14 August 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 133. (Singer 2009): Wired for War

Letter from Lhasa, number 133. (Singer 2009): Wired for War

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Singer, P. W., Wired for War. The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-first Century, The Penguin Press, 2009.

(Singer 2009).

Peter Warren Singer


This is a work about the robotisation of war, written from a specialist of this field. “Soldiers”, also police officers, will be progressively totally replaced from robots. Manned devices will become unmanned, as it is already visible in various battlefields and contexts. Physical “soldiers”, as well as similar operators, will inevitable move to different levels of the operational theatre, from the construction and predisposition to the government of warbots (war robots).

Actually, also the battlefield will inevitably assume a different, broader dimension, in a kind of total war in which key element will be the identification and immediate neutralisation or liquidation of whatever enemy.

All that is not without problems. Both for using warbots and for contrasting them, key elements will become, in addition to the disposal of adequate technology, the knowledge of bureaucratic procedures (for example, how the enemy is organised, thinks and operates), how warbots think and operate, creative and lateral thinking overall at direction levels.

Are and will be “soldiers”, and who helps them, too idiotic for playing robotised war “games”? See Afghanistan, for example.

Singer, P. W., Wired for War. The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-first Century, The Penguin Press, 2009.

Letter from Lhasa, number 132. (Labowitz 1996): Miraculous living

Letter from Lhasa, number 132. (Labowitz 1996): Miraculous living

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Labowitz, S., Miraculous living. A guided journey in kabbalah through the ten gates of the tree of life, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1996.

(Labowitz 1996).

Shoni Labowitz

This is a joyful, perhaps too joyful, and passionate, perhaps too passionate, book of de facto sermons, eventually of answers, written from a female rabbi. It is built, at least in its formal presentation, around a parallelism between Judaism and taoism. It is spiced by some meditation's and relaxation's useful elementary exercises.

It is something to be read from the first to the last page without interruptions, with all the meditation's and relaxation's exercises when required. Concentrated in one day (or less or more according the time you need for reading the book without interruptions), you'll see immediately the results, if the exercises will be of some utility for you. You don't need to eat and drink in the meanwhile. It is not a commercial movie. Don't buy the book. Perhaps it is not even any more available in bookshops. G-d created libraries and Internet for reading and studying for free, overall spiritual books.

Labowitz, S., Miraculous living. A guided journey in kabbalah through the ten gates of the three of life, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1996.

12 August 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 131. (Artmann 2001): Euclid. The Creation of Mathematics

Letter from Lhasa, number 131. (Artmann 2001): Euclid. The Creation of Mathematics

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Artmann, B., Euclid. The Creation of Mathematics, Springer, 2001.

(Artmann 2001).

Benno Artmann

(Artmann 2001) is a multifaceted work on the logical foundations of mathematics.

Artmann, B., Euclid. The Creation of Mathematics, Springer, 2001.

Letter from Lhasa, number 130. (Johansen 2009): Leaders Make the Future

Letter from Lhasa, number 130. (Johansen 2009): Leaders Make the Future

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Johansen, B., Leaders Make the Future. Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain Future, Berrett-Koehler Publisher, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2009.

(Johansen 2009).

Bob Johansen

The VUCA world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity will get worse in the future. The VUCA world will have both dangers and opportunities. Leaders must learn new skills in order to make a better future.

Leaders need new skills to make the future. They are 10, the magic number, or one of the magic numbers, of our era. These skills go from instinctual to built ones. They are:

[01] both can-do and can-make spirit,

[02] to see, create and communicate with clarity,

[03] dilemma flipping,

[04] immersive learning ability,

[05] bio-empathy,

[06] constructively depolarising conflicts,

[07] to lead with a quiet transparency,

[08] rapidly prototyping by working through many scenarios during the development process,

[09] to organise smart mobs using a range of media,

[10] to create commons for both cooperation and competition.

A reflection...

However, it is not sure that those who have the skills to become real leaders can be leaders. While those who have the skills to be real leaders may not have the skills to become leaders.

It is not even sure that to make the future had any real sense. Naturally, it may depend on specific contexts and on specific people.

Johansen, B., Leaders Make the Future. Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain Future, Berrett-Koehler Publisher, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2009.

10 August 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 129. (Weiss 2008): Quantum Dissipative Systems

Letter from Lhasa, number 129. (Weiss 2008): Quantum Dissipative Systems

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Weiss, U., Quantum Dissipative Systems, World Scientific, 2008.

(Weiss 2008).

Ulrich Weiss

This is a work of methods, techniques and applications on quantum dissipative systems. It moves from a general theory of open quantum systems until both dissipative two-state systems and dissipative multi-state systems. Knowledge of quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics, and also something more, indispensable.

Weiss, U., Quantum Dissipative Systems, World Scientific, 2008.

Letter from Lhasa, number 128. (Peter 2009): The Peter Principle. Why Things Always Go Wrong

Letter from Lhasa, number 128. (Peter 2009): The Peter Principle. Why Things Always Go Wrong

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Peter, L. J., and R. Hull, The Peter Principle. Why Things Always Go Wrong, Collins Business, 2009.

(Peter 2009).

Laurence J. Peter,

Raymond Hull

This is an amusing, although very serious, book on hierarchiology.

The morons at the top must be paid to waist as mush taxpayer money as possible. Final Placement Syndrome. Abnormal Tabulology. Tabulology Gigantism. Teeter-Totter Syndrome. Cachinatory Inertia. Incompetence knows no barrier and no place. The skills to get a job often have nothing to do with what is required to do the job itself. Extremely skilled and productive employees often face criticism and they are fired if they don't start performing worse. Structurophillia. Staticmanship. Percussive Sublimation. Peter's Circumambulation. A Theory of Decline. Individuals perform worse after having received a promotion. Organisations rarely fire incompetent people. You have to show you have reached the required level of incompetence. In a hierarchy, a promotion is from a level of competence to a level of incompetence, or from a level of incompetence to a level of more incompetence. You have to rise in your level of incompetence. In time, every post tend to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry on its duties. The percussive sublimation is a pseudo-promotion for deceiving people outside the hierarchy. The larger the hierarchy, the easier is the lateral arabesque. You have heard of the nurse who says: “Wake up! It's time to take your sleeping pill!” Professional automatism: the paperwork is more important than the purpose for which it was originally designed. The superior will rate his subordinates in terms of his level of incompetence. Internal consistency is valued more highly than efficient service. The case of the brilliant, productive worker who not only wins no promotion, but is even dismissed from his post. Super-competence is more objectionable than incompetence. Super-competence often leads to dismissal because it disrupts the hierarchy. Hierarchal Exfoliation. The Paternal In-Step. Find a patron and motivate the patron. Multiple patronage is better: many a patron makes a promotion. Nothing fails like success. Nothing succeeds like failure. Good followers do not become good leaders. Hypercaninophobia Complex: fear that the underdog may become the top dog. Capitalistic, socialistic and communistic systems are characterised by the same accumulation of redundant and incompetent personnel. Any government/State will fall when its hierarchy reaches an intolerable state of maturity. When an employee reaches his level of incompetence, he can no longer do any useful work. Creative incompetence. An employee is judged by his appearance. If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. Negative thinking has health-giving power.

