Thursday, February 22, 2007

Polish PM: Critique of report on Military Intelligence shows that democracy is not functioning in full

On Friday the Polish President released a long awaited report on the activities of the Military Intelligence Services. He said that no changes were made to the report after it was submitted to him. The report was criticised but generally regarded as a flop.
That was until Sunday evening when Deputy Prime Minister Andrzej Lepper called it a "dud" but promised there would be a scandal the next day. His prediction was accurate. On Monday, after revelations of changes by the Polish daily Dziennik, the Polish President said that two names had been removed from a list and admitted to other changes. The media erupted. The Prime Minister ascribes the resulting criticism to a democracy that is not functioning in full.
According to Former Minister of Defense and member of the Polish Government opposition party SLD Jerzy Szmajdzinski, criticism resulted because "…the most important people in the country are lying."
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych added that he thinks that not only 2 names, as stated by the President, but as many as 20 names may have been removed.
The Polish President released a report on the Poland's Militiary Intelligence services that included the names of active agents and who are asking what they should do now that their cover is blown. And they have not gotten answers. The report released on Friday is being hailed by the Russians as a treasure trove of information about Polish intelligence gathering, Master Page writes.

Marek Jedrys
It is even reported that some people who were friends of Polish agents have disappeared. Beyond that, two active agents had their names published in the report and have been left without instructions as to what to do now that they cannot act covertly. Addtionally, four ambassadors have been called to Poland for consultations. They are the ambassadors to Austria, Kuwait, China and Turkey.
The report further gives 90 names of military attaches who were trained in USSR. The report doesn't accuse them of any crimes. Forty of these people are still active in Polish deplomacy abroad. This report is the end of their carriers, according to former foreign minister Adam Rotfeld.
In what might be a violation of the Poland's Constitution, the Polish Government issued two versions of the same report concerning the Polish Military Intelligence Services. Polish President Lech Kaczynski says it was done for matters of security. One version of the that named people who cooperated with the Polish Military Intelligence Services was released to Government Officials. A different version was released to the public.
On Friday, when the report was released, President Kaczynski said that the report had been released as he had gotten it from the Deputy Defense Minister Marcierwicz. No changes were made.
On Monday, the Polish daily Dziennik In Polish revealed that the copy released to the public was different than the one released to Government Officials. And on Monday, after the Dziennik article, the Polish President said changes had been made.
Dziennik has responded that the report was manipulated. One was for the Government and one was for PR. The President gave reasons for the changes. One name was removed because of a request of Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz. Another was removed because the person was in a foreign country and he did not find evidence the person operated in Poland outside the law. He did not comment on the added sentence but said that some passages were removed.
Deputy Prime Minister Giertych has been critical of the changes. He commented that after the revelation of the second report he received a letter from the Government saying that the first version of the report, which had not been classified was now classified.
That there are two reports has created an uproar in Poland. The Polish media are in a feeding frenzy. Some are questioning the classification and call of national security as the reason for changes.
One name removed is reportedly that of a man who was appointed by the President's party, Law and Justice, to the head of a "local media." They ask if removing this man's name is about national security or more about Law and Justice wanting to protect this man's job.
Additionally, the report as published detailed the operations of the Polish Intelligence Services to everyone in the world. The Russians are surprised that they have been given such a gift. And the report has blown the cover of some active agents. If national security was of a concern, why was this information revealed. Constitutional scholars have opined that the President violated the Constitution. They say he can, if he follows the Constitution, either accept or reject the report. He cannot make changes. The Polish Parliament Committee for Special Services will investigate the matter of the changes.