Thursday, December 31, 2009

Polish anti-corruption agents ineffective against corruption

From: The News
RZECZPOSPOLITA reveals an Interior Ministry report claiming that over 95 per cent of corruption related crimes are discovered by the police.

In terms of effectiveness, this leaves far behind the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA), an institution which by definition has been established to deal exclusively with this type of practices.

Last year the police has launched close to 6 thousand investigations in cases involving corruption, while the CBA had only 280 to its credit. Nevertheless, it must be noted that while police statistics include even the smallest instances of bribery such as attempting to pay a cop for dropping speeding charges, the CBA focuses on big caliber cases quite often concerning exorbitant sums and publicly prominent figures.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Perplexity After Auschwitz Sign Theft

From: New York Times
Police officers unwrapped a part of the retrieved inscription from the Auschwitz Birkenau entrance, during a press conference in Krakow, Poland, on Tuesday.
It was hard to know what was more shocking: the haplessness of the thieves who stole the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign looming over Auschwitz, or the laxness of the security protecting this emblem of the Holocaust’s perversity and horror.

The thieves first tried to steal the sign, which means “Work Makes You Free,” last Thursday evening. But they lacked the right tools. Undetected, they drove to a hardware shop in the nearby town of Oswiecim and bought better tools. When they returned to the camp past midnight, there were no guards in sight, no evidence that surveillance cameras were functioning.

They set to work. Just as any visitor to the concentration camp could, they easily climbed atop the modest wrought-iron gate. They unbolted one side of the sign and then ripped off the 66-pound metal frame when the other side proved more difficult.

They then discovered the sign would not fit into their car, according to Artur Wrona, the prosecutor and lead investigator in the case. So they had to saw it in three pieces, but dropped the “i’ in Frei and left it behind.

“They were so unprofessional,” said Jaroslaw Mensfelt, spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, a vast, eerie complex that covers nearly 500 acres and commemorates the slaughter of 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, but also thousands of Roma, homosexuals, conscientious objectors, and Soviet and German political prisoners. “They clearly did not do their homework,” he said.

The tale of the theft has prompted shock across Europe and criticism from Israel and Jewish groups. Poland’s president, Lech Kaczynski, said he was “shaken and outraged,” and Avner Shalev, the chairman of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, issued a statement saying, “The theft of such a symbolic object is an attack on the memory of the Holocaust.”

Mr. Wrona, the prosecutor, was scathing in his criticism of security at what has become one of the most visited former Nazi concentration camps, attracting over a million visitors a year, calling it “glaring negligence.”

Theories of why someone would steal the infamous sign have raced through the local press, including a report that someone in Sweden had orchestrated the theft. While police officials in Poland and Sweden have not confirmed such accounts, local officials have said the evidence suggests that someone outside the country had a role in the theft.

To help understand the crime, officials brought three suspects to the scene on Monday to re-enact the events.

The dropped letter “i” offered investigators clues that the sign had been cut, and the Polish police embarked on an intense search.

They found the sign Monday, stashed away in a wooded area beneath a layer of snow in northern Poland, several hundred miles from the camp. But details have been sketchy as to where exactly it was found, or how. They arrested five men, though they have not said how they were led to them.

Lidia Puchacz, a forensics expert called in to examine the banner, told journalists on Tuesday that cutting and sawing tools used in the theft had been found at the home of one suspect.

All the suspects were brought to Oswiecim. Polish television showed them handcuffed and dressed in jeans and jackets, their faces covered by their jacket hoods, entering the police station.

Three of the suspects have already admitted to playing a role in the crime, according to Mr. Wrona. Two of them are refusing, so far, to cooperate.

In the meantime, a duplicate sign, prepared five years ago when the original was being refurbished, has been put up.

Despite the speculation that the sign could have been taken by neo-Nazis or others seeking to glorify the past, Mr. Wrona said the crime did not appear to be linked to any ideology. He said the lack of security allowed the perpetrators to approach the gate “unnoticed” and “undisturbed.”

Mr. Mensfelt, 47, who has been working at the Auschwitz Museum for the past 13 years, agreed that the security was not what it should be. It was not clear why the surveillance camera at the gate did not capture the theft, or why no security guards were on patrol.

But he did say that simply paying to keep the huge site open was an issue.

“The total museum budget in 2008 was about 6.8 million euros, partly through visitors and contributions,” he said, adding that the Polish government provided about 2.5 million euros a year. “Aid from abroad covers less than 5 percent of the budget,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we have to pay a staff of 250, of which 50 are security guards,” he said. “The personnel costs are over three million euros a year. You can see we are strapped for cash.”

Just two days before the theft, the German government provided a grant of up to 60 million euros for the protection of the site. The funds will be sent in the coming weeks to an oversight foundation.

Mr. Mensfelt said some small items had been stolen over the years, ever since the museum was created by an act of the Polish Parliament on July 2, 1947, but there had never been such a security breach as this.

Made in 1940 by Polish political prisoners, the sign remains one of the first things visitors see on approaching Auschwitz. Although much has been sanitized or destroyed, visitors today nevertheless get a real sense of the organization of the extermination camp, which was built on the site of a former army barracks.

Besides the ruined gas chambers and crematoriums, there are several hundred camp buildings, nine miles of camp fence, camp roads, and the railroad spur at Birkenau.

In addition to document archives, which Mr. Mensfelt said accounted for most of the security, there is an enormous collection of possessions.

“We have over 2,000 kilograms of human hair, we have so many personal possessions, 3,800 suitcases, 2,100 of which bear the names of their owners. We have diaries, spectacles, shoes, Jewish clothing.”

“It is a vast archive,” he said. “Who would have thought that the banner would be stolen?”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Probation thug jailed after impaling Polish cleaner on mop handle

From: Scottsman and STV
A THUG who battered a Polish cleaner and assaulted him with a 3ft mop handle has been jailed for more than nine years.
Keith Porter, who was on probation at the time of the attack, laughed as he was led in handcuffs from the dock at the High Court in Glasgow.