Peter, L. J., and R. Hull, The Peter Principle. Why Things Always Go Wrong, Collins Business, 2009.

09 August 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 127. (Marsh 2009): The Euro

Letter from Lhasa, number 127. (Marsh 2009): The Euro

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Marsh, D., The Euro. The Politics of the New Global Currency, Yale University Press, 2009.

(Marsh 2009).

David Marsh

Great Germany needed its Great Deutsche Mark. So, the EU area recognizing the German hegemony adhered and is adhering to the new Great Deutsche Mark, Euro. State creation by monetary union is in the German DNA, since the same Germany was created through custom and, later, monetary union. It is a slow way, not necessarily more solid, neither more efficient, than the British conception of Empire. It is anyway certainly qualitative different, surely more bureaucratic, perhaps more resilient and more fragile at the same time, depending on circumstances.

De facto, the German economy, and even more the Great Germany, the EU, is threatening the UK-USA world hegemony. The same is happening with the Euro relatively to the US dollar. That despite the military absolute world hegemony of the USA, terrifyingly powerful and weak at the same time.

(Marsh 2009) is a dense historic review on Euro, with also some comments about its present and near future problems.

Marsh, D., The Euro. The Politics of the New Global Currency, Yale University Press, 2009.

Letter from Lhasa, number 126. (Harman 2008): Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biolog

Letter from Lhasa, number 126. (Harman 2008): Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

[Editors] Harman, O., and M. R. Dietrich, Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology, Yale University Press, 2008.

(Harman 2008).

Oren Harman

Michael R. Dietrich

Focused on biology, this book is on the importance, at least in part, of dissent, heresy, iconoclasm, for the advancement of science. It reviews a certain numbers of subjects with such characteristics, as indicated in its title.

Differences, in whatever field, actually need (this is evidenced in the book) some institutional power or they have to become, in some way, institutional power. Without some recognition, whatever discovery would remain in the Kingdom of Nothing.

[Editors] Harman, O., and M. R. Dietrich, Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology, Yale University Press, 2008.

08 August 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 125. (Axilrod 2009): Inside the FED

Letter from Lhasa, number 125. (Axilrod 2009): Inside the FED

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Axilrod, S. H., Inside the FED. Monetary Policy and /its Management, Martin through Greenspan to Bernanke, The MIT Press, 2009.

(Axilrod 2009).

Stephen H. Axilrod

Written from a qualified FED insider, (Axilrod 2009) is useful not only as an outlook on central bank monetary questions. It is also a precious testimony on how bureaucracies work, as well as on how they interact with other worlds (political powers, foreign governments, academy).

Axilrod, S. H., Inside the FED. Monetary Policy and /its Management, Martin through Greenspan to Bernanke, The MIT Press, 2009.

Letter from Lhasa, number 124. (Fraser 2006): The New Physics

Letter from Lhasa, number 124. (Fraser 2006): The New Physics

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

[Editor] Fraser, G., The New Physics for the twenty-first century, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

( Fraser 2006).

Gordon Fraser

The title of the book is perhaps a bit pompous. ...We are just at the beginning of a long century... However, the work is a very pleasant and very well organised panorama of contemporary physics.

[Editor] Fraser, G., The New Physics for the twenty-first century, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

07 August 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 123. (Mai 2003): The Leader as Communicator

Letter from Lhasa, number 123. (Mai 2003): The Leader as Communicator

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Mai, R., and A. Akerson, The Leader as Communicator. Strategies and Tactics to Build Loyalty, Focus Effort, and Spark Creativity, AMACOM, 2003.

(Mai 2003).

Robert Mai,

Alan Akerson

The gist of this book is clearly stated from the authors: “In writing this book, we have set two goals for ourselves: first to make our case to leaders and potential leaders that communication carries a make-or-break importance; second, to provide comfortable, easy-to-remember, easy-to-use communication tactics and tools that support key leadership objectives.” (Mai 2003, p. 8)

We decided to write this book because leaders we’ve worked with continually express concern about three “people” issues that we, biased as we are, consider to be preeminently communication issues:

1. Commitment to the organization and its goals (calling for leaders to act as community builders)

2. Awareness and understanding of organizational goals and priorities (calling for leaders to act as navigators and direction setters), especially during change and transition

3. Willingness and ability to help the organization become better (calling for leaders to act as renewal champions)

(Mai 2003, p. 17-18)

The leader needs to communicate for being a leader: “Leadership cannot exist in the absence of dialogue with those who agree to be led. Command and authority are conferred, but leadership is created jointly, a product of the words shared and the conversations held that together establish and develop relationship.” (Mai 2003, p. 14)

Communication is essential for building relationships: “Thus, leadership communication is about relationship building, in all of its many dimensions. When leaders manage communication effectively, work relationships are strong, well informed, and purposeful.” (Mai 2003, p. 14)

Leaders need, according (Mai 2003), making sense and create vision.

Immanent, in this kind of “games”, is whether “image building” had some, or a real, material base so that it really be interiorised. Differently it is perceived as deception, perhaps even as mockery according specific contexts. Or, anyway, these stories (told from leaders) must be what people need to listen and make their own.

Storytelling is about meaning-making. From basic plotlines that reveal the essence of a company and its mission, all the way to stories that heal wounds, create alliances, or rally troops around new challenges and opportunities, stories help us make sense of the organizations we serve, and our place in them. So it’s not surprising that leadership communication relies heavily on storytelling: telling the right stories to the right audiences at the right time and involving others in the work of authorship as often as possible.” (Mai 2003, p. 73)

Mai, R., and A. Akerson, The Leader as Communicator. Strategies and Tactics to Build Loyalty, Focus Effort, and Spark Creativity, AMACOM, 2003.

