Wiesława Lewandowska talks with Marcin Gugulski about a strange mode of the repair of the airplane Tu-154M number 101 under a strict control of the Russian special services

WIESŁAWA LEWANDOWSKA: - It seems that the so-called third report of Smoleńsk, elaborated by the Parliamentary Team, under the supervision of Antoni Macierewicz, went unnoticed, did not raise any disputes, and, not mentioning little sarcasms. Why, do you think?

MARCIN GUGULSKI: - Maybe because other results of the investigation of the Team are more difficult to question.

– And better documented?

– Yes. Maciek Lasek, the chairman of the team appointed on the day before the announcement of our report by the prime minister, especially in order to explain materials concerning the Smoleńsk catastrophe to the public opinion, initially allowed for a general conclusion, that everything apart from the report of Miller is worthless….He did not undertake a factual polemic, but only announced it.

– Whereas it has been a month (we are talking at the beginning of May) and nothing is happening…..

– I am sure that if there were essential inaccuracies or wrong interpretations of facts in our document, they would be brutally pointed out at once. I do not have doubts that in the surrounding of Mr Lasek there are a lot of people who could do it cleverly. Nobody had tried to so far.

– A specially puzzling thing is a lack of a polemic with the text of your prepared chapter about inaccuracies connected with the repair of the Tu-154M no 101, which gets crashed in the catastrophe at Smoleńsk, just after the repair. Why did critics ignore this new, quite detailed thread?

– It does not surprise me. Pointed out inaccuracies connected with the repair of the airplane –and there are many of them – are documented in a detailed way, which is proved by a few detailed source footnotes. In my chapter there is approximately one footnote per 60 words. An explanation of Mr Marcin Lasek sounds not quite seriously, that his team cannot undertake a polemic, with the thesis of our report because of no access to documents and sources to which we are referring. So far, the only attempt of a polemic was a statement of vice-president of Bumar, Mr Marcin Idzik (given by Polish Press Agency), who is undoubtedly a person competent in this matter, because at that time, when a tender for a repair of the airplane was being prepared and settled, he was an important official in the Ministry of Defense, and later also a vice-minister responsible for arming and modernization. So, his statement can be treated as an attempt of self-defense.

– Only an attempt, but not as an effective defense against particular accusations?

– I think so. For example, when the vice-minister Idzik says that the range of the repair was exactly the same as it had been decided with the Command of the Air Force, he is far from the truth or is trying to conceal it. After all, in the report I quote particular documents (with dates), proving that the Command of Air Forces (and the late gen. Andrzej Błasik personally) had applied a request to the Ministry of National Defense for carrying out, within the planned repair, ‘a system of passive defense of the airplane, that is, ejectors of passive disruption…’, which might protect from ‘targeted rocket missiles with thermal and radio-locative homing heads, especially during its take-off and landing’. The Minister Bogdan Klich definitely rejected these requests, so, everybody who says about settling them with the Command of Air Forces is manipulating the public opinion. There are particular documents proving these facts and it is known that also Mr Idzik was familiar with them.

– How did you get an access to them?

– Parliamentarians and senators from the Parliamentary Team have their sources of information. I also did some informative-analytical actions, based on gaining, collecting, analyzing, transforming and passing gained information to the Team … Every journalist does these actions every day. I often faced an insurmountable barrier on this way to the truth. I am quoting letters in which the Ministry of National Defense applies its request to certain institutions (for example the Service of Military Intelligence) for immediate passing on information concerning the Russian company to which the repair of the airplane is supposed to be entrusted. And later, nothing….I do not know the answers to these letters, not because there were not any answers but surely because they had a confidentiality clause.

– In your document you also quote the not easily available Russian documents.

– Yes. I quote a few Russian documents unquoted so far in the generally available Polish literature, although fragments of the key one are and were available on Internet. It concerns a decree number 64 of the president of the Russian Federation, which was a legal basis for actions aiming at a situation when Polish-Russian relations concerning the issue of arming and repairs as well as modernization of equipment would take place under stricter control of the Federal Service of the Military-Technical Cooperation (an institution being a cover for the Russian Intelligence). The effect was entrusting the repair of the airplane to these, not to other companies.

– Hence, there is a conclusion that the Russian services were precisely steering the Polish tender?

– It looks so. The decree, number 64s, has this property that its published fragments consist only of articles 1, 3,4 and 5, and the letter ‘s’ proves that it also involves implicit content. I do not know how the article 2 sounds, but assuming from the results, it can be supposed that, among the others, a ‘black list’ of countries was written in it, which, in relation to their military-technical cooperation with Georgia, are a subject of a special ‘care’ of the Russian Ministries and services. This is what can be said about it today.

– Really? And do you know anything more?

– I do not say that I had a complete evidence material. Only God always knows a lot about everything. Maybe a young adept of Mathematics could say naively that he knows ‘everything’ about an object of his analysis. It happens rarely to researchers of real beings. A historian or a journalist often must stop further searches and publish previous results and conclusions, in order to make it possible for subjecting them to professional criticism.

– Can you say that you know enough about this issue investigated by you, in order to formulate some conclusions and suggestions concerning an unclear political game, being the background for the Smoleńsk catastrophe?

– In my document I do not analyze political games, but these actions and neglects of the representatives of the authorities of Poland and Russia, which are testified by documents quoted in the report. Nobody questions factual conclusions, whereas analysis and interpretation of the gathered material undergoes evaluations. Everyone can make conclusions from documents put on the table. I am willing to get to know them. If once some documents appear which present these events in a completely different light, then I will humbly revise my today’s conclusions. This is obvious.