The court was told Porter pounced on Jaroslaw Janeczek, 39, as he sat in his car outside his Aberdeen home in July. Mr Janeczek required eight hours of surgery to remove the stick, which was fully inside his body.

A judge yesterday told Porter, 21, he had rarely heard of such "brutal violence" during his 25 years in the courts. Lord Turnbull sentenced him to nine years and four months after he pled guilty to a charge of attempted murder.

He ordered that Porter be supervised for a further five years and eight months on his release.

Co-accused George Stewart, 24, was jailed for three years and three months after he admitted assaulting Mr Janeczek to his severe injury during the same incident.

Mr Janeczek was set upon after being dropped off at his flat, in the early hours of 11 July. As he went into his car to get his house keys, Porter approached and started punching him. Porter claimed Mr Janeczek had earlier kicked his dog, and Stewart then joined in on the assault.

Stewart struck Mr Janeczek with a car door and landed several blows and kicks to his body. Jonathan Brodie, QC, prosecuting, said that shocked witnesses thought Mr Janeczek was going to be killed. Porter grabbed items including a mop and brushes from the boot of the cleaner's vehicle, the court was told.

Mr Janeczek was initially "whipped and stabbed" with the implements, before Porter carried out the assault with the mop handle. The thugs then fled, leaving Mr Janeczek for dead.

He required major surgery after doctors found the mop had penetrated his stomach and liver, narrowly missing his heart.

His chest had to be cut open and the wood had to be sawn for it to be removed. Mr Brodie told the court: "It was concluded that, without surgical intervention, he would have died."

The prosecutor told the court the wood must have been "kicked or stamped" into Mr Janeczek.

The court heard that the victim was left badly scarred and required further surgery, but fortunately he had made a "remarkable recovery".

Speaking exclusively to STV News on Thursday through an interpreter, Mr Janeczek says he remembers little of the ordeal.

He said: “There's a big black hole in my memory. I saw the faces on TV - I don't think I’ve ever seen them before.

“I'm sure they knew I was Polish. It would be easy to recognise after they exchanged a few words with me, but I don't know, that could be the reason they attacked me but there could be a number of reasons.

“It’s difficult for any reaction when you're taking painkillers and medicines, the biggest question for me was, will I be able to live normally? Will I be able to function normally and live a normal life?

“I'm sure it will affect the comfort of my life, as I get older, after so many operations, I will be in pain all the time.”

It emerged that Porter was sentenced to probation two days before this attack for a separate assault.

Lord Turnbull told Porter that he had to be locked up for the foreseeable future to stop him harming others. He said: "Shocking acts of violence are regularly described in these courts. However, in more than 25 years' experience, I have rarely heard of an assault so brutal in its description.

"Very few people would contemplate that someone aged 21 could be capable of inflicting such violence."

The judge added: "The picture that emerges of you is thoroughly an alarming one. You have been receiving detention since the age of 16.

"You complained to the social workers that the courts have never given you a chance – but that is simply not true."

Lord Turnbull told Stewart that, while his role in the attack was less, he had still acted in a "disgraceful fashion".

The judge also paid tribute to the "dedication" of hospital staff who had saved Mr Janeczek's life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Senator Piesiewicz in Blackmail Scandal

From: Krakow Post
Polish screenwriter turned politician filmed with drugs and prostitutes
Until this week, Krzysztof Piesiewicz was best known for his work with famed Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski. A lawyer and screenwriter, Piesiewicz had worked on some of Kieslowski's most notable films, including The Double Life of Véronique and the Three Colours trilogy, as well as The Decalogue, a 10-part series on the 10 commandments that Piesiewicz set into motion. Most notably during his law career, Piesiewicz assisted in the successful prosecution of the murderers of anti-communist priest Jerzy Popieluszko. After 1989, Piesiewicz went on to serve several terms in the Polish Senate. In 2007, he was elected to the senate for the fifth time, as a member of the Citizen's Platform (PO) party.

However, after this week it seems that not only is the senator's political career over, but he will likely be remembered for his deeds in this century rather than the previous one. This week, the Polish tabloid Super Express published a video on their website showing the 64-year-old politician in drag, allegedly snorting cocaine with prostitutes.

The video shows Piesiewicz appearing to inhale a white powder, while being surrounded by women later identified as prostitutes. Afterwards, he is shown lying in bed unconscious in a women's dress, with one of the women applying make-up to his face.

The senator claims that he was blackmailed by the prostitutes who appear in the video. He says the white powder is medicine, and not cocaine. Meanwhile, the women claim that the video was an act of revenge on Piesiewicz, as he had promised to find jobs for them. They were allegedly blackmailing him for half a million zloty in order to keep the tape out of the public's eye.

According to Piesiewicz, he had met twice with the women and paid them an undisclosed amount. When they asked for more money, he went to the Prosecutor’s Office. The police have stated that he was a victim of an illegal group that extorts large sums of money from celebrities through blackmail. The women involved have also been arrested.

However, the senator has asked that his immunity from prosecution be removed. If convicted on drug possession charges, Piesiewicz could serve up to eight years in prison.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Poland tightens border in hunt for Auschwitz sign

From: AP
This two photo combination shows above: a Polish Police handout showing the entrance to the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz Birkenau, without the Nazi infamous iron sign inscription declaring "Arbeit Macht Frei", German translated to "Work Sets You Free", which was stolen from the entrance of the former Auschwitz death camp, Polish police said, in Oswiecim, southern Poland, Friday, Dec. 18, 2009. The photo below shows an exact replica of the sign, produced when the original received restoration work years ago, which was quickly hung in its place, Friday Dec. 18, 2009.
The Polish government says it has tightened security as the search intensifies for the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign that was stolen from the Auschwitz memorial site.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Wioletta Paprocka said Saturday that border guards at Poland's eastern border with Ukraine and Belarus — which is also the European Union's eastern frontier — stepped up checks of goods out of Poland looking for the sign, which means "Work Makes You Free."