Letter from Lhasa, number 122. (Griswell 2009): The Adversity Paradox

Letter from Lhasa, number 122. (Griswell 2009): The Adversity Paradox

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Griswell, J. B., and B. Jennings, The Adversity Paradox. An Unconventional Guide to Achieving Uncommon Business Success, St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, USA, 2009.

(Griswell 2009).

J. Barry Griswell,

Bob Jennings

The gist of the book is that success and achievements finally depend on the ability to overcome adversity. Because, “often, the most powerful catalyst for change lies (…) in adverse circumstances.” (Griswell 2009, p. 240)

Obviously, there are various aspects complementing this ability:

1. System thinking: seeing and understanding the big picture

2. Linear thinking: seeing and understanding each discrete part of the big picture, and being able to close in on specific tasks and execute them

3. Continuous thinking: having “visionary” skills, the ability to anticipate problems and opportunities, be prepared for them, and react quickly

4. Synthesizing: the practice of sorting and prioritizing salient information from data

5. Awareness of information gaps and voids: being constantly aware of where your information voids lie and responding appropriately by learning more, turning to others for help, or both

6. Communication: the ability to communicate with either dialogue or discussion

7. Empathy: the ability to discern and identify with what others are thinking and feeling”

(Griswell 2009, p. 24-25)

Faced with the right attitude, adversity may be the best catalyst for human capital development.” (Griswell 2009, p. 81). It is certainly so, ...for people exploiting it instead of being annihilated from it.

Perhaps, a complete study on the matter would need to examine while lots of people are annihilated from adversities. Positive examples, in the field of exploiting adversity, should be complemented from negative example with explanations what makes people to react positively, people let adversity annihilate them and, probably, other people being subjugated from adversity despite reactions, eventually positive, to it. Certainly, it may be argued that if one be annihilated from adversity despite a positive reaction to it, the positive reaction was not really such. Factors, sometimes uncontrollable, may be multiple and complex, in real life.

Accept whatever hardship has come your way. Tempting as it may be to try avoid responsibility or negative consequences, you won't get anywhere by denying the facts. Analyze the situation so you can determine how to prevent the same mistake and so you can learn everything possible. Approach the challenge with the right attitude, a positive frame of mind, and with the intent to make adversity your friend. Harness the power of “and then some” with each of these steps, and you're well on your way to uncommon success.” (Griswell 2009, p. 241-242)

Griswell, J. B., and B. Jennings, The Adversity Paradox. An Unconventional Guide to Achieving Uncommon Business Success, St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, USA, 2009.

06 August 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 121. (Babauta 2009): The Power of Less

Letter from Lhasa, number 121. (Babauta 2009): The Power of Less

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Babauta, L., The Power of Less. The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential … in Business and in Life, Hyperion eBook, 2009.

(Babauta 2009).

Leo Babauta

Simplicity. So, simplify! Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.

“Principle 1: By setting limitations, we must choose the essential. So in everything you do, learn to set limitations.

“Principle 2: By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.”

(Babauta 2009, p. 5-6)

“Principle 3: Simplifying – Eliminating the Nonessential”

(Babauta 2009, p. 23)

Principle 4: Focus is your most important tool in becoming more effective.”

(Babauta 2009, p. 25)

Principle 5: Create new habits to make long-lasting improvements.”

(Babauta 2009, p. 33)

Principle 6: Start new habits in small increments to ensure success.”

(Babauta 2009, p. 39)

The basic recipe is to become more resilient to one's own environment while defining and achieving realistic and progressive steps toward high goals.

Babauta, L., The Power of Less. The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential … in Business and in Life, Hyperion eBook, 2009.

Letter from Lhasa, number 120. (Golumbia 2009): The Cultural Logic of Computation

Letter from Lhasa, number 120. (Golumbia 2009): The Cultural Logic of Computation

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Golumbia, D., The Cultural Logic of Computation, Harvard University Press, 2009.

(Golumbia 2009).

David Golumbia

(Golumbia 2009) wants to emphasise that computers, computing, computation, as whatever other technology, serve the ruling classes. Computationalism is, for him, contrarily to its rhetoric, functional to the most pernicious effects of institutional power, without whatever democratisation effect somebody wrongly claims.

All that is asserted in name of human beings or of some humanity, even if his conception of human beings is, perhaps, equivocal or, eventually, uncertain or multifaceted:

“There is no essence to human nature, no particular set of traits or forms of life that make us human or make us inhuman. Human nature is highly malleable; the ability to affect what humans are and how they interact with their environment is one of my main concerns here, specifically along the lines that computerization of the world encourages computerization of human beings. There are nevertheless a set of capacities and concerns that characterize what we mean by human being: human beings typically have the capacity to think; they have the capacity to use one or more (human) languages; they define themselves in social relationship to each other; and they engage in political behavior.” (Golumbia 2009, p. 21)

From one side, he seems to deny the existence of whatever humanity. From the other side, he resolves humanity in the capability to think and to interact. In part, this is a contradiction of reality. Intellectual elites always cover behind large masses. In part, the author meets a contradiction between his desires and reality and, distractedly he just jumps over this gap. He belongs, de facto, to some intellectual aristocracy, as whatever intellectual de facto belongs. At the same time he has some truth [he wants] to reveal to disinterested masses. Actually, these are dialogues with oneself which [fortunately] find a publisher. The so-called humans are highly moldable. The capability to think is actually limited, limited in its different possible dimensions, and conditionable. Even the different forms of human interaction are easily governable.

Whatever may be told about computer, might be told about a pen or an abacus, even if it is evident that more complex a technology is, more there are power relations intertwined with it.

The book is built around an interesting polemical debate whether computers could completely emulate the human mind, specifically language. The author seem to give a negative answer.

What seems impossible, frequently becomes possible later, after scientific and technological leaps.

Cultural luddism, when informed and cultivate, may be anyway useful for denouncing dangers for human beings, or for certain human beings. Science and technology are never neutral, neither with compulsory unique paths. It is essential that intellectuals show, to who can listen and understand, political and power logics of scientific and technological choices and occurrences.

Golumbia, D., The Cultural Logic of Computation, Harvard University Press, 2009.

03 August 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 119. (Badiou 2008): Numbers and Numbers

Letter from Lhasa, number 119. (Badiou 2008): Numbers and Numbers

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Badiou, A., Numbers and Numbers, Polity Press, 2008.

(Badiou 2008).

Alain Badiou

(Badiou 2008) is an investigation on numbers. It is a numbers' philosophy work, deployed with mathematical competence.

