Boeing, Tupolev, and FSB: Aircraft Crash Investigators With Russian Bugs
Published July 22, 2018
Dozens of Dutch officers, experts and diplomats investigating the shooting down of the Malaysian Boeing Flight MH17 over the territory of Ukraine were systematically invigilated by the Russian special services - according to the latest findings of the Dutch. Neither special training nor counterintelligence shields protected them. How easy was it then for the Russians to deal with the Poles investigating the Smolensk catastrophe who were deprived of any cover?
On April 10, 2010 in Smolensk, the Polish Air Force Tu154 with the President of the Republic of Poland and 95 other persons on board was destroyed. Four years later, the Russians shot down a Malaysian Boeing 777 carrying almost 300 Dutch, Malaysian, Australian and other nationalities. There are many similarities between these two events, but differences are also noticeable.
Only 18 members from the Polish government’s investigation commission appeared on the crash site in Smolensk. Photos – many of them of poor quality - were made with for example the cheap Nokia E66 mobile phone, which can now be bought only on internet auctions. Most of the photographs used in the Polish Miller commission's report came from the Russian photo amateur Sergey Amielin anyway.
The shooting down of the Boeing 777 over Ukraine by the Russians was examined by as many as 332 specialists from the Netherlands and Australia and 68 experts from Malaysia. They used the most modern equipment. No wonder that the Russians - the main suspects in the case - quickly implemented the counter-offensive using the most sophisticated means.
Telephones for destruction
The Dutch television RTL Nieuws revealed that the activity of several dozens Dutch officers, experts and diplomats investigating the shooting down of the Malaysian Boeing 777 over Ukraine took place under strict Russian intelligence control with the cooperation of some Ukrainian special services.
Antoni Macierewicz, the head of the Polish subcommittee for re-investigation of the Smolensk crash is not surprised by the scale of Russian actions against Dutch experts. There is no doubt that Polish investigators fell victim to similar activities. “Polish services reported on the aggressive actions of the Russian services against Polish experts and against the Polish commission. Unfortunately, no conclusions were drawn from this information, except for some frivolous talks. There were no technical or institutional safeguards, no attempts were made to secure the acquired material, etc.
What's more, despite these signals, the heads of intelligence services minimized the Russian involvement even further to their subordinates responsible for the protection of Polish representatives.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte responded to the shocking reports of Dutch journalists. How were experts snooped? Using familiar methods, Russian agents introduced spying software to smartphones and tablets that without users' knowledge turned on microphones and cameras, transmitting the sound and image to the spies. Such data transfer took place via Wi-Fi networks, which suddenly activated. The devices of the persons under surveillance connected with the network. Dutch experts were also spied on with more traditional methods: in their rooms in the hotel where they stayed in Ukraine, "bugs" were found.
After returning to the Netherlands, members of the delegation - concerned about strange behavior of their phones, tablets and laptops - gave them to the Dutch counterintelligence services for check-up study. Many of these devices contained spyware that was very difficult to detect. Part of the equipment was infected so maliciously that it had to be destroyed.
According to RTL Nieuws sources – the investigation regarding surveillance clearly pointed out to Russian and Ukrainian special services. In the RTL Nieuws reportage, anonymously speaking, the experts admitted that they are not able to determine how valuable and how much of information the Russians obtained this way. There is no doubt, however, that information losses would be much greater had the Dutch not taken many preventive actions before leaving. All participants of the investigation team were trained in the field of information protection: they were also forbidden to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, and were advised to use only encrypted messages. Also, special conferences with intelligence officers were organized for them before their departure for Ukraine.
One of the instructions required even conducting major talks on the subject of a catastrophe only in the building of the Dutch embassy - and only in certain secured rooms. In addition - as revealed by RTL Nieuws - for the most important experts from the Netherlands, a whole floor was deliberately rented in a Ukrainian hotel, which was carefully checked for any possible surveillance.
It minimized the losses incurred, although it did not prevent them. As was already mentioned - the Prime Minister of the Netherlands himself reacted to the shocking facts revealed by the journalists of RTL Nieuws. "We are not naïve," he said, clearly suggesting that these aggressive actions are not a surprise to him. Unfortunately, when similar information came to light in connection with the Smolensk catastrophe, there was silence, no action was taken, and politicians responsible for the Polish "investigation" evaded the subject.
