Reply to Edward Lucas; From: John Helmer

Subject: Reply to Edward Lucas
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2014
From: John Helmer <>

Reply to Edward Lucas (JRL#246, November 30, 2014, regarding Item #27)

Readers of JRL who check Edward Lucas’ claims about what I reported about him in JRL#231 of November 6 won”t be able to find the evidence. Looming large in Fast Eddie’s brain as conflict of interest appears to do, I was slow and pedestrian. All I said was: “Lucas is the recipient of a Polish state award from Sikorski. He has told Economist readers Sikorski is ‘a future president [of Poland].'”

In two subsequent reports, which readers haven”t been able to read on JRL, I investigated what happened at the Polish Foreign Ministry after it awarded its medal to Lucas. The two reports appeared on November 6 here ; and then on November 11 here: Lucas’ emailed comments were reported in the text of these stories for all to see. So was the evidence supporting, and not supporting his claims.

The Polish Foreign Ministry confirms it did award Lucas with Radoslaw Sikorski’s medal on November 13, 2009, and it still hasn’t reported (or confirmed privately) that he sent the medal back. In one of Lucas’ emails he reported “the Polish Foreign Ministry either has written to you or is about to write to you telling you that I never received the Bene Merito (and declined it as soon as it was offered).” How Lucas knew what the ministry was about to write, before it wrote it, remains unclear, especially since the ministry’s communication with me didn’t follow the Lucas script. The ministry is still refusing to answer questions about Lucas’ relationship with the ministry or ex-minister Sikorski.

If Lucas cannot be believed about what the ministry in Warsaw is and isn’t saying, how much of what Lucas says about himself is believable? He claims his friend Sikorski pulled a surprise by not telling him the medal was coming in November 2009. The evidence that Lucas turned it down does appear, but not until May 27, 2012, two and a half years after the ministry announcement. Fast Eddie turns out to be slow on the draw, er draw back.

As for what he did to deserve the Polish award, I didn’t speak about “slanted coverage of Poland”. That came from Sikorski and his ministry in Warsaw, which described the award as “in recognition of their merits in promoting Poland abroad.” Lucas was cited, according to the official announcement still on the ministry’s website, “for bringing closer to many readers all over the world issues dealing with Poland’s interests to many readers all over the world in a well-disposed way.”

Among the many things Lucas says now, but which the available evidence belies, is that he doesn’t accept medals and awards from governments because of the appearance of conflict of interest. His exact words: “As a journalist writing about the region I shouldn’t receive awards from governments.” Yet he accepted a medal from the Baltic Assembly on October 10, 2010. The Assembly is the creation of the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian governments, and he has hung on to that one.

Then there is the award presented to Lucas by the President of Estonia today, December 1. This is an award the Estonian government is calling e-residency. According to the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Lucas will be able to use his medal, er card, to receive money in Estonian bank accounts he can open without delay. Last week, according to the Estonian government, “Journalist Edward Lucas will become the first Estonian e-resident BC, Tallinn, 27.11.2014. Estonia’s first e-resident will be British journalist and columnist Edward Lucas, Minister of Internal Affairs Hanno Pevkur said on Thursday at the government press conference, LETA/Delfi reports. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will hand over the e-resident’s ID card to Edward Lucas on 1 December, at 16:00.”

And here, after the ceremony, is Lucas is saying today on Estonian state television that the Estonian award is “much more important than getting a medal” and that he is thinking to open an Estonian bank account for the company he and his wife run in London :

Estonian media links to a much more comprehensive photo record:!dgs=dgsee-144001:64kVgF94abkAj8_N3IK1gH