STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Polish Plane Crash Stirs Internet
By Staff News & Analysis - May 04, 2010

This digitally enhanced video does a good job at showing the activity on the ground minutes after the crash of the Polish presidential plane in Russia. Audio translated by a collaborative Facebook effort of Russian, Polish and English native speakers. The revelations are stunning. – YouTube

Dominant Social Theme: A sorrowful tragedy has taken place and we mourn.

Free-Market Analysis: This is a powerful video – Click here to view. Is it a hoax? If it is proves to be true – and not fake or mistranslated – it will go down in the annals of history (unless it goes down the memory hole) as one of the most significant and memorable video documentaries ever created. Yes, if true, it would be worthy of an Oscar and other mainstream media awards, though it likely will not receive a single one.

The initial video – which appeared in early April was not apparently much commented on in the mainstream Western press – has already received in aggregate millions of views. The enhancements appear to be have been performed serially (apparently by a nameless crew at Facebook), and not necessarily by professional journalists. Even if it is a hoax, it certainly presents the powerful emotional punch the Internet is capable of delivering.

The posting of the enhanced video with subtitles (or at least one of them) – when we viewed it – only had about 600 views on YouTube, though it has been reposted elsewhere. It is posted on "YouTube as Digital Enhancement of Amateur Plane Crash Site Footage (w / English Subtitles) in Smolensk." Watching the video is blood-curdling. If true, it is like being in a time machine and observing first-hand as yet another tragic chapter in the history of humankind is writ large in a bloody hand.

What would be the reasons for an assassination of the Polish President? Lech Kaczynski had a reputation as an independent thinker, a conservative and was apparently opposed to the further centralization of EU power in Brussels. He also seemed to take an adversarial stance toward Russia that included placing US missiles on Polish soil. His burial was attended by very few foreign leaders, though volcanic ash was said to have impeded the travel plans of many.

Because of the controversy surrounding him, there were plenty of conspiracy theories floated after the plane crash. But one could be pardoned for assuming that the talk would not give way to documented, official evidence, given the history of how such tragedies unfold. There is the initial shock, then the accusations fly and sometimes there is an "investigation" – one that is inconclusive and does not amount to much.

We have often written about the changed communication environment of the 21st century and this YouTube video might seem a case in point. The Internet has made communication control increasingly difficult and this video and its elaborations would, in fact, seem to be proof positive of this perception – in an emphatic fashion (and of free-market economist FA Hayek's "spontaneous order," as well).

The video seems to show a heinous crime in action, the execution of survivors of the plane crash by shadowy figures. You can see the figures running through the woods and hear the gunshots. You can read translated dialogue. In trying to figure out the provenance of the video, we came across the following report, apparently issued by the Polish Military Prosecutor's Office, with a publication time: 28 April 2010, 21:00 and posted at kavkazcenter.com:

The video made several minutes after the crash of Polish president's plane near Smolensk, Russia is true, Military Prosecutor's Office of Poland said, the Azerbaijani news agency APA reports quoting CNN Turk.

The video shows three moving silhouettes jumping from the plane, laughter and the pilot's voice calling for help are heard. Poland's Military Prosecutor's Office said the documents related to the flight were being investigated, 60 gave testimonies, but it was impossible to specify the exact time of the crash.

The author of the video is reportedly Andrey Menderey. He was stabbed shortly after the video was released on the Internet. Andrey Menderey was unplugged from the artificial respirator by an unidentified person.

After Thoughts

Is the video a hoax? Are the translations accurate? The Internet is increasingly full of hoaxes, often released in our opinion by various intel agencies and other individuals and institutions that wish to discredit the Internet and its truth-telling capability. But regardless, true or not (or at least until it is provably false), this short YouTube clip amply illustrates the emotional punch this intimate yet wide-ranging informational technology is capable of delivering. It also, of course, raises disturbing questions about the thus-far official narrative of the tragic plane crash and the Polish President's demise.

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