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Bones
04-10-2010, 09:02 AM
The government of Poland was effectively decapitated when the President and many high ranking officials were killed in a plane crash. The President's resume reads like that of one of our founding fathers. They were traveling to Russia to commemorate the slaughter of Polish Army officers by the soviets 70 years ago.

An awful lot of Russia's enemies are mysteriously dying lately. This is truly scary. By the way, Putin is heading up the investigation of the crash. Anyone taking bets on what he'll find?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304170204575175252038977076.html?m od=WSJ_hpp_LEADNewsCollection

Polish President, Others Killed in Plane Crash

By GREGORY L. WHITE in Moscow and MARCIN SOBCZYK in Warsaw
[1poland0410] Reuters

A firefighter works to extinguish the flames from the wreckage of a Polish government Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft that crashed near Smolensk airport Saturday.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of others in a high-level delegation were killed Saturday when their plane crashed on landing outside the western Russian city of Smolensk, officials said.

Russian state television reported that the Tu-154 jet crashed about a kilometer short of the runway on its fourth attempt to land in heavy fog at the Smolensk-Severnyi military airport, shortly before 11 a.m. Moscow time.

Russian officials say the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and his wife were among those killed in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia. Video courtesy of Reuters.

Reports of the number killed in the crash varied. Polish officials put the figure at 88, while Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations said 96 had died and Russia's Investigative Committee said the total was 132.

"We still cannot fully understand the scope of this tragedy and what it means for us in the future," said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Piotr Paszkowski. "Nothing like this has ever happened in Poland."

"We can assume with great certainty that all persons on board have been killed."

Passengers included the president and his wife as well as other top officials. Slawomir Skrzypek, president of the National Bank of Poland, was also on board. Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Pszkowski said that the army chief of staff and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer were also on board the plane.

Lech Kaczynski delivers a speech in Warsaw on Sept. 25, 2005.
More

The plane "clipped the tops of the trees, crashed and broke into pieces," the governor of the Smolensk region, Sergei Antufiev, told Rossiya-24 television news network by telephone.

"There were no survivors."

Rossiya-24 broadcast footage of shattered and burning wreckage from the site. Russian officials said controllers at the Smolensk airport suggested to the crew that it divert to Minsk because of the fog, but the crew decided not to. Russia's official RIA-Novosti agency said preliminary indications suggested crew error was the cause of the crash. The Soviet-built Tupolev-154 jet was about 20 years old.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was on his way to Warsaw for an emergency meeting of the cabinet Saturday.

According to the foreign ministry spokesman, the government will meet in early afternoon local time.

According to the Polish Constitution, the speaker of the Sejm, Poland's lower house of Parliament, becomes the interim head of state in case of the death of the president. The interim president is required to call early presidential elections within two weeks from the day the president dies. The elections must take place within two months from the announcement of the election date.

Bronislaw Komorowski, a key presidential candidate in the presidential elections that would normally be scheduled in the autumn, is Poland's current Sejm speaker. According to government spokesman Pawel Gras, he is also on his way to the capital.

Piotr Wiesiolek, first deputy president of the National Bank of Poland, will become an interim governor, according to Poland's central bank law. Mr. Wiesiolek will head the central bank until the Parliament appoints the new governor proposed by the President.

"This is a horrible tragedy for Poland and we extend to the people of Poland our deepest condolences," said U.S. State Dept. Spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Mr. Kaczynski, 60 years old, was leading a delegation of top Polish officials to memorial ceremonies at Katyn, the site of a massacre of 22,000 Poles by Soviet agents 70 years ago. "The soul trembles to think that Katyn has taken new victims," said Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the International Affairs Committee in Russia's parliament.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev named Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to head the commission to investigate the crash and dispatched Russia's emergency situations minister, Sergei Shoigu, to the site.

Russian state television reported that the Tu-154 jet fell about a kilometer short of the runway on its fourth attempt to land in heavy fog at the Smolensk-Severnyi military airport. There were conflicting reports of casualties, with Russian media citing a figure of 180, all of whom were killed. Russia's Rossiya-24 channel reported that the plane struck treetops short of the runway after the pilot decided to land in Smolensk despite the heavy fog.

The 25-year-old plane had undergone a complete overhaul at the factory in southern Russia late last year and had been delivered to Polish authorities in late December, the head of the manufacturer told Rossiya-24 television.
—Malgorzata Halaba in Warsaw contributed to this article

Write to Gregory L. White at greg.white@wsj.com

Michael T
04-10-2010, 09:08 AM
That is terrible news to the people of Poland I hope this does not unstablize the country and give Russia a excuse to invade again

Rollin Thunder
04-10-2010, 09:56 AM
Call me paranoid, I don't think there's any accidents. You have a guy from the KGB running the country. I think you're spot on, MT.

PB&J
04-10-2010, 10:21 AM
Putin is leading the investigation? That's like Jimmy Hoffa investigating the Teamsters.

Reginald Carstairs
04-10-2010, 12:05 PM
Putin is leading the investigation? That's like Jimmy Hoffa investigating the Teamsters.

I like that analogy, couldn't be said any better!

Now if you would excuse me I have to break up some more concrete, Hoffa has to be around here somewhere:confused:

Americangirl01
04-10-2010, 12:22 PM
I would say that it is very suspicious, to say the least.
Invite them over for a commemoration ceremony and sabotage the plane....

diskdoctr
04-10-2010, 12:48 PM
I smell something funny here too

Ralph
04-10-2010, 03:02 PM
Seems strange that the entire administration would all be on a single aircraft.

PB&J
04-10-2010, 04:31 PM
I like that analogy, couldn't be said any better!

Now if you would excuse me I have to break up some more concrete, Hoffa has to be around here somewhere:confused:

Yup, Putin could try the old "Hey, there's nothing here but red herrings and cement shoes" defense and I bet the UN will buy it.

SC Dave
04-10-2010, 04:35 PM
Seems strange that the entire administration would all be on a single aircraft.

I use to work for a company that when they took a sales trip the sales force went on at least two different planes. This does look odd.

Dave

Rollin Thunder
04-10-2010, 05:56 PM
The world has changed, ten or fifteen years ago, we 'd have pages filled with Polish jokes.
http://deephousepage.com/smilies/faga1.gif