– And whereas on the basis of your analysis of documents, it can be concluded that the tender about the repair of this most important airplane in Poland was set?

– It can be summarized so. But such an evaluation diminishes the significance of the event. One says about set tenders only when it concerns only somebody’s unclear economic interests.

– Here rather excluded?

– In the report we have the analysis of colonels of Andrzej Kowalski and Jerzy Kiciński, who, in their counterintelligence evaluation of actions of special services in relation to the repair of Tu-154M , are also analyzing this version, as one of two the so-called main hypothesis. Yes, maybe some business interests were considered here, as well as a collusion of officials and companies in order to intercept the tender. On the Polish party there was a rivalry between Bumar – which had realized similar repairs so far, by Russian companies cooperating with it – and, among the others, a corporation of companies MAW Telecom and Polit Elektronik, which won this tender for the works ‘Aviakor’ from Samara. We should also analyze the facts allowing for evaluating the second of the main hypothesis: a motif for actions was making it possible for the Russian special services to have an access to the Polish airplane, during the repair, which had been transporting the most important people in the country.

– And this is rather possible?

– Yes, although in this part of the document factual conclusions are less abundant. It is known that decisions were made with the cooperation of the Ministry of National Defense, which defined how much money was supposed to be allocate for the stay of officers of the 36th Special Transport Aviation Regiment in Russia, who were observing the process of the repair.

– And was only little money bestowed for it?

– Yes. The money was bestowed only in such an amount so that it would be enough for a one-day stay of one officer in Samara. And the airplane was not being repaired only there, because its engines had been removed and repaired somewhere else….Even in the same Samara one officer would not be able to control this all. Whereas the vice-minister Idzik, in his attempt of a dispute, states that this officer was at the airplane all the time.

– Was he living and sleeping in it?

– As for my knowledge, this officer was not sleeping in the airplane, although I do not have any doubts that within possibilities provided to him, he was doing his best. The problem is that he could not have a control, and could not even observe everything what was being done with the airplane and its engines.

– According to your analysis, the Polish party, that is, the Ministry of the National Defense had quite a light attitude towards the issue of this repair.

– Not only a light attitude and not only the Ministry of the National Defense. In the conclusion I also ask about the range of responsibilities of suitable chiefs of special services and other people responsibility for reliability of conducted proceedings and for uncovering and eliminating dangers for safety of particular people and military equipment.

– What do you accuse them of?

– Nearly every paragraph could end with a conclusion that the mentioned matters and defined facts should be investigated by the Seym Commission of the National Defense in details, or the Commission for Special Services, as well as other competent organs of the country, including prosecutors. The conclusion can be only that in the years 2008-2010 there was a flagrant breach of duties by the government representatives, especially by the Ministry of the National Defense, and maybe also by other state services. The legal concretization of this conclusion and its possible translation into the language of paragraphs of the criminal code is not my duty any more.

– However, in your document you do not avoid acute and clear evaluation like: ‘In fact, the results of the tender were decided by the government of Russia’.

– If, during the actions taking place in Poland, and whose aim is an election of a contractor of the repair of the Polish airplane, the president of the Russian Federation gives a special decree, which becomes the basis for works of the federal service controlling this type of repairs, then the matter is serious. It shows how important matter for Russia was the repair just of this Polish airplane. Moscow was controlling whether it would get into the hands of a suitable company. Only one company in Russia was authorized to conduct talks , negotiations, participation in the tender proceeding and accepting the Polish order for the repair.

– The Polish party stood against a wall, without any spare exit?

– The Polish tender commission acting at the Ministry of the National Defense could elect another contractor, but he would not have been able to do this repair… All interested parties were aware of it. So, all actions of Polish authorities were only an endorsement of decisions made by somebody else.

– In this way the Polish party can be acquitted.

– No, it can’t. In the analysis of the colonels Kowalski and Kiciński, dot is put above the ‘i’: if earlier – before a necessity of the repair appeared – no decision had been made or realized, as for replacing post-soviet machines with a fleet of airplanes being out of the reach of the Russians, the matter was failure then. It was known that these post-soviet Tu-154M, which can be renovated only in Russia, would be a problem for us.

– And, finally, the airplane was renovated in a very wrong way…

– The vice-minister Idzik states that the 36.SPLT was very glad of the quality of the repair. It is simply untrue. It is proven by complaint protocols done in 36.SPLT, and a note, quoted in our report for the first time, done by the director of the department for the control of the works ‘Aviakor’ in Samara – Iwan Markow, enumerating many defects, which appeared after the repair…The increase in number of air incidents involving the Tu-154M in the first quarter of the year 2010, in comparison with the first quarter of the year 2009 – was 250 per cent.

– The critics of the investigations of the Parliamentarian Team say ironically that if there were defects, so, maybe it was an assassination…

– In my document I do not express my opinion about the causes of the catastrophe, because it was beyond the time horizon of my investigations. There are extensive works done by high-class scientists cooperating with the Parliamentary Team, and their results are still being verified, confirmed and abundantly documented. My description of events accompanying the repair of the airplane Tu-154M no 101 is only a small part of these investigations. The small one, but probably saying a lot about Poland and Russia and about what was happening and is happening between these two countries… * * *

Marcin Gugulski – a journalist, analyst, councilor, a press spokesman of the government of Jan Olszewski, a member of the Verification Commission for Informative Military Services, an employee for the Military Counterintelligence Service in the years 2006-2010


"Niedziela" 22/2013

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
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