Checks have also been tightened at airports.

Interior Minister Jerzy Miller ordered police to increase vigilance and question all possible witnesses and suspects in a nationwide effort to find the sign that stands as one of Nazi Germany's most chilling symbols.

Thieves stole the sign before dawn Friday.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

WANTED: Polish rape suspects hunted by police

From: Mainenhead Adviser
Polish brothers linked to Slough are among ten dangerous men wanted for extradition overseas.

The Metropolitan Police Service is launching Operation Sunfire, an appeal to trace those suspected of offending abroad who are believed to be living in the UK.

Among them are Wojciech Glowacki, 28, and Dariusz Glowacki, 32, who are wanted for suspected rape on January 1, 2002, at Zelechow, Mazowieckie Provence in Poland.

The brothers are alleged to have attacked a girl aged under 18 years by punching and kicking her before repeatedly raping her.

They are also wanted for two other stranger attacks of this type in the same region.

The Glowacki's are linked to the Acton and Slough areas.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Polish police force protesting asylum seekers off train

From: RIA Novosti
Polish police have forced 230 asylum seekers from Georgia and Chechnya to leave a train they had boarded in an attempt to illegally reach Strasbourg in a human rights protest.

The group, which is protesting against poor living conditions and long waiting times for asylum applications in Poland, boarded the train with no tickets, and refused to leave when stopped at the German border.

The train was stopped at the Polish checkpoint in Zgorzelec.

"We used neither direct force nor means available to the police, as there were 60 children among the refugees," border control spokeswoman Anna Galon said.

She said all the refugees would likely be returned to their camps after police reports have been compiled.

The refugees, who also include residents of the troubled south Russian republic of Ingushetia, have demanded they be given official status as soon as possible and be provided with tolerable food.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Polish police detain 54 over child pornography

From: E Taiwanne
Polish police say they have detained 54 people across the country suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography on the Internet.

National police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said the officers seized 56 computers and laptops, video cassettes, DVDs and CDs in private homes and offices during the Tuesday raids. He made the comments on Wednesday.

Polish authorities were tipped off by police in Germany.

If convicted, the suspects could face up to five years in prison for possessing child pornography and eight years for distributing it.

More than 200 people have been detained in Poland this year on suspicion of possessing and spreading child pornography.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Poland: Tenants Burn Law, Declare War

From: Infoshop News
Warsaw tenants fight on, taking direct action, challenging the law and giving the politicians a hard time.

Things are getting hot for bureaucrats, property speculators and thieves as Warsaw tenants take more and more action. Yesterday tenants protested at the parliament, burning the Law on the Protection of Tenants which they claim is meaningless and only protects the interests of property owners. "At least we'll put this meaningless paper to good use - by keeping warm," claimed the tenants as they lit a bonfire. They reminded people that throughout Warsaw, people must resort to burning all sorts of things in their homes to keep warm as many houses still have no heat and as slumlords cut off gas to drive people out of their homes. At a time when many tenants, often elderly, are sitting home freezing, it is much better to take to the streets and protest. Where there is no heat, there will be fire - our fires, the bonfires of resistance.

A growing group of hardcore activists are vowing to get better organized, take more action and to stop the state from their anti-social and thieving activities. Warsaw ZSP is part of the Tenants' Defense Committee which organized the protest yesterday and invited other associations with which it has contact. The Committee has declared war on city bureaucrats who make horrendous policies to enrich speculators and to redistribute property to elites, heirs of former elites, speculators and developers. Their cronies also earn on overpriced public tenders, often related to gentrification, but not the real improvement of public housing standards. The Committee has been exposing corruption, blocking the plans of the local bureaucrats and intervening on behalf of tenants with direct actions. It has publically opened a list of empty flats and buildings, suitable for squatting.

Tenant activity ranges from peaceful protest, to direct action to legal action. Some people are trying to fight bandit reprivatization through the courts. Today was such a case of a tenant from the Citizen24 group who is seeking ways to legal overturn some of the conditions of reprivatization. Reprivatization of public housing has been a tragedy for many hundreds of families in Warsaw, especially for the elderly. Housing that was private before the Second World War is reprivatized. The owners are dead, but the property goes to heirs, to people who claim to be heirs, to people who forged documents, or speculators who have nothing to do at all with the property but bought claims to the property years ago, when it seemed like getting property back would never happen. In the meanwhile, tenants are transferred to a new, private landlord who wants to do nothing but raise the rent - or sell the building, even to be destroyed. The law is constructed in such a way that the state is not required to provide them with alternative public housing. Only if the new landlord decides to evict them and the tenants meet very rigorous criteria can they qualify to get on a waiting list for public housing ---- and these conditions, were an improvement over the old ones, a small improvement won by months of tenants' protests.

Some tenants will fight losing their homes in any way possible. Some refuse to move, blockade themselves in their houses, fight with the landlords, become illegal tenants or squatters. Others are fighting now to overturn illegal privatizations - only again the law does not protect tenants. Illegally privatized housing is often resold and the courts consider that the new owners purchased the property "in good faith". It is increasingly clear to even non-politically minded tenants that the law was made by property holders and speculators, for property holders and speculators, and tenants are only treated as possible sources of income for the parasitic speculators and landlords.

At yesterday's demonstration, dozens of tenants spoke about the awful experiences they had with reprivatization, or with the city trying to get rid of them to gentrify their houses. And as more and more of these stories are repeated in the press, more people are becoming aware of the extent of the problem. At today's court session, the courtroom was overrun by tenants who hope that the Constitutional Tribunal will declare at least some aspects of reprivatization laws to be against the Constitution.

