Thursday, March 29, 2012

Smolensk air disaster ‘looks like assassination’, claims dead president’s brother

Jaroslaw Kaczynski told a hearing at the European Parliament, Wednesday that if [the 2010 Smolnesk air] catastrophe looks increasingly like an assassination, then this means there is a new quality to international politics.”
Kaczynski, whose twin brother former President Lech Kaczynski was one of the 96 victims on the flight on 10 April 2010, was speaking via video link to the public hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels, where the late president’s daughter, Marta, and members of the opposition Law and Justice party were in attendance.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski has never accepted official explanations that blamed thick fog and human error for the crash, and repeated his call yesterday for an international investigation into the causes of the disaster.

Kaczynski and some other ‘conservative-national’ leaning politicians in Poland have questioned the role of Russia in the crash and investigations that followed.

President Lech Kaczynski was a fierce critic of the Kremlin and gave strong support to Georgia during the war with Russia in 2008.

He died while on a way to a ceremony to commemorate the murder by Stalin’s security NKVD forces of over 20,000 Polish officers in the 1940 Katyn massacres.

“Poland has the sacred duty to do everything so that the truth about the Smolensk catastrophe is revealed - regardless of the content of that truth,” Kaczynski said.

‘Playing the Smolensk tragedy’

Kaczynski has made accusations of outside involvement in the disaster before, but his comments yesterday went to a new level.

At one moment of his speech via via-link, Kaczynski implied that there was something suspicious about Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski's knowledge of details of the crash just minutes after the disaster.

“I would like to know how just a little after Nine O'Clock, the Polish Foreign Minister knew that they were all killed. How did he know?” Kaczynski asked.

Later in the day, the Foreign Ministry uploaded a transcript of a conversation held between the Polish Ambassador in Russia and the Foreign Ministry, just minutes after the crash.

“This is how I knew that, unfortunately, no one survived. Enough insinuations, enough of playing on the Smolensk tragedy,” Sikorski tweeted.

Polish Ambassador Jerzy Bahr was already at Smolensk airport as he was due to welcome the Polish presidential delegation.

In the transcript, Bahr tells an operator at the Foreign Ministry that “there is no sign of life” and that the plane is “completely destroyed.”

Sikorski later uploaded the transcript onto his Twitter social-networking page, accompanied by a curt response to Jaroslaw Kaczynski. (pg/nh)

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