Meanwhile In Cuckooland 234

There is a term in Poland that evades translation. It is “tupolewizm” and it was coined after the results of the investigation into the Smoleńsk plane crash had been published (the real ones, not the smokescreen directed by Antoni Macierewicz). This term is derived from the name of the plane that crashed in Smoleńsk – it was Tupolev Tu-154 – and refers to the situation where ignoring all the procedures and laws brings us to the verge of catastrophe. Despite such a tragic incident PiS apparently had learned nothing and tupolewizm is going strong in Poland.

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During a recent picnic organized by a government, a police Black Hawk helicopter ascended from the field, where it landed, surrounded by the crowds, then ignoring every rule possible flew above the heads of families with children only to catch a nearby high voltage lane and throw the power cable down the ground, causing panic. Luckily, this time there weren’t any casualties (although the repair bill is said to be pretty expensive). But this reckless flight was just the tip of the iceberg:

– there is no explanation why the police helicopter was sent to the picnic, which, while it pretends to be a government-organized picnic promoting (oh the irony) safety and security, it was de facto PiS’s electoral campaign event. There was simply no legal reason for it to be there.

– even if this would be OK, it is illegal to organize air shows without reporting it to aviation authorities, and what is a show off of a (doubtful) piloting skills by making some stunts for the crowds to admire if not an air show?

– even if the show would be approved, it is illegal to fly above the spectators, or anywhere near the power lines.

– and last but not least, one of the pilots present on board is chief of aviation training for the police. He used to fly for the army but was sacked from it after being found guilty of causing a crash of another helicopter due to – yes, you guessed it – ignoring the procedures and flying too low, which ended in the Mi-24D crashing into the trees. One of his crew members died in this accident and he was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence.

I guess Poles can really feel safe now knowing such responsible people run our police force under the leadership of an idiot who shot a grenade launcher in his office. Especially with the recent disruption of the Polish railway, where trains were stopped by abusing of safety signal, on which someone played Putin’s speeches and the Russian national anthem. Despite some sensational press reporting, this was dangerous to anyone, the whole idea of the emergency stop is to stop trains BEFORE the risk occurs, so the only result was delays and disruptions. But the fact that one of the persons arrested and charged for this action was a Polish police officer from the “trans-border crime and international cooperation” unit is a bit worrisome.

With the election in less than a month, PiS is having to deal with a lot of issues. The biggest news recently was the visa corruption scandal. It had emerged that not only PiS issued the most visas for foreigners willing to work in Poland in history – mostly from far away countries like Bangladesh, India or certain African states – but that some of those visas were simply sold out in a corruption scheme. It does not work well for PiS if the party that builds their narration of scaremongering people with the illegal Muslim migrants suddenly turns out to have sold 350 000 visas at 5000 dollars a pop to people from the Middle East and Africa. It was a business at a huge scale, the internet is full of advertisements of the middlemen facilitating the visa-obtaining process, even streetview pictures from outside Polish embassies in countries like Nigeria show crowds of people that cannot be seen outside diplomatic missions of other countries.

Not only the visa process was outsourced to private companies, but Minister Wawrzyk himself allegedly was instructing consuls to approve visas of people whose names were provided by him on the lists. Gazeta Wyborcza reports about people, who were – with his assistance – posing as a Bollywood filmmaking team in order to get multiple-entry Schengen visas, which would allow them to go to Mexico from where they would be smuggled over the border to the US.

PiS, of course, claims that no such things took place, then sacked Wawrzyk (who turned up in hospital for reasons unknown, there are unconfirmed reports that he tried to take his life or that he was assaulted and is afraid). Surprisingly the prosecutors, who had no problems with interviewing a woman who was in labour at the moment, or charging an unconscious Roman Giertych is unable to speak to him.

Meanwhile, of course, it seems that the government denying any knowledge of this is lying. Apparently, US security services were warning the Polish government about the procedure a year ago. But, apparently, too much money was to be made for the government to do something about the procedure (if we optimistically assumed Morawiecki and Kaczyński were indeed at least year ago unaware about what their colleagues are doing).

The whole scandal is even more disgusting if we remember that the government still continues its illegal and inhumane activities on the Belarusian border, where several dozen dead bodies of victims of illegal push-backs have already been found in the woods by humanitarian activists. And even those, who were admitted into Poland and placed in migration detention centers were treated so badly, that detainees of one of such camps, near Przemyśl, went on hunger strikes in protests of being underfed, treated in inhuman ways, and beaten by the guards. So for PiS, migrants are bad, unless they can pay 5,000 dollars for a visa. I am not an expert, but that’s not really very Christian, is it?

