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politics - 28 01 2003 - 13:37 - katatonik

Operation Samum

Unlängst in einer Nachrichtensendung des deutschen Fernsehens: Vor einigen Jahren (wann genau?) retteten polnische Militärtypen (welcher Art genau?) einige US-Marines (Marines oder andere?) aus dem Irak. Die Polen waren da anscheinend als Berater oder sowas präsent.

Die Amerikaner gaben sich während der Busfahrt aus dem Irak als Polen aus. Als ihr Bus von irakischen Schergen kontrolliert wurde, gaben sie sich überdies als betrunkene Polen aus, um ihre mangelnde Kenntnis der polnischen Sprache gewitzt zu verbergen.

Gestützt auf diese “Operation Samum” wurde ein Film mit dem Titel “Operacija Samum” gedreht, Regie Wladyslaw Pasikowski, 1999.

Im Internet ist nichts Interessantes zu besagter Operation zu finden, das nicht auf Polnisch geschrieben wäre, dessen mangelnde Kenntnis ich mich hier gar nicht erst bemühe zu verbergen. (Ich habe nicht genug Fantasie, mich im Weblog als betrunkener polnischer Elitesoldat zu verstellen.)

Daher, weil ich nichts finden kann, übrigens auch die Frageeinsprengsel oben im ersten Absatz.

In deutschen Medien ist die enge Verbindung von Polen und den USA und die freundliche Unterstützung amerikanischer Truppen durch polnische Superhartkampfeinheiten übrigens recht groß Thema. Man könnte über die Gründe dafür Häme und Spekulativus gießen, aber dazu habe ich jetzt keine Lust.

Bitte giessen, wenn Du hast.

mv (Jan 28, 05:58 pm) #

The Warsaw Voice, 23. 5. 1999, im Google-Archiv:

Samum, a hot and strong desert wind, provides the title for W?adys?aw Pasikowski's latest film. The movie is based on a true story: Nine years ago, in a spectacular prelude to the Gulf War, the Polish secret services rescued six CIA agents from Iraq. The mission was extremely risky and urgent because by that time Saddam Hussein's secret police had already tracked down the U.S. spies.

For the Americans, Polish intelligence was the last chance-everyone else had already left Iraq as the atmosphere was too hot to handle. For the government in Warsaw, Operation Samum was an opportunity to show that Poland could be an equal partner and in the future a worthy NATO member. The film repeats speculations that there was also a promise of a significant reduction in the Polish international debt. Gen. Gromos?aw Czempiñski, who was the head of State Protection Office (UOP) at that time and in charge of the mission, recalls, however, that he told the Americans "they owed me nothing because it was a humanitarian mission."

Polish forces rescued not only CIA agents from Baghdad but also secret maps apparently so crucial that Operation Desert Storm could have had a different outcome if the mission had failed. But even though it was a success, all the details of the operation will never see the light of day.

For this reason, history is blended with fiction in Pasikowski's film. To make Operacja Samum more appealing, a new and purely fictitious plot was introduced: Marek Kondrat plays an aging Polish double-zero agent, Józef Mayer, who at the crucial moment goes to Iraq on a private mission. His son, a construction engineer, has gotten into trouble because of an affair with a woman, an Israeli spy, and Mayer is determined to rescue him from an Iraqi prison. For the Polish agents it is the perfect smoke screen for their own mission.

To show such a complicated and adrenaline-packed story was a gigantic feat and the filming of Operacja Samum was threatened by many dramatic events that could as well be part of a spy thriller. To start with, the filmmakers admit they had a miserable job convincing the secret service to allow them to bring the story to the screen.

The Washington Post leaked the first news about the bravado of Polish agents in 1995. A Polish film producer, Piotr Dejmek, heard about it and got in touch with Deputy Foreign Minister Henryk Jasik to find out if it was true, who then reluctantly put Dejmek in contact with Czempiñski.

The information was so ferociously denied that Dejmek knew he had happened upon superb material for a film. It was an easy task to convince Kondrat to play the leading role. The actor was in fact so enthusiastic about the project that he invested his own money and helped find other sponsors and producers. Kondrat minimizes his importance in making the film. "Earlier I did not feel the need to invest in a film, but this time I decided to undertake the risk, especially that in this particular project it did not seem to be high," he says.

But the producers must have been really worried when at the end of 1995, Czempiñski struck back. In a mysterious way he obtained the first draft of the script. As it turned out, Czempiñski himself was the brains behind the mission in Iraq and wanted to keep it a secret. He strongly opposed the very idea of making a film about the dramatic events from the fall of 1990. He even openly announced he would do anything to prevent filming.

However, at the beginning of 1998 Czempiñski surprised everyone when he drastically changed his attitude towards the project. He agreed to become the official supervisor of Operacja Samum. At a press conference on Sept. 30, 1998, one day after shooting started, Czempiñski publicly addressed Dejmek, "Now you know where all your troubles came from." He added after a pause, "I'm sorry." Some voices say Czempiñski's unexpected maneuver allowed him to retain at least some control over the film which at that moment was bound to be completed anyway.

When the problems with the secret service were eliminated, Kondrat and Co. had to face another, even more difficult one: money. The total cost of the film was not disclosed because, for the first time, Warner Bros. decided to invest in a Polish movie. For another American corporation, HBO, Pasikowski's film was the third Polish production it financed and more are coming soon especially since Operacja Samum is bound to turn a profit.

bov (Jan 28, 06:00 pm) #

herzlichen dank für die cache-durchwühlung. das mit dem profit fände ich ja nachforschenswert. mir ist ja nicht bekannt, dass der film irgendwo außer in polen gezeigt wurde. aber vielleicht findet sich auch dazu im cache noch mehr.

katatonik (Jan 28, 11:49 pm) #

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