“Number is a form of Being. More precisely, the numbers that we manipulate are only a tiny deduction from the infinite profusion of Being in Numbers.” (Badiou 2008, p. 211)

Badiou, A., Numbers and Numbers, Polity Press, 2008.

Letter from Lhasa, number 118. (Lindzon 2009): The Wallstrip Edge

Letter from Lhasa, number 118. (Lindzon 2009): The Wallstrip Edge

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Lindzon, H., The Wallstrip Edge. Using Trends to Make Money – Find Them, Ride Them and Get Off, Business Plus, New York, NY, USA, 2009.

(Lindzon 2009).

Howard Lindzon

(Lindzon 2009) is an enjoyable book about applied lateral thinking.

Lindzon, H., The Wallstrip Edge. Using Trends to Make Money – Find Them, Ride Them and Get Off, Business Plus, New York, NY, USA, 2009.

Letter from Lhasa, number 117. (Agutter 2007): About Life

Letter from Lhasa, number 117. (Agutter 2007): About Life

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Agutter, P. S., and D. N. Wheatley, About Life. Concepts in Modern Biology, Springer, 2007.

(Agutter 2007).

Paul S. Agutter

Denys N. Wheatley

The “program” of this book is: “Our aim is to share ideas equally with fellow-biologists and nonspecialists. We invite all our readers to challenge the central idea in this book, the fundamental difference between the living and the non-living, and to improve on it. Any reasonable attempt to answer “What is life?” will help to develop more coherent views about the origin and evolution of life on Earth, the nature and evolution of intelligence, the possibilities for extraterrestrial life, and other big topics.” (Agutter 2007, p. 13)

It deals with a wide range of questions concerning living organisms.

Agutter, P. S., and D. N. Wheatley, About Life. Concepts in Modern Biology, Springer, 2007.

Letter from Lhasa, number 116. (Bowen 2008): Censoring Science

Letter from Lhasa, number 116. (Bowen 2008): Censoring Science

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Bowen, M., Censoring Science. Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming, Dutton, Penguin Group, USA, 2008.

(Bowen 2008).

Mark Bowen

Evidently, climatic data suddenly became too dangerous. So, the US government intervened because such dangerous information was not universally diffused and was eventually altered when power did not like it. This book is about a specific case, but not only.

Bureaucracies operate everywhere with similar methods, when they are committing crimes:

As evidence of other, previous and subsequent, incidents of intimidation and scientific censorship at NASA – at Acosta and Mould's hands, as well as others at their level and above – would gradually come to light, and a modus operandi would be revealed. Censorship of climate science was not a written directive of the agency. It wasn't openly discussed; it is still not quite possible to censor science openly in this country. Those lower down on the totem pole, who say they were directed to do the dirty work – that is, the rewriting of press releases and the control or stifling of the spoken and written words of scientists – always received such orders orally, usually in closed-door meetings or in telephone calls that they attended individually, frequently outnumbered by the higher-ups, but in the absence of other, potentially troublesome witnesses at their own level.” (Bowen 2008, p. 43)

Even about hurricanes there were official interpretations, from government, about their causes, so precise orders to built certain truths for the masses. Orders must be enforced and executors must be surveilled:

“Alluding to the recent revelations about his own agency, Jim said he'd been “told by NOAA [[National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]] colleagues that their conditions are much worse than those in NASA. A NOAA scientist cannot speak with a reporter unless there is a 'listener' on the line with him or her. (...) The claim is that the 'listener' is there to protect the NOAA scientist. (...)” (...)” (Bowen 2008, p. 144)

Information about the dr. James E. Hansen work the may be found here:


Basically, this book is a book on government/State, alias human, stupidity and on human propensity to commit abuses.

Bowen, M., Censoring Science. Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming, Dutton, Penguin Group, USA, 2008.

Letter from Lhasa, number 115. (Irving 1967): Accident. The death of General Sikorski

Letter from Lhasa, number 115. (Irving 1967): Accident. The death of General Sikorski

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Irving, D., Accident. The death of General Sikorski, William Kimber and Co. Ltd., London, UK, 1967.

David Irving

(Irving 1967)

On 4 July 1943, near Gibraltar, the Polish Prime Minister General Wladyslaw Sikorski died since the crash of his aeroplane. He was murdered on order of the British government, alias of Churchill.

He had objectively become a British puppet. The United Kingdom had triggered WWII using the Polish independence as an excuse, actually only relatively to Germany because Poland was occupied both from Germany and Soviet Union. Soviet Union became UK and USA best ally. Now, the Poland flag was not any more necessary, since East and Central Europe had been assigned to Soviet Union for freezing it in its Euro-Asiatic Empire.

Even, in the Polish case, Churchill formally conceded to Soviet Union the same Polish territories promised to it from Hitler and Ribbentrop in August 1939. This, naturally, in addition to the de facto control on the Polish State, which would have been in the Soviet Empire area.

Since Sikorski, not differently from General Charles De Gaulle, was uncomfortable in his puppet role, his murder, not differently from the De Gaulle one, had been planned. The operation against Sikorski was successful. De Gaulle was lucky because he discovered the British attempt and did not use aeroplanes any more.

NOR FOR that matter had the sabotage of the aircraft of another exiled government’s leader been revealed until quite recently: on May 11, 1967, a letter in the Daily Telegraph disclosed that sabotage was discovered in a British plane carrying General de Gaulle, shortly before it took off. As the British Government’s support for de Gaulle at that time, the spring of 1943, was causing as much dissension with Washington as its support for General Sikorski was causing with Moscow, it seems appropriate to investigate the de Gaulle incident in closer detail than the writer of the letter, who had been a passenger in the aircraft, could relate.

It is a matter of record that Mr Churchill’s memoranda of early 1943 rang with veiled threats to General de Gaulle, urging him to offer closer co-operation to his western Allies and to be more accommodating to other French leaders, particularly General Giraud, with whom a bitter clash had been precipitated by the assassination of Admiral Darlan towards the end of 1942; the assassination had left French North Africa politically leaderless, and the dispute between Giraud and de Gaulle was souring the whole Western Alliance. In January 1943, Churchill had advised de Gaulle that the British could get on very well without him, and he asked Eden to “knock him about pretty hard” for his own sake. In a personal interview with the French leader, Churchill warned de Gaulle that if he continued to be an obstacle to Allied planning, the British would not hesitate to break with him finally.

De Gaulle had remained obdurate, and Churchill was concerned to see that President Roosevelt was plying him with an increasing number of accusations against the General furnished by the State Department and American Secret Service; it seemed increasingly clear that British support of de Gaulle might lead to an estrangement between the British and American governments. Towards the end of May, he even cabled London from Washington asking them to consider urgently whether it would not be best to eliminate de Gaulle altogether as a political figure.