Also today, we can gladly report that the pandemonium caused by tenants protests, and in particular the Committee's analysis and protest of the city budget, means that Warsaw still has no budget approved for 2010. The politicians will try to pass one in an emergency session of the City Council next week. The Committee has vowed to block, through direct action, any attempts to vote on the budget as long as the city does not allocate 100 million zloties for new housing.

Why 100 million zloties? Last year, the City Council voted on drastic rent hikes (200-300%), which came into effect this year. The lying bastards set up a neoliberal brainwashing/PR team to convince the press and public opinion that these increases were necessary and the politicians vowed to use 100% of the money from the rent hikes to fund repairs to devasted public housing. They attempted to accuse us of being "against repairs" and of wanting people to live in slums. The counteroffensive to this propaganda took months and included going in a group of 100 people to the neighbourhood council and taking over the meeting. The Committee pointed out time and time again that money for repairs were already set out in a four-year budget plan adopted a year earlier and that an analysis of previous repairs on public housing showed that a) many repairs were made on gentrifying projects, including on housing that would later be sold or privatized b) the money spent on repairs was often like the amounts the Pentagon spends on toilet seats - overinflated and c) there were many fictious repairs, charged to the city, paid to contractors, but never made. The Committee started to document this and often confronts the authorities with instances of corruption.

Public opinion started to change a little - and then a lot when we got our hands on a draft copy of the budget for 2010. The budget showed that the city not only does not plan to spend the money from increased rents on repairs, but reallocated the money to things like... politicians' salaries. A major scandal broke out.

The Committee demands at the very least that the money be spent on what the bastards promised - or they can overturn the decision to raise the rents. The city tried to respond with PR - but it didn't work. The Vice-President of the City (who is the head of the City Council) has not shown up at the Council since tenants stormed his office a few months ago and officially demanded he be dismissed. A few weeks ago he tried to "make ammends" by announcing that the city would build new housing and held a press conference about it. The press asked the Committee for a response and we asked the politicians to say where they would get the money for this being that they didn't put it in the budget. After some days of embarrassment, the City announced that in fact, yes, there was no money allocated in the budget for the marvelous housing projects that they presented to the press, but maybe the Council of Europe Bank would make the city (another) loan. The Committee had another idea: since the city reallocated 100 million zloties from the funds to repair housing for things like politician's salaries and their mobile phone bills, the Committee proposes that they just tighten their belts, stop chatting and give the money that they wanted to misappropriate to actually build these houses.

The bureaucrats have egg on their faces. Next year is election year and they can't afford such a public relations disaster. In addition, there is an opportunist opposition in the city government trying to gain off this embarrassment. They have also decided to attempt to block the budget and give the ruling party a hard time.

Two weeks ago some tenants interrupted the Council. Others stayed and heckled and vowed to block the budget voting with protests, except the opposition also blocked it from the floor. Next week, before the emergency session, the Committee will try to make a final push on the city to at least build some houses. Even though the neoliberal ideology is deeply ingrained in most of society, there is wide public support for these demands. People have had enough of corruption.

But the movement, although it gained a loud voice in public discussion, is still not supported widely enough. This is a typical problem of the passivity of Polish society. More and more people will need to join, but for some, the lack of early response has already lost them their home. People are being moved into containers, or are forced to crowd into relatives' flats. The city even officially tells people now that if they lose their flats, they can move in with their parents - even if they live in a totally different city. (What better way to gentrify the town?)

The Committee calls on people to take direct action, organize themselves to help each other, block evictions, hold politicians and speculators accountable for their corruption and to put as much pressure on the bastards as possible to force a better social housing policy. In lieu of this, we say, take the law into your own hands, and burn it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arrest made in Polish man murder probe

From: The Independant
A reward was offered for information about Marek Pudlowski's death
A 33-year-old man was arrested today by detectives investigating the murder of a Polish man who was found dead on a bench in a seaside town.

A member of the public found the body of Marek Pudlowski, 51, in Waterloo Square, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, on the afternoon of August 3.

Detectives from Sussex Police's major crime branch launched a murder inquiry after a post-mortem examination found he had suffered severe bruising to his upper body.

A police spokesman said a local man was arrested this morning and he will be interviewed later today. Earlier this month a £5,000 reward was put up for information leading to a conviction.

Extensive inquiries have been carried out among the Polish and Eastern European communities in Bognor, and leaflets and posters were distributed to publicise the reward.

In the days after the death, police released CCTV footage of Mr Pudlowski, who lived in Bassett Road, Bognor, stumbling into a bank to sit down hours before he was found dead.

Images showed bank staff handing him a bucket in a branch of HSBC in the town, seemingly unaware that he had been attacked and was in pain.

A recorded appeal was also made by Mr Pudlowski's daughter, Agniezka Pudlowska, who flew with relatives to the UK from Poland to urge witnesses to come forward.

In her tearful appeal, Ms Pudlowska said: "Please remember that Marek Pudlowski was a father, he was a husband, he was a brother and he was an uncle. Please, if you can help us, we would be very, very grateful."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Violent Polish Rapist Jailed

From: 4Ni
Sadowski offered the girl's mother money to withdraw her statement
A Polish man has been jailed for ten years after carrying out a vicious sex attack on a young fellow countrywoman.

Kazimierz Sadowski, 32, received an eight years prison term for his part in the repeated rape of a 19-year-old student in July 1999.

The Polish woman, who cannot be named to protect her identity, and female acquaintances were offered a lift by two men after a night out in London.

The driver of the car was Sadowski, from Essex Road, Barking, Essex.

After leaving the other females homes, he and his accomplice subjected the 19-year-old woman to an horrific sexual assault.

She even made a bid to escape on several occasion but was subjected to further violence.

The victim later reported the incident to police, but was unable to name her attackers.

DNA evidence taken from the victim's clothing was unable to track the men, as neither were on the national database.

