Spooks and snitches

For some time researchers were trying to figure out the identity of a secret services asset known as Bolek. Allegations circulated that the asset was none other but Lech Wałęsa - the legendary Solidarity leader, future President of "free" Poland.

Despite Wałęsa's repeated denials the allegations never went away. Whether Wałęsa was an asset or not, one thing is certain - the former secret services as well as communist era military intelligence wield enormous power to this day, skillfully operating yesterday's knowledge about today's political figures. If you ever wandered what happened to all those hundreds of thousands of operatives after the political shift you can pick up THE FIFTH INTERNATIONALE, a book dealing with the very subject.
Former Polish President – a Communist Secret Service agent – a book Hundreds of Poles queued outside Warsaw bookstores yesterday to snatch up copies of a new book claiming former Polish president, Solidarity union leader and Nobel laureate Lech Walesa was a communist agent in the 1970s, Polish National TV reported.

Queues formed before 8 am outside Warsaw's Institute of National Remembrance - a research centre that investigates Communist and Nazi crimes - for the release of "Walesa and the Security Service."
Others tried their luck at the numerous bookstores that carried limited numbers of the 700-page volume.

The book "Walesa and the Security Service" by Slawomir Cenckiewicz and Piotr Gontarczyk has new evidence that Walesa was an informer for Poland's communist-era secret service in the 1970s while working at the Gdansk shipyards and later, as president, removed archive documents that implicated him.

Walesa, 65, has denied the allegations and called the institute's authors "fanatics" with libellous claims. He has threatened legal action and said he will soon release his own book to tell his side of the story.

Although the rumours have circulated for decades, the book brought the debate to a head and sparked controversy in Polish politics.

Walesa became an anti-communist hero worldwide after he led a strike at the shipyards against Poland's communist regime in 1980, helping bring down communism at the end of the decade. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983.

Walesa won a 2000 court ruling that said he was not a spy. But opponents, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski, say they know he had worked for communists.

Some see the allegations as tactics used by right-wing politicians for political gain. In a recent survey conducted by the daily Dziennik, 43 per cent said they did not believe the former president worked with the secret police.

The book sparked wide public interest and dominated last week's newspapers and talk shows.

Outside the institute, the crowd grew frustrated when the 600 copies sold out at noon. An official tried calming impatient customers with promises that more copies would be available in two weeks. Many say they what matters for them in the book is not deciding about Walesa's guilt or innocence but making it possible for everybody to learn the truth about secrets of communist past. SOURCE

No comments:

Post a Comment