulges in violent rhetoric and vulgar intimidation. Never mind that his political opponents, both domestic and foreign, sometimes end up dead. Never mind that the governments in Moscow and Warsaw have, since the day of the crash, behaved as if they had something to hide, nervously working to make the inconvenient Smolensk Tragedy “go away” – not unlike Team Obama on Benghazi. Never mind that the Russian MAK Report was written by a Soviet and post-Soviet insider (Gen. Tatyana Anodina was a close supporter of Evgenii Primakov, both as the deputy head of the KGB and as SVR boss), and that this report became the basis of the Warsaw government’s blame-the-pilots line; in spite of the serious criticism that the MAK Report was subjected to, even by the government’s aviation experts. And, of course, there is the additional fact that the fuselage of the presidential Tupolev, along with the bodies of the passengers, disintegrated and became dispersed over a wide area – something very difficult to reconcile with the official Moscow-Warsaw version of the story.
Last but not least, there was the Binienda Study, which showed that the birch tree - which, Prof. Chris Cieszewski pointed out, had been damaged a few days before the crash - could not have possibly broken the wing of the Polish aircraft. But never mind history, evidence, physics, or common sense. These cannot be allowed to undermine the politically correct mantra about Smolensk.
Finally, the author should remember that Antoni Macierewicz - regardless of her opinion of his politics - struggled against an oppressive, totalitarian regime imposed on Poland - suffering imprisonment, repression, and having his academic career destroyed as a result - so that young Poles, such as herself, could enjoy the freedom to travel and study abroad, and to express their political views.
The fact Ms. Kozlowska could ignore and dismiss all of this, at once turning it into a joke, proves that there is a grain of truth to the old cliché that ignorance is bliss. Perhaps the best commentary, however, is encapsulated in the famous line from Nikolai Gogol’s Inspector Generalˆ: “What are you laughing at? You are laughing at yourselves.”
About the Author: Paweł Styrna has an MA in modern European history from the University of Illinois, and is currently working on an MA in international affairs at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC, where he is a research assistant to the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies. Mr. Styrna is also a Eurasia analyst for the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research and a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.
Cover-up by "Suicide"
Remigiusz Mus, the flight engineer on Yak-40 whose landing immediately preceded PLF 101 and whose testimony implicated the Russian flight controllers, died of suicide.
This rounds out the death of the entirety of key witnesses whose testimonies could prove that the flight controllers bore at least partial responsibility for the mysterious crash that killed the Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others near Smolensk, Russia, on April 10, 2010.
Suicide. So says the Polish Prosecutors office under the administration of Donald Tusk, Bronislaw Komorowski, and the Civic Platform party (Platforma Obywatelska, PO) - the people who came out on top following the disaster of Flight PLF 101. The position of the Prosecutors office is that the autopsy indicated death by hanging with no defensive wounds and and alcohol level of one permille (.01%).
General Konstantin Anatolyevich Morev, chief of the Federal Security Services (FSB), successor to KGB, office in Tver, who interviewed the Russian flight controllers, died at the end of August 2011. His body was found in his office. The official cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound from his service revolver.
Political enemies of Colonel Vladimir Vladimirovitsch Putin are falling ill with mysterious illnesses. It usually happens to them after they escape from their homeland, hoping that nothing bad can happen to them in the West.
The Russian secret service is using various poisons to get rid of inconvenient people, just like during the Soviet times, with the exception that Putin's people have more refined means at their disposal than the assassins of the day sent by Stalin, Khrushchev or Brezhnev. This happens to journalists in broad daylight, so that there is no doubt that anyone can get away scot-free with writing the truth about the atrocities of the Chechen War, or about any score-settling between the people in power.
It started as a possible case of food poisoning but within weeks turned into a grim spectacle of enormous political proportions: Aleksander Litvinenko, former member of the Russian secret service, died in his place of residence London last November, after having been poisoned with a radioactive substance [...] It is a wild tale full of conspiracies, assassination attempts and imputations. Litvinenko talks about his time with the secret service, about his experience in Chechnya, and in particular about the series of bomb attacks on Russian territory that led to the seizure of power by Vladimir Putin.
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