Despite extensive police inquiries the trail went cold but the suspects DNA was left on the database in case future progress could be made.

On 23 March 2008 Sadowski was arrested for drink driving and a DNA swab was taken and a one in 1 billion match came up on the DNA database.

He was subsequently charged with three counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault and was remanded to appear at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court on 4 December 2008.

Sadowski then breached his bail conditions and absconded back to Poland and on 30 January 2009 he was detained by Polish police under a European arrest warrant.

On his return to the UK Sadowski then instigated a campaign of intimidation against the victim and her family to try and force her to drop the case.

The victim refused and the trial went ahead on 28 September 2009 at Southwark Crown Court.

Sadowski denied culpability claiming, incorrectly, that he had been in a relationship with the victim and that the allegations were as a result of her not being happy that he had ended it.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty on 5 October 2009.

The other man is still wanted and the three female acquaintances, who the victim knew only by first names, never came forward or got in contact with the victim again. Police have been unable to trace them.

DC Claire Watts, from the Metropolitan Police Cold Case Sapphire Investigation Team, said: "Sadowski subjected this woman to a lengthy, terrifying and violent attack.

"The jury rightly saw through his lies and upheld the victim's account of being repeatedly raped and indecently assaulted.

"Today's sentencing reflects the seriousness with which all sexual assaults will be dealt with and is some recognition of the bravery of the victim in continuing to support the prosecution despite the intimidation she and her family were subjected to."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Paedophile mugshots to go public?

From: The News
Law and Justice MPs want images of sexual offenders and their personal data to go public.

According to the amendment to the penal code proposed by the conservative Law and Justice party, courts will be obliged to reveal personal data and images of people who committed brutal rapes or sexual crimes against minors and were validly sentenced.

“So far courts could decided whether they wanted to make sexual offenders’ names public. We want the practice to become a rule,” says Andrzej Dera, author of the draft.

An Internet register of sexual offenders would contain photos of those who committed sexual offences and notes about the crimes.

The idea has already stirred a lot of controversy. Former Justice Minister Zbigniew Cwiakalski criticised the draft, saying that minor sexual offenders should not be treated in the same way as serious, notorious offenders.

Opponents also argue that courts should take the decision as to the publication of offenders’ data because they will not be influenced by public opinion.

On the other hand supporters praise the idea, saying that similar registers exist, or will exist in other countries, such as the US, Peru and South Korea. Great Britain also has a database of sexual offenders but it is available only for police and the secret services.

Jakub Spiewak from, a foundation which fights against child pornography and paedophilia, claims that Poland needs a sexual offenders register but a classified one, as the average citizen does not need such information.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Poland receives anti-accolade at COP 15

From: The News
At the ongoing climate meet in Copenhagen, Poland has received the anti-accolade of “Fossil of the Day” by the Climate Action Network.

CAN awards the prize to the country which, according to the environmental group, blocks negotiations in the fight against climate change.

Poland was awarded First Prize after Poland’s European Minister Dowgielewicz said that the EU’s plan to cut CO2 emissions by 30 percent has no chance of being accepted by all members of the 27-member bloc.

Dowgielewicz argued at the conference in Copenhagen that most of the EU states are against raising the bar on carbon emissions, meaning that the 20 percent cut 2020 remains as the key goal.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Polish teacher leaves pet dog to starve

From: NPE
A primary school teacher is facing two years in jail after leaving her pregnant dog chained up in her kitchen while she went on holiday - for seven months.

Olivia P., has been suspended from her job and now faces animal cruelty charges after all the dogs died.

“What on earth does this woman teach our children if this is how she treats her pets?” said one neighbour.

The teacher claims that she simply “forgot” to leave food; “I love my dogs and I do not feel guilty.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Student hacks parents to death

From: NPE
A university student hacked his parents to death with an axe, and then called the police to admit the crime.

The 19-year old known only as Mikolaj who studies at Wroclaw University was at his parent’s home when at five in the morning he took the axe, walked into their bedroom and attacked his mother Hanna (45) and father Artur (40).

After dismembering the bodies, Mikolaj called the police and told them what he had done.

When police arrived at the home in the small village of Borownia they couldn’t believe their eyes.

“Officers entered the bedroom and found the boy sitting on the floor beside the bed crying his heart out. In the bed were the bloody remains of his parents.

“He admitted the attack and when asked why he had done it, he said he didn’t know, but later confessed that it was because his parents were opposed to his homosexuality” said police spokesman Artur Chorazy.

A few days before the murder, Mikolaj brought his homosexual lover to the family home.

Neighbours from the from small village are shocked.

“It was such a quiet, peaceful family. They always seemed happy. We just can’t understand what happened, why Mikolaj would do something like this. It’s shocking and completely incomprehensible,” said neighbour Jan Gembara.

“He was such a nice boy. He passed his high school diploma with honours, and was a multiple winner of competitions in various sports. His parents were also very well-educated and Artur ran his own business.”

But they add, they were also very Catholic and strict.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More Polish drunk driving

From: NPE
An HGV collided head-on with a coach in Hajdaszek, south of Kielce, this Wednesday morning, killing two and injuring twenty-one. The incident occurred when the HGV driver lost control of his vehicle and veered into the wrong lane.

An ambulance medic at the scene told a reporter from Gazeta Kielce, “It was a massacre. The blue bus was full of people… We had to assess the wounded to make sure those in most need went first. Unfortunately the driver and one passenger were already dead. The most seriously injured passenger was flown by helicopter to hospital in Kielce.”

Kids? What kids?

A drunk driver was so desperate to escape police this Wednesday evening, not far from Pinczow, he sped off, overturned the car, crawled out of it and ran, leaving his two children behind, sitting in the wreckage. The six-year-old boy and two and a half-year-old girl were unharmed in the incident, despite not wearing seatbelts. The driver was soon apprehended and shown to have 0.2% alcohol in his blood

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Signs of intelligent life on earth: Tourism in Poland drops

From: NPE
Tourists are spending less money in Poland this year, but some are still finding it a good place for an inexpensive holiday.
According to a report in Rzeczpospolita, tourists are spending one fourth less this year than last, with the number of foreign visitors dropping to 11.8 mln in 2009, a level not seen since the mid-1990s.