When the newspaper item was raised with the Ministry of Defence, they replied that there was no record of any unusual incident occurring on the General’s flight concerned, on April 21, 1943. This author has however traced the pilot, and a most unusual story has emerged: on that date General de Gaulle was due to fly to Glasgow to distribute decorations to sailors of the Free French Navy; in his party were the Commander-in-Chief of the Free French Navy, Admiral Auboyneau; a British liaison officer, Lieutenant Commander E. D. P. Pinks, RNVR; Captain François Charles-Roux, de Gaulle’s aide de camp; and Lieutenant William Bonaparte-Wyse, the Admiral’s Flag Lieutenant. Normally de Gaulle did not fly anywhere, but on this occasion Glasgow was so far that the Air Ministry had suggested about three days before that he should fly.

A Wellington bomber, which had been converted to passenger transportation in No. 24 Squadron, Transport Command, was placed at his disposal, and Flight Lieutenant Peter Loat, D.F.C., was allocated to fly the party to the airfield nearest to Glasgow, which in those days was Abbotsinch. Loat checked the weather at about nine A.M., and half an hour later the security officers came to check the aircraft, a converted Wellington Mark IA; these carried three crew and ten passengers, normally. There were five such Wellingtons in Loat’s Flight at the time.

General de Gaulle’s party arrived about a quarter of an hour later. They were met by the Squadron Commander of No. 24 Squadron, and ten minutes later all of them boarded the aircraft after being properly fitted out with Mae Wests and parachute harness. Loat started the twin engines and taxied onto the runway, where he ran up his engines, and tested them and his flight controls in the prescribed manner. Everything was functioning normally, and at 10.05 A.M. he was granted permission to move onto the head of the runway and take off.

The take-off procedure at Hendon airport was rather complicated for Wellington bombers in those days. It was a heavy aircraft, and the runway was short and there was a somewhat daunting railway embankment at its end. Loat’s custom was to turn his Wellington round at the very extreme end of the runway, then apply his parking brakes until both engines were racing at maximum power; then he would lift the tail off the ground by using his elevator controls, and with the aircraft in “flying position” would race down the runway at high speed, gaining enough momentum to lift over the embankment at its end.

On this occasion, his Wellington had no sooner lifted its tail off the ground than the elevator control column went loose in his hand, and the tail dropped back to the ground. Loat throttled back the engines at once, thankful that he had not begun his take-off run; he looked out of his side window, and operated his control column, but there was no movement from the elevators at all. Somewhere the controls had parted. He informed the control tower that the aircraft was unserviceable, and returned to the tarmac. A Wing Commander was waiting for him. Flight Lieutenant Loat told him what was wrong, and General de Gaulle and his party were asked to leave the plane. The pilot and his maintenance Flight Sergeant climbed into the aircraft’s tail, together with the Wing Commander, who was the airport security officer. Here they discovered that the controls had parted at the bolt line of the plate which connects the control rods to the elevator: from the nature of the fracture it was concluded that a powerful acid had been employed, and in this way the control system had passed muster during the routine maintenance inspection.

General de Gaulle and his party were transferred to another plane. The Wing Commander asked the pilot to select another one at random, which he thought least likely to have been sabotaged; he picked a training aircraft, a Hudson, and it was in this plane that the whole party took off at eleven o’clock for Glasgow. There was a highly secret investigation of the whole incident, to which the pilot submitted written evidence; samples of the fractured unit were sent to R.A.E. Farnborough for analysis, and it was subsequently confirmed to the pilot that there had been sabotage. He was given to believe that the Germans were responsible. It is not possible now to establish the conclusions of the security branch’s investigations, as they are by custom not revealed. General de Gaulle returned from Glasgow by train, and he never again flew by plane in Britain

(Irving 1967, p. 148-151)

Sikorski became Poland's Prime Minister in 1922. He retired to private life after four years. After the 1939 Poland occupation and division between Germany and Soviet Union, he escaped to Paris. There, he formed a Polish government in exile, recognised from the greatest part of the Polish population. He moved to the UK when France was occupied, and the UK let it was occupied, from Germany. The Polish armed forced valuably contributed to the war from the Allies’ side. In 1941, after the German occupation of part of Soviet Union, the Sikorski Polish government, and even personally the same Sikorski, reached agreements with Soviet Union about the re-establishment of a Polish State on the Polish soil and on the common war against Germany.

Soviet Union, as well as its main Western allies, was lying. In 1942, it was nevertheless clear that Soviet Union did not want any independent Polish government. It was also evident that the western Allies had sold Poland to Russia.

On 5 March 1940, the Soviet Politburo had deliberated the execution of about 22'000 Polish officers who were war prisoners in Russian hands. They were rapidly executed. It was improbable that the UK and the USA did not know that.


Early in February, the German authorities had found in the Katyn Forest strange mounds with young pine-trees sprouting on them, not far from Smolensk. The trees were about three years old. Underneath the pine-trees, the Germans found mass graves, and these were opened up as soon as the frosts had passed and the ground softened. The first grave was opened on March 29, and found to contain the bodies of some six hundred officers of the Polish Army. (...)Over the next few days further mass graves had been investigated, and it was clear that here were the last resting places of not hundreds, but thousands of Polish officers murdered by Russian hands.

Late on April 13, Berlin Radio announced this find to the world: “A great pit was found, 28 metres long and 16 metres wide, filled with twelve layers of bodies of Polish officers, numbering about 3,000. They were clad in full military uniform, and while many of them had their hands tied, all of them had wounds in the back of their necks caused by pistol shots. (…) …the Bolsheviks had left on the bodies the identity documents of the victims. (…) The Germans estimated that the total number of victims would be some ten thousand; neutral press correspondents had already inspected the graves.”

(Irving 1967, p. 22-23)

The Soviet Union rejected the German allegations out of hand, and the Ministry of Information in Moscow cynically declared with mock horror that there could now be doubt no longer about the tragic fate of those former Polish prisoners of war “who had been engaged on construction work west of Smolensk in 1941,” and who together with many Soviet citizens had fallen into German hands during the Russian retreats of that summer. The Polish authorities gave little credence to this Moscow statement: if these details had been known to the Russians all along, why had they not told this to Sikorski and his representatives when they had repeatedly inquired the fate of the Polish officers?”