Who framed the Poles?
What is worth emphasizing - Polish prosecutors and experts going to Russia after the Smolensk tragedy were completely deprived of any counterintelligence protection. The Russians had an incomparably easier task than in the case of the Dutch team investigating the shooting down of the Malaysian Boeing.
A few months ago, "Gazeta Polska" revealed one of the examples of this – mildly speaking - light-heartedness. On April 16, 2010, the Polish military police was about to return from Smolensk to the country, but it turned out that there was an unexpected problem with their airplane. This astounding "case" was used by the Russians - more precisely, the FSB officers (Federal Security Service) - offering representatives of the Polish Military Police hospitality in the proposed hotel along with a sauna and dinner. Soldiers - either from childish naivety or under pressure of superiors (we do not know) - took advantage of this generous offer. During their stay at the hotel, the FSB took care of the evidence collected by the soldiers. The gendarmes left them ... at the airport in Bryansk, completely unattended, in a special "cell", which the Russians gave them. So there was not even a need for sophisticated telephone surveillance, which was implemented against the Dutch.
When on April 21-24, 2010, the second envoy of the Polish Military Police stayed in Russia, instead of gathering information and protecting evidence, they focused on fraternizing with the Russians (this time not only with the FSB, but also with representatives of Investigative Committee at the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation). The soldiers exchanged even contact details (!) and took part in the "integration" party organized by the Russian side. Where were the Polish special services at that time?
Symptomatic is the document dated April 19, 2010 prepared by the head of intelligence services at the headquarters in Warsaw and sent to all structures of this institution. It reports that a Russian military pilot reported to the Polish services claiming that the catastrophe was a fault of the Russians. This witness was not interrogated. Instead, he was treated as a provocateur who wanted to harm Russian-Polish reconciliation. At the end of this memo, a key statement comes up: "It is forbidden to transfer [to Poland - note. ed.] any information about the causes of the disaster. "
Let us emphasize that this ban on transmitting key evidence to Poland was not issued out of concern or fear of disclosure or interception by Russians of transmitted data. It was issued to protect the interests of the Tusk cabinet in Poland and Russian authorities.
In another memo issued by the same service on April 18, 2010, a warning was issued that "in the event of Russian guilt, there would be a political catastrophe of international repercussions", and "recognition of Russian guilt" would encourage "the (Polish) opposition to attack the government of Donald Tusk." In other words, the Polish services have agreed to cover up the real cause of death of the Polish presidential delegation, out of concerns for deterioration of relations with Russia and fear of the actions of the domestic opposition.
One can only assume what kind of earthquake would trigger similar information in the Netherlands if the services acting on the Boeing case would de facto cease their work because of political and party considerations.
Propaganda Shield: SMOLEŃSK AND DONBAS
The Russian secret services also took good care of the propaganda cover against Dutch and Polish experts' research. On the one hand, the "official" versions speaking about the shooting down of the Malaysian Boeing by Ukrainians and the error of the Polish pilots were promoted. On the other hand, the picture of events was obscured and absurd conspiracy theories were disseminated via unofficial channels. "These people have died a few days earlier. The corpses were bloodless. It had to be a special medical transport"- wrote about the passengers of Boeing 777 shortly after the tragedy Igor Striełkov aka Girkin, commander of the so-called People's Militia of the Donbas. The pro-Russian terrorist suggested directly that the Malaysian plane was carrying dead people.
Even more unlikely hypotheses were disseminated by the pro-Russian portal wolna-polska.pl. According to the texts posted on this site, the Malaysian Boeing shot down over Ukraine could have been the same Malaysian Boeing, which a few months ago was lost over the Indian Ocean.
Almost identical absurd hypotheses appeared in the Russian and Polish Internet after the Smolensk tragedy. At one time, in many media so-called "masking" hypothesis about abduction of the Air Force Tu-154 passengers, murdering them in some isolated place, and staging a plane crash in Smolensk was promoted. In addition, the Russian blogger Anton Sizych published drastic photographs of the victims of the Smolensk catastrophe, arguing that the Poles from Tu-154 were victims of ... ritual murder. According to Syzych, this crime was committed by an unspecified religious sect, which in 2011 killed two girls in the Crimea and sank the ferry "Bulgaria" on the Volga river.
Author: Grzegorz Wierzcholowski
Source: Gazeta Polska
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