The decline in numbers is due in large part to the financial pains being felt throughout Europe, especially in Germany. The number of Germans visiting Poland in the first nine months of this year dropped by 10 percent to 3.4 mln, and those who do come are spending less.

The situation appears to be stabilizing, but the recent rise in the value of the zloty is hurting "shopping tourism" from both Poland's Eastern neighbours and from Western European countries. "A strong zloty has caused some tourists to cancel their trips to Poland, just like in 2008," said Krzysztof Lopacinski, head of the Tourism Institute.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Environment minister to get canned?

From: The News
Prime Minister Donald Tusk is expected to announce the resignation of Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki today, according to media reports.

The resignation of the official will be no surprise, as it had been planned for some time, says Wojciech Stepniewski, from the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). Stepniewski believes Nowicki is an outstanding expert in his field, and his resignation indicates that the Environment Ministry will from now on be run solely by politicians.

"It looks as though we are doing away with an expert's opinion in the Environment Ministry to give way to politics again,” laments Stepniewski.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk should account for the official’s resigning from the post, as losing such a good specialist cannot go unmentioned, says MP Janusz Piechocinski, from the Polish Peasants’ Party. The official claims that leaks to the media on the matter right before the Climate Conference in Copenhagen was a serious misstep.

"Releasing such information just when the minister was opening the summit is simply dramatic. It shows that many politicians and media representatives lack imagination, as even though all those who had known this scenario was likely to happen after Copenhagen, they should keep quite as this shows the Polish representative at an unfavorable light at an international meeting of key significance," says Piechocinski.

According to weekly Wprost the resignation of Minister Nowicki comes in the wake of a conflict between the Civic Platform official and deputy minister Stanislaw Gawlowski. Another reason for stepping down is allegedly a dispute between the politician and Prime Minister Donald Tusk over the allocation of funds gained from selling carbon emission permits to Spain. Maciej Nowicki wants the sum earmarked for climate protection, contrary to the opinion of Donald Tusk, who wants to designate the sum to a different end, writes the weekly.

Wprost claims the decision was taken on Friday, yet due to the minister’s participation in the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, the move will be announced by Prime Minister Donald Tusk today.

Maciej Nowicki has held the post of environment minister since November 2007.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Referee chief detained on corruption charges

From: The News
Former head of the Referees Committee at the Polish Football Association (PZPN) has been detained in Warsaw on corruption charges.

Sixty three year-old Jerzy G. was detained in his flat in Warsaw and is being interrogated at the Prosecutor’s Office in the south-western city of Wroclaw.

The referee chief is suspected of having cooperated with Ryszard Forbrich - alias Fryzjer - who was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for fraud in April 2009.

Over 300 people, including footballers, coaches, referees and football club managers have been arrested so far in relation to an ongoing investigation into corruption in the Polish Football Association (PZPN).

Well-known referee Grzegorz G., national team coach Janusz W. and former national team player Dariusz W. were among those who face corruption charges.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Man accused of shooting at buses in Poland

From: UPI
Police in Warsaw, Poland, said they arrested a man who allegedly has been shooting at public buses and trains in the Polish capital.

Polish Radio reported Thursday the 31-year-old suspect, whose identity was not released, is accused of firing on five buses and three trains, damaging the public vehicles but causing no injuries or fatalities.

Authorities allege after his arrest, the suspect confessed to shooting at a bus in Warsaw last Monday.

Polish Radio said several air rifles were allegedly found in the suspect's house, leading police to suspect the weapons were used in the rush hour shootings.

According to Warsaw Police Headquarters, members of the general public in Warsaw helped police capture the alleged shooter.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Polish FM's wife unhurt after car blast

From: IOL
he wife of the Polish foreign minister escaped unhurt when her car blew up in mysterious circumstances, Polish authorities said Sunday.

Police said Anne Applebaum, an American journalist married to foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, was driving on Saturday evening in a Warsaw suburb when a "strange noise" from the engine prompted her to stop the car and get out.

An explosion took place shortly afterwards, seriously damaging the car but leaving Applebaum unscathed.

Applebaum has been put under police protection while officers try to establish the cause of the blast, a spokesman for the government protection bureau said in comments reported by the PAP news agency.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Polish police protest over benefit arrears

From: Foxyard
At least 4,000 Polish police officers protested on Tuesday over delays in the payment of benefits that have built up as the government struggled to get to grips with a sharp economic downturn.

Uniformed policemen and women waved trade union banners and blew whistles outside Prime Minister Donald Tusk's office in an elegant district of Warsaw as organisers addressed them from the top of a red double-decker bus.

"We are protesting against anarchy and against the government's failure to respect the law," organiser Roman Wierzbicki, 54, told Reuters.

"We are owed about 200 million zlotys ($73 million) by law. We have not been paid and we have come here because talks have reached an impasse. We expect this situation not to be repeated in 2010," said Wierzbicki, a 25-year veteran of the force.

The finance ministry has vowed to pay the arrears by the end of the year, the PAP state news agency reported.

However, the centre-right government also has to find savings as it struggles to balance its books amid the economic slowdown and falling tax receipts. Police fear their 2010 budget will be slashed.

Customs officials, firefighters and border guards joined the police in a display of solidarity.

The protesters handed a petition to the government demanding no job cuts, no salary freeze and no reductions in social benefits. Tusk himself did not meet police representatives.

"It was a huge disappointment for my colleagues (that Tusk stayed away). We hope a meeting with the prime minister can be arranged in the near future," said Jan Velleman, a spokesman for the Luxembourg-based European Confederation of Police.