(Irving 1967, p. 23)

On the same day Marshal Stalin wrote to Mr Churchill and President Roosevelt repeating the protest at the way the “campaign of calumny” initiated by the Nazis had been taken up by General Sikorski and inflated by his newspapers. Stalin added: “The fact that this campaign against the Soviet Union was launched simultaneously in the German and Polish press and is being conducted along similar lines does not leave any room for doubt that there is contact and collusion between Hitler – the enemy of the Allies – and the Sikorski Government in the conduct of the campaign.

In vain might Sikorski protest that the Germans had only imitated his initiative in appealing to Geneva, and for this he could not be answerable. The drama was moving to its conclusion, and both Churchill and Roosevelt seemed prepared to sacrifice the Polish Government in London if they believed it necessary to maintain East-West solidarity.”

(Irving 1967, p. 26)

It was the usual game: “It is enemy's propaganda. If you tell the same things, it is because you are as the despised enemy. The enemy is guilty. You must accuse the enemy ...even for our crimes against you.”

The tide of evidence was rising against the Soviet Union, but despite this, when Ambassador Maisky brought Stalin’s telegram to Mr Churchill on April 23, Churchill next day assured the Russian premier: “We shall certainly oppose vigorously any ‘investigation’ by the International Red Cross or any other body in any territory under German authority. Such investigation would be a fraud and its conclusions reached by terrorism.” He hoped the Russians would reconsider their threat to “interrupt” relations with the Poles. Of Sikorski he said in this telegram: “His position is one of great difficulty. Far from being pro-German or in league with them, he is in danger of being overthrown by the Poles who consider that he has not stood up sufficiently for his people against the Soviets. If he should go we should only get somebody worse.”

Eden told General Sikorski that the Soviet Government was threatening to break off relations with them, and the British Foreign Secretary exerted the strongest possible pressure on the Polish Prime Minister to withdraw his request for an International Red Cross investigation; on Mr Churchill’s instructions, he also urged Sikorski not to contact the Germans in any way – not that Sikorski had had any intention of so doing. As for withdrawing his appeal to Geneva, General Sikorski replied to Eden that he was unable to comply with the British suggestion, but that Mr Churchill might inform Stalin if he wished that the Poles were ready to “soft pedal” the Polish exile newspapers on the subject of the missing officers.

In a personal and secret telegram on April 25, Churchill was able to inform Stalin that “as a result of Mr Eden’s strong representations, Sikorski has undertaken not to press the request for the Red Cross investigation and will so inform the Red Cross authorities in Berne.” He was convinced that General Sikorski had not been acting in collusion with the Germans, he said; and he promised Stalin that he, Mr Churchill, was also examining the possibility of “silencing” the Polish papers in London currently following an anti-Soviet line. Principal among the sceptics in London was the British Foreign Office, who believed for many months that the Katyn massacres had been concocted by the Germans alone; the F.O. continued to advise foreign ambassadors in London that it was strange that the Germans should only just have discovered the mass graves if they had been in the Smolensk region so long (since July 1941), and it was equally strange that the corpses should still have their identity tags and papers on them. The British Ambassador in Moscow, Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, held no such illusions, and he felt that the Soviet Government’s coming diplomatic break with the Polish Government was principally an attempt to cover up their guilt in the affair.

(Irving 1967, p. 27-28)

Mr Churchill’s own post-war account of the Katyn affair is laconic. In his memoirs, he quotes the 1944 Russian inquiry into the massacre, which predictably proved that the Germans had committed the crime, and adds, “belief seems an act of faith.””

Then the last brief act was played. Shortly after midnight on Sunday, April 26, 1943, the Soviet Foreign Minister called the Polish Ambassador in Moscow to see him, and read out to him a Note announcing that the Soviet Government was “severing” diplomatic relations with the Polish Government in London.

Neutral observers detected at once that the real reason for Russia’s drastic action was not indignation over the planned Katyn investigation, but General Sikorski’s intransigence over Russian claims to eastern Poland.”

(Irving 1967, p. 29)

It was evident that it was a Russian crime and that UK and USA were covering it. Russia was, as usual, executing UK-US wills.

A mounting press campaign began against General Sikorski. The Times, the Daily Telegraph, the News Chronicle, the Daily Express and the Daily Mail all published articles of more or less urgency, demanding that he refashion his Cabinet as Moscow was demanding. General Sikorski showed no signs of complying. On April 30, Mr Eden bearded him personally with the insistent demand that he bow to Moscow’s requirements. Eden went so far as to urge Sikorski to make a published statement withdrawing his government’s request for an International Red Cross investigation of Katyn, and to accuse the Germans of responsibility. Sikorski replied that this he would not do.

Broadcasting on the Polish National Day, three days later, General Sikorski grimly said, “There are limits on servility, beyond which no Polish citizen will step.” As he explained in a personal letter to President Roosevelt on the same day, he realised that his appeal to Geneva might be criticised in some quarters, but in view of the fact that many Poles, both in England and the Middle East, had near relatives or comrades who had been killed in the massacre it was very difficult for him to ignore the news. He made a final appeal for American support for Poland in its hour of need; but Roosevelt kept quiet, and made no reply for over a month to him.

(Irving 1967, p. 34)

Consequently, the Russians, now that their crime had been discovered, wanted to exploit it becoming even more aggressive against Poland:

The Russians were more forthright in their demands, and at least once talked of the need to replace the whole Sikorski Government by one more friendly to the Soviet Union.”

(Irving 1967, p. 35)

The UK, as usual, covered behind Russians and played with an already liquidated Poland:

p. 36: “To combat these Russian ambitions, the British Government had offered only appeasement: not the open and discomfiting appeasement of 1938, but appeasement behind closed doors, the details of which were still not disclosed to those who were most concerned – the Poles.

(Irving 1967, p. 36)

And General Sikorski had been de facto irrevocably sentenced to death from the British government. Evidently, the new was not totally secret:

Two Polish ministers had tried to dissuade General Sikorski from making his trip to the Middle East, fearing that he might never return alive to England: both the Polish and the British authorities had reports that General Anders’ Army was a hotbed of anti-Sikorski feeling, in consequence of his earlier compromising stand towards the Soviet Union. There seemed a real danger that he might be struck down by some fanatic from within the Polish army’s ranks. Others believed that Sikorski had cause to fear more than just his Polish enemies. The public relations officer of the Polish Ministry of Defence in London, Stanislaw Strumph-Wojtkiewicz, has written that just before the Polish Prime Minister’s departure from England, a cypher officer at the War Office warned that under no circumstances should Sikorski go to the Middle East. All these ill-omens were ignored, and on May 24, 1943 the journey to the Middle East began.” (Irving 1967, p. 39)

At twelve minutes past four, the train pulled out of Paddington station, and the journey from which Sikorski and his daughter would never return had begun.

