THE BLACK BOXES have been recovered from the Smolensk plane crash that killed a good portion of the government of Poland. One news source reports “Russian officials (say the) engines of the Tupolev TU-154 aircraft ran flawlessly right up to the crash near the western city of Smolensk, the agency quoted the leader of the Interstate Aviation Committee, Tatiana Anodina, as saying. A fire or an explosion on board has also been ruled out following an analysis of the plane’s black box and an examination of the debris. One more black box has been recovered at the crash site, Anodina noted. Its recording is being studied jointly with Polish officials.”
An article in the UK Daily Mail reports “…the pilot was unaware of how low he was, which puzzles investigators since his jet was equipped with a special UIS-made safety device called a Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) that warns the flight deck when they get too close to the ground.”
This is the first plausible explanation for what went wrong. It also strongly suggests that someone who knew the Polish government was flying to Smolensk might have sabotaged the Terrain Awareness and Warning System to kill everyone on board.
A video of the crash sight presumably minutes after the crash with fires still burning can be found here. The crash site and forest appears very similar to a CNN video which can be found here. The plane appears to be broken into several pieces, which makes little sense assuming the plane had been slowing down with its landing gear deployed. The distinctive Tu-154 three-wheeled wing landing gear could be seen locked in a deployed position (but upside down) in both videos. Given the plane’s slow speed and low altitude, it should have come down largely in one piece with some survivors.
Several eyewitnesses in an earlier video here claimed that a wing came off the airplane while it was still in the air presumably after hitting some trees. The forest that the plane crashed in appears to be relatively small weak trees unlikely to snap a wing off a Russian jet. No one has yet shown a large diameter tall tree that marked the first collision with the plane that could have knocked off a wing. This of course assumes that the cause of the crash wasn’t a bomb or sabotage to a wing. There have been terrorist bombs that exploded when an aircraft rose above a certain altitude. It’s possible that a bomb may have been set to arm itself as it reached cruising altitude and then go off as soon as the plane dropped below 2,000 feet.
The early video of the crash site is additionally interesting because four apparent gun shots can be heard at 1:08, 1:17, 1:24 and 1:26. The people recording the video appeared concerned that they may be shot. The gun shots are significant because after the highly suspicious crash of Air Force 2 with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in 1996, there is some concern that survivors of that crash were murdered. Air Force Specialist Shelley Kelly reportedly survived the crash in good condition, but was delivered dead to a hospital with a fatal neck injury. And Christopher Ruddy broke a story on a bullet wound to the top of Ron Brown’s head. The first responders to the Ron Brown crash site were not standard US rescue personnel, but an elite military unit flown in on two blackhawks.
Curiously, after the Smolensk crash, many Western news media outlets are trying to portray Kaczynski as a great friend of Israel while past articles about Kaczynski and his government in the Israeli press have been hostile, describing the new Polish government as “dangerous.”
An article in Jewish Currents entitled “The Return of the Radical Right in Poland” reports “Something has gone very, very wrong in Poland. After elections last September, a group called ‘Law and Justice,’ led by a longtime Solidarity activist and right-wing politician named Jaroslaw Kaczynski, emerged as the largest party in parliament. Victory in the following month’s presidential election went to Kaczynski’s identical twin Lech… The Kaczynskis formed a coalition with an agrarian populist group called “Self-Defense” and a radical-right party with the innocuous name of ‘The League of Polish Families.’ Polite Western journalists have labeled this government ‘center-right’ or ‘conservative,’ but it is hard to find anything centrist about those holding power in Warsaw today. Even Europe’s mainstream conservative parties have publicly disavowed any affiliation with Law and Justice (not to mention the other two coalition members). Put simply, the extreme right now rules Poland, and people widely considered marginal and dangerous even a year ago are now within the corridors of power.”
An article from the Jewish Telegraph reports “Jews mixed on new Polish leader– The new president of Poland was elected with the backing of anti-Semitic supporters. But not all Polish Jewish officials believe Lech Kaczynski, who will take office in December, should be criticized for his extremist bedfellows, especially considering his record on Jewish issues. Kaczynski, the former mayor of Warsaw, was elected last month to replace President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Barred from running again under Poland electoral law, Kwasniewski is popular with Jews inside and outside Poland. The incoming president’s Catholic-oriented Law and Justice Party governs Poland in coalition with two extremist parties, Self-Defense and the League of Polish Families, ‘whose members have frequently expressed anti-Semitic sentiments,’ according to Tel Aviv University’s Stephen Roth Institute, which monitors attitudes toward Jews around the world.”