Uniformed public sector workers in Poland enjoy a range of benefits, including the right to retire early. Police benefits also include money for transport, vacations and accommodation.

Central Warsaw is accustomed to worker demonstrations, though Poland remains the only member of the 27-nation European Union to have avoided recession in the global financial crisis.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Plundering the economy

From: WBJ
Piracy is a hard-to-combat problem in Poland, one which could cost up to zl.2.5 billion a year and involves teens and C-level executives alike. WBJ takes a look at the practice as it stands today and what's being done to combat it.

Not long ago there was a “Wild West” attitude in Poland towards copyright infringement. The big firms, striving to appear respectable in the eyes of their Western counterparts, did things by the book – licensed software, registered hardware and so on. Among smaller firms, however, it was common enough to make use of less legitimate solutions. The authorities largely turned a blind eye.

For the everyday consumer in Warsaw, a trip to the Stadion (10th Anniversary Stadium) or any number of smaller bazaars would yield contraband cigarettes and alcohol as well as pirated music, software and video games. On those occasions when the odd police patrol sauntered through, vendors a few meters ahead would casually unfurl makeshift tarps to cover their illicit goods, only to hastily uncover them once the patrol had passed by.

But to quote Bob Dylan, whose poorly photocopied face adorned many of the CDs on sale at the recently demolished Stadion, “the times they are a-changin’.” Poland’s police have begun cracking down on piracy, as evidenced by the early November closure of, a popular file-sharing site, and the arrest of its administrators. It is estimated that four million people may have visited the site since it opened in June 2008 and that losses to copyright holders amounted to at least zl.250,000.

Meanwhile, in October a man in Sopot was detained by police on suspicion of selling illegal movies over the internet. His collection exceeded 3,000 titles.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing is very popular in Poland. According to a November 2008 Symentec report on the black-market economy, the country ranked sixth in the world in terms of the number of files uploaded on P2P platforms. Five percent of all files on these platforms were uploaded from Poland; for games the total was eight percent.

According to, software, music and film piracy now result in around zl.2.5 billion in losses every year, a figure it based on research from the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Foundation for the Protection of Audio-Visual Creativity and the International Intellectual Property Alliance. Regardless of the exact cost of piracy, however, experts agree that it’s a major problem.

The way the music died

The proliferation of mp3 players in the Polish market over the past few years has led to an explosion of illegal file-sharing. According to the Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry, only two percent of digital music files in Poland have been purchased legally. In 2008 alone, there were five million illegal music downloads in Poland every week, the organization calculated.

Yet it seems that Poles are growing more used to the idea of paying for music. Growing affluence, crackdowns on file-sharers and better pricing models have all had a hand in this.
Last year Polkomtel, the operator of the Plus GSM mobile-phone services brand, launched, an online music store. The service is not limited to Plus subscribers and the average price per song is zl.0.08.

The Polish market for paid music downloads is nascent and competition is low. The world market leader, Apple’s iTunes service, remains notably absent from Poland, having in the past cited technical and legal obstacles. Petter Ahrnstedt, an Apple spokesperson for Poland and the Nordic countries, told WBJ that the firm had nothing new to say regarding this matter.

And yet there’s no guarantee that tougher enforcement would help grow the legal downloading market. According to a survey conducted last year by D-Link, 10 percent of Polish internet users would switch to a slower connection if blocked from downloading music and movies. A further six percent claimed they would simply stop using the internet at home and a total of 37 percent said the internet would be less attractive in general.

Corporate criminals?

It’s not just kids trading music files that have drawn the attention of Poland’s law enforcement community. Last August, police in Gdansk raided an architectural studio which had 46 different graphics programs illegally installed on its hardware. The next day law enforcement officers in Pozna? arrested the owners of a firm manufacturing industrial equipment which was using unlicensed software worth at least zl.100,000.

According to the BSA, the use of unlicensed software by EMEA region companies cost the industry $10 (zl.27.49) million in H1 2009. During this period Polish firms paid $74,000 (zl.203,469) in compensation for illegal software use and $12,000 (zl.32,999) to license the programs.

Jaros?aw Szawlis, CEO of Wroc?aw-based business software producer InsERT, claims that the problem of “hard piracy” – when management deliberately and knowingly installs illegal software on company equipment – has always been marginal.

“A bigger problem is ‘involuntary piracy,’ when a lack of legal knowledge about software licenses causes confusion among users,” he said.

“If I buy software for company A and don’t use it there, can I use it in my company B? If I buy software for one computer, can I install it on other computers in the firm? Can I use the software via virtual private network? If the firm changes its corporate form, can I still use the same software legally?” Mr Szawlis asked, listing common questions. Additional confusion arises, he noted, because software vendors alter their licenses with every update.

“We often become pirates without even being aware of it,” he said.

The “2008 Global Software Piracy Study,” created by the BSA and research firm IDC, showed that 56 percent of computers in Poland had illegal software installed on them. Only Greece, Romania and Bulgaria had higher rates among EU27 countries.

The software piracy rate in Poland has been slowly falling over the last few years, down from 59 percent in 2004, but at the same time financial losses associated with the practice have grown quickly. In 2004 these amounted to around $379 million, whereas last year the estimate was approximately $648 million. That put Poland in 14th place among the world’s top 25 countries in terms of losses incurred from software piracy.

Roots of the problem

The growing cost of software piracy stems from several causes, not least of which is the computer penetration rate.

“This is a result of the rising number of computers in Poland. The piracy rate is decreasing, but the value of illegal software is rising proportionally with the growth in number of computers,” Bart?omiej Witucki, a BSA spokesperson, told WBJ.

Software costs could be another factor, although experts held differing opinions here. “A person might say, ‘If I can get something for free, why should I pay for it?’,” InsERT’s Szawlis said.