They left Lyneham in an American-made bomber of the Consolidated-Vultee Liberator type; it bore the registration number AL523, a number with which the reader will become familiar during the later stages of this narrative, for it was in this aircraft that the Polish Prime Minister was subsequently killed. 5 The aircraft was well handled by its pilot, a highly experienced Flight Lieutenant of the Czechoslovakian Air Force, Edward Maks Prchal. He took off twenty minutes after midnight in complete darkness and pouring rain, and headed out over the Atlantic, giving the German-held coast of Europe a wide berth. As the plane neared Gibraltar, the weather cleared, and by the time the plane touched down on the brief airstrip laid out behind the Rock, at 9.30 A.M. on May 25, the sun was shining brightly.”

(Irving 1967, p. 40)

News of Sikorski’s safe arrival at the Gibraltar staging post had reached his colleagues in London at six o’clock on the evening of May 25. On the following day, an incident occurred which was, to say the least, a macabre omen.

Throughout the morning, those Ministers close to Sikorski had waited anxiously in their offices for the news of his safe arrival in Cairo to come in. Among them was Minister Karol Popiel, sitting in his office at the Polish Ministry of Works in Clifford-street, London W.1. Mr Mikolajczyk had promised to let him know as soon as news arrived. Towards noon, Popiel’s telephone rang and he heard a voice inquire in good Polish: “Am I speaking to Minister Popiel?”

Learning that Minister Popiel was on the line, the voice continued, rather quickly: “Have you heard the news, Minister? General Sikorski’s plane has crashed at Gibraltar, and all its passengers have

been killed.”

Popiel’s first reaction was that somebody was playing some foolish prank, and he angrily asked, “What’s this rubbish that you’re saying . . . and who are you, anyway?” But the voice said no more, and the unknown caller hung up his telephone.

Convinced that somebody had a sick sense of humour, or was trying to intimidate them, Popiel nevertheless telephoned

Mikolajczyk to ask whether there was any news of Sikorski’s arrival. Mikolajczyk informed him that he and General Modelski, the Deputy Minister of Defence, had received identical telephone calls within the last few minutes. The Deputy Prime Minister communicated with the British authorities, full of anxiety about Sikorski’s fate; he was reassured that General Sikorski had safely left Gibraltar and was on his way to North Africa at that moment. The truth was that nothing had befallen the Liberator yet; it was not for another six weeks that General Sikorski and all his companions were to die in the aircraft accident at Gibraltar.

(Irving 1967, p. 41-42)

The UK had lied to Sikorski about the Poland's destinies. The Sikorski assassination would have freed them from any obligation and any lie.

On June 23, General Sikorski called a secret conference of all the Polish military and political leaders in the Middle East: he reassured them that the Polish Government was in possession of a British guarantee that Britain would never accept any territorial changes.(Irving 1967, p. 44)

Sikorski mixed public rhetoric with awareness that Poland had been sold. He knew he would have been assassinated. The British were in a hurry. The needed him in Gibraltar for his already organised murder. And they needed him immediately. A Churchill telegram called him back to the UK. No Prime Minister is assassinated since personal decision of some Secret Service agent or head. Only Prime Ministers may order to kill other Prime Ministers. The plot came from Churchill and it was carried on with Churchill conscious cooperation.

A few days later, in Cairo again, he announced that a completely motorised Polish Army would “soon be fighting on the battlefields of Europe.” All roads to Poland ran through those battlefields, he added: “We Poles are on our way back to the Fatherland.” At a press conference, he reaffirmed that the Polish Government still believed in an Eastern European federation: close federation with Czechoslovakia and looser ties with the Yugoslavs and Greeks; these would serve to restrain Germany and promote co-operation with the Soviet Union. “Poland will do nothing detrimental to the resumption of relations with the Soviet Union,” he said. “Our relationship is based on the principles set down in our Treaty of December 1941, which both Stalin and I signed.”

But in private talks with Anders and other Polish officers in Cairo, he stated that he now realised that the Soviet Union had no intention of honouring its agreements with the Poles, and that Marshal Stalin’s long-term aims were diametrically opposed to their own. Poland must look to Britain and America alone to safeguard her independence.

To all those who came into contact with General Sikorski in Cairo, it was obvious that he was approaching complete physical exhaustion. The Polish consul there, Minister Tadeusz Zazulinski, saw this tiredness manifest in Sikorski’s air of gloomy foreboding, an air which was shared by his daughter. Madame Lesniowska confided to the Minister that she seriously feared that she was going to be killed and die by drowning, and that her body would be consumed by the fishes of the sea. General Sikorski loudly reproached himself for having allowed his daughter to accompany him, and added in some agitation that his responsibility to her mother was overwhelming.

However one may judge these post facto recollections, of one thing all were certain: the Polish leader needed peace and rest. Minister Zazulinski urged Sikorski to go away for a few days to rest and see the wonderful excavations at Luxor and Aswan. Sikorski accepted this proposal, made on June 29, gratefully, but no sooner had it been announced through Reuter and other agencies that he was postponing his proposed return to England, than word arrived from London which led him to change his plans.

During a luncheon with Lord Moyne on June 30, a telegram arrived from Winston Churchill which read:

Am delighted to hear from Casey of general success of your visit. Should be glad to welcome you home. – CHURCHILL.

(Irving 1967, p. 45-46)

How the aeroplane was crashed? The was no sabotage. The same pilot did it. He was the only survivor, a very strange survivor. He had his idiosyncrasies. One is here decisive.

He wore no “Mae West” life-jacket, but this surprised nobody who knew him. “The pilot, like nearly all pilots, had his idiosyncrasies,” Mason-Macfarlane recorded later, “and he never under any circumstances wore his Mae West either taking off or landing. He had his Mae West hung over the back of his seat where it would be handy if required.”56 This was not against R.A.F. Regulations.(Irving 1967, p. 64)

The pilot, Edward Prchal, was evidently the sole survivor. He had been found floating in the sea close to the disaster area, apparently conscious but unable to speak. R.A.F. officers prepared to remove him to hospital at once.

Lubienski was aboard the launch now, and he lifted up the blanket covering the three corpses: of General Sikorski, who had obviously been killed instantly by a terrible head wound; of General Klimecki, his Chief of Staff, who seemed at first sight hardly injured at all; and of Brigadier John Whiteley, M.P., who had expired soon after the launch had picked him up.