But of course, the guilty ones are facing charges in court. Guilty of “offending the dignity of the Polish uniform”, that is. Several people have been charged with similar crimes for their sharp criticism of the activities of the Border Guards, most recently actor Piotr Zelt, who said that the Border Guard spokesperson (who was proven to be lying on a regular basis about the Border Guard activities by the humanitarian activists) is “a face of an inhumane, criminal standard of the PiS government”. With which I fully agree, at least to the moment I was still able to track the public releases of the Border Guard press service – I am no longer able to do so, as the Border Guard official profile banned me on Twitter for asking questions about the missing children (that were, as we learned later, just driven out to the woods in a military truck and dumped there by the Border Guard). It is telling that the state persecutes those, who criticize their criminal activities while not addressing their critique, even though court after court dismisses such cases pointing out that their criticism is justified. Government behavior brings to mind Russian standards (and the fact that apart from the Border Force the only two other government institutions that blocked me on Twitter are the Russian MFA and the Russian Embassy in London makes this comparison even more stark).

But the worst thing is that most of those people who bought Polish visas weren’t interested in staying in Poland. They just used it as a stepping stone to get to the US or Western European countries. And now it seems those countries might send those, who obtained their visas for bribes, back to Poland. So the PiS’ worst nightmare might actually happen – Europe will send Poland hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants from Muslim countries. But this will be entirely their own fault.

That just adds to the fiasco of the referendum. Because PiS decided that along with oncoming elections, there will be a referendum. It will have four questions and, what seems to be quite unusual, the government expects you to vote four times NO. Except that the questions relate to things that PiS already dealt with or are simply irrelevant:

“Do you support the sale of state-owned property to foreign agents, so Poles lose control over strategic parts of the Polish economy” – asks the first question. It’s kinda late, as in the drive to change Orlen into a de facto monopolist on the Polish market allowing PiS’ oligarch Daniel Obajtek bigger influence on the Polish fuel market, parts of the competing Lotos company that was being merged into Orlen to be sold to the Saudis. They sold it on the cheap and without building into the deal any conditions, so if Saudis one day decide to sell it to Russia, we can’t do anything about it. So it’s kinda too late if Poles say “no”.

The second question asks if Poles support raising the retirement age. This has a sub-context, as the age was to be gradually raised under the Tusk government, but PiS, after taking over, did a U-turn on that one. This, along with the fact, that women can retire early, means that most Polish women would have very low pensions, while the system, already on the verge of collapse, will be even more difficult to balance (and PiS giveaways in recent years in which they pay extra pensions – that are eaten by record-high inflation anyway – won’t help).

The next question asks if Poles support the liquidation of the fence PiS has built on the Belarussian border to keep refugees away. It would probably be nicer to ask Poles if they wanted this fence BEFORE it was built, but now everyone can see it doesn’t really work anyway as well, so drawing attention to the issue of immigration is not wise, even without the visa scandal.

The last question is as follows: “Do you support taking in thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa, as per the EU’s forced relocation program?”. Well, this got old like milk. First of all, it was not relevant anymore, as Brussels made it clear that due to the amount of Ukrainian migrants Poland already took, we would be excluded from this program if it ever went ahead. Secondly, the relocation would concern refugees already granted this status by the other EU countries, so they would not be illegal. And lastly, as I mentioned above, it seems we will get a pretty big number of illegal migrants sent to Poland from the EU, but those will be here solely because of PiS’ criminal greed.

It seems that everyone, but PiS, will boycott the referendum anyway, so it won’t matter anyway. So why PiS is even going ahead with it?

Well, the answer is simple. As you can see, the question relates to the matters that are important parts of PiS’ narration. That way they can circumvent spending limits on the elections, as they can say “This is not part of the party political campaign of our candidate, this is our government minister doing informative action regarding the oncoming referendum”. And how would you prove that this particular bit of scaremongering about refugees indeed has nothing to do with the two of the referendum questions?

It looks to me that PiS decided to disregard any of the rules, laws, and norms that should be observed in a democratic country. They will do anything to make money and stay in power. Let’s hope that this “tupolewizm” will end in a spectacular crash for them.

This text was written for Britské Listy
Picture: YSSYguy at English Wikipedia, Creative Commons. 



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