But it was not only this tragic sight which was now disturbing the Governor of Gibraltar. The professional mind of this former Intelligence chief was exercised by something about the pilot who had been carried away in a state of shock on an Air Force stretcher.

There was one very extraordinary fact,” he wrote, “that when he was picked up out of the water he was found to be not only wearing his Mae West, but every tape and fastening had been properly put on and done up.”

(Irving 1967, p. 68)

The pilot who never wore any “Mae West” life-jacket, now wore one he could not have put on while the aeroplane was crashing. He previously put on his “Mae West” life-jacket because he knew he had to crash his aeroplane. He did it during the take off. It was safer for him.

As Macfarlane returned to his Palace, the German radio was broadcasting throughout occupied Europe the first shrill allegations that Sikorski had been murdered by the “British Secret Service,” since he had become too troublesome for the Allies. The Germans further claimed that during the course of the day information had reached the German Foreign Office, “in particular from Lisbon and Madrid,” which left no doubt but that the British “Secret Service” had caused Sikorski’s death. Dr Paul Schmidt, the German Foreign Office spokesman, reported that “Sikorski’s death had provided the only way out of this dilemma.” The death of Sikorski was coupled with the assassination of Admiral Jean-François Darlan six months before in North Africa; Darlan, the Germans hastened to point out, had also had policies which ran counter to the British plans. Both the British and the Polish Governments dismissed this absurd German pronouncement (which had been made barely two hours after the news of Sikorski’s death had reached Berlin) as “typifying the low mentality” of the enemy; and it is clear that there is no indication whatsoever in the surviving files of the German Foreign Office, the S.S., or the Abwehr, that the announcement was anything but unfounded mischief making. It would obviously take weeks of inquiry before it could be established whether the plane crash had been an accident or not.(Irving 1967, p. 75-76)

MEANWHILE, WHAT of the pilot? Flight Lieutenant Prchal lay in hospital, and nobody was allowed near him. The Air Ministry had announced on July 5, “the only survivor of the accident is the pilot, who was seriously injured and is now in hospital.” Newspapers throughout the world had taken up this point, the Allied ones in sympathy, the Axis ones suspiciously. In the United States at least one newspaper published the pilot’s name and precise details of his flying career on July 5. New York Times printed a cable from its London correspondent reporting “Only the Czech pilot survived, but he was seriously injured.” The pilot’s nationality and name were withheld from the British Press. The Gibraltar Chronicle reported, “There are hopes that he will recover.” It would indeed have been strange had he not recovered, for the R.A.F. station’s Senior Medical Officer, Squadron Leader Daniel Canning, had examined him immediately upon his arrival ashore and according to his report diagnosed that Prchal was suffering from shock, lacerations of the face and a fracture of his right ankle. Dr Canning has lately amplified these words in an interview with the author, in which he said that Prchal was in a state of severe shock, and that his condition could be described as “reasonably serious.”

Prchal’s lone survival of the Liberator crash provided German propaganda with some juicy morsels. William Joyce broadcast on the very night after the crash: “Oddly enough, of all those who were in the plane, it was only the pilot who escaped. Perhaps he had a certain premonition of evil, and I am wondering whether his name will figure in some Honours List of the future . . . ?”

At the same time on the following night, Joyce predicted that Prchal’s injuries would be “advanced as an excuse for his inability to give any detailed information for some time as to the cause of the crash.” German Home Service listeners were informed that Sikorski’s friends in London were endeavouring to obtain permission for an investigation of the causes of the crash; but that even if these Poles were allowed to travel to Gibraltar, they would find restrictions against which they were powerless to act. Finally, at the Wilhelmstrasse press conference in Berlin on July 7, Dr Schmidt drew attention to the “interesting fact” that certain British newspapers were “making careful attempts to throw the responsibility for Sikorski’s death on the Bolsheviks.”

All this still left Prchal the centre of speculation in the military hospital at Gibraltar. By July 7, he had been examined by the Chief Surgeon, Lieutenant-Colonel Simmons, and he had begun to answer questions put to him by the medical personnel. Despite this the Polish officers who tried to gain access to him were told that he was unconscious for three days after the crash, and their attempts to see him were rebuffed with the explanation that Prchal suffered convulsions every time the subject of the crash was brought up. The Diving Officer, Lieutenant Bailey, also went up to the hospital to see the pilot; he was told that Prchal was in a severe state of shock, and came away without seeing him. The atmosphere of silence was oppressive, and in a crowded community like the Gibraltar colony, rumours spread like wildfire through the Allied officers’ messes. While the newspapers continued to stress the crash pilot’s vast experience in flying transport planes along this line from England to the Middle East, and pointed out that he had flown many other personalities, “including de Gaulle,” without incident, some Poles became more and more convinced that the pilot had somehow staged the accident and got away with it.

That they knew the pilot to be a Czech added weight to their suspicions. How often the dangers of flying with foreigners had been pointed out to General Sikorski! His own Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Ujejski, had once begged him to fly only with Polish aircrew; but Sikorski’s reply had always been the same – he could not show the British that he did not trust them. He had left his life in their hands, and on this trip it was he who had chosen Prchal. As the American newspapers now reported, “The Polish Premier had the choice of more than one plane for his return to London. He chose the one in which he was killed, because he knew the pilot.”

Those who had had the chance of speaking privately with the pilot now had questions of their own. The senior medical officers of Gibraltar heard him describe how at the moment of impact, he had been thrown through the Perspex canopy of his cockpit and remembered no more. Squadron Leader Canning still recalls the disbelief with which this claim was met by him and his colleagues: “He could not possibly have shot through the Perspex without damaging himself appreciably more than he had.” So how had Prchal escaped comparatively uninjured from an aircraft crash in which all his passengers and crew had been killed? Group Captain Bolland, the lanky R.A.F. Station Commander at North Front, managed to see Edward Prchal in hospital, and was asked by the pilot whether his personal luggage had been recovered. In particular Prchal inquired “had the furs been salvaged.” These furs were presumably the contents of one or more of the three suitcases which Prchal informed this author that he had been carrying on the plane on behalf of a senior officer in the Middle East.

(Irving 1967, p. 82-84)

It had not even been the first attempt to the Sikorski life. There had been other attempt in North America. They are documented in (Irving 1967). When too many strange incidents happen, they are never casual.

Accompanying these purges and attempted purges among the British allies or puppets, there were suppressions of press organs and other intimidations.

Irving, D., Accident. The death of General Sikorski, William Kimber and Co. Ltd., London, UK, 1967.