But Microsoft Poland spokesperson Joanna Fr?ckowiak dismissed the high cost of commercial software as a myth. “Very often the total cost of ownership is lower de facto than for open source solutions,” she said. “Besides, everyone deserves fair remuneration for their work and nobody wants to be robbed.” Ms Fr?ckowiak also noted that software revenues go towards investments in R&D and to maintain tech support.

Other things affecting piracy rates include social approval of such behaviors, ineffective laws and a lack of large anti-piracy campaigns. “The high costs of implementing and maintaining security at a corporation is also a major factor,” added Dariusz Wójcik, a systems security specialist at IT firm Comarch.

Awareness and solutions

Although the pace at which Poland’s piracy rate is falling may seem unsatisfactory in comparison to countries like Russia or China, the BSA’s Witucki emphasized that the downward trend is stable. At the same time, he noted a number of initiatives which could contribute to an even steeper decline in the future.

“There is an ongoing educational campaign by the BSA, the Economy Ministry and the Polish Chamber of Commerce which encourages Polish firms and public administration offices to conduct software audits and implement software asset management [SAM] procedures. This leads to greater legal and IT security,” said Mr Witucki. He noted that SAM practices are becoming increasingly popular among Polish firms, and that several companies now specialize in this area.

For its part, Microsoft will soon launch an awareness campaign highlighting the risks of using pirated software, such as identity theft and viruses.

According to IDC data, the number of broadband users worldwide grew by 135 million last year, while a further 460 million are expected to appear over the next five years in emerging markets alone. This will undoubtedly contribute to global piracy, especially since the economic crisis has stalled some anti-piracy efforts.

till, IDC expects software piracy rates to continue to drop on a per country basis. Regarding the global outlook, the research firm believes that the market for legitimate software will begin to crowd out pirated software in a few years and the global rate will begin to fall.

However, hopes that EU legislation would soon add muscle to the fight against piracy were dashed last week. The European Parliament voted down a legislative package which would have imposed strict penalties on P2P service administrators and allowed ISPs to temporarily disconnect file-sharers from the internet.

Given the demise of the Stadion and its ilk in recent years, the internet seems to be the last bastion of Poland’s would-be pirates. Tighter controls and stricter penalties on everyday P2P users would go a long way towards putting an end to the problem.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Former "Big Brother" Charged With Sex Crimes

From: KAKE
A one time "Big Brothers Big Sisters" volunteer has been arrested for child sex crimes.

Konrad Szyc, 20, was taken into custody by Hutchinson Police. Prosecutors accuse him of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Investigators said Szyc, a native of Warsaw, Poland, met the alleged victim through the Big Brother Big Sister program.

Szyc remains in the Reno County jail on $25,000 bond.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas released the following statement;

"We are aware of the arrest and investigation involving a former volunteer with our organization and are alarmed and deeply saddened by reports of any child being harmed. Because the investigation is in progress, it would be inappropriate and irresponsible for us to discuss or speculate about any specifics.

However, please know that we make child safety our priority. We have zero tolerance for abuse. Our volunteers and staff undergo thorough screening and background checks and we provide ongoing professional support for our children and families. We remain committed to improving children's odds for succeeding in school and breaking negative cycles and believe that safety and security are the foundation of the service we provide.

The integrity of our program is extremely important and to achieve the highest quality standards possible, we work to constantly review and strengthen our screening and background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge.

We are working with authorities in the investigation."

Monday, December 07, 2009

Polish Member of Parliament with a verdict of guilty

Wanda Lyzwinska
An appellate court in Radom sentenced Wanda ?y?wi?ska to 1.5 year imprisonment in suspension for 5 years. Former Member of Parliament got the punishment for forging documents connected with an election campaign in 2001 – informs Polish Press Agency.

The decision of the court in Radom is final and binding. Besides this punishment, the woman has to pay 5 thousand zloty fine (1.2 thousand euro) while the decision will be announced in Polish media. What is more Lyzwinska will cover all cost of the trial what means – 6 thousand zloty (1.5 thousand euro).

According to prosecutor’s office, Lyzwinska forged several declarations about candidatures to Polish Parliament and several vetting declarations in Radom district. Six people said that they had never signed similar declaration. One person explained that she had found out about her candidacy two months after election. An expert witness has investigated carefully Lyzwinska’s writing and clearly stated that at least documents were forged by irresponsible Member of Parliament.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Scandal in Polish police

According to TVN TV some female employees of the Police Headquarter in Warsaw were sexually harassed what made them leaving the police. Two journalists of popular Polish programme – “Uwaga” investigated this horrible crime.

“The worst were our meetings during my shifts. It was horrible when he touched me with his privates and licked his lips” – explained female police officer from Interior Department of the Police Headquarter. The woman accused his supervisor – Marcin G. with mobbing and sexual harassment.

Marcin G. started working several years ago and got promotions very fast. As a high-ranked officer, he was moved to the Police Headquarter in Warsaw. “He came to my office and offered me a private meeting. He said he it would be helpful for my career” – explained the officer. She tried to refuse but she was helpless. What is more, the officer was sent many perverted messages, including pictures of man’s privates. But the worst were her individual meetings during the shift. Marcin G. tried to touch her and say perverted things.

The woman decided to inform other supervisors but they ignored her. But fortunately she got help from police trade unions, which gave her a lawyer. Today, this case is being investigated by prosecutor’s office in Mokotów District while the woman decided to sue Marcin G.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Polish goalkeeper created many scandals in Denmark

From: News at
Well known Polish goalkeeper – Arkadiusz Onyszko who plays for Danish club Midtjylland has published his own biography. Today almost everyone wants to lynch controversial Pole.

Onyszko’s biography titled – “Fucking Polak” shocked whole country. Everyone, including politicians, journalists and football officials comment the book, but what is the worst, almost everyone is angry because of Onyszko.

The goalkeeper wrote – “I hate gays. I do not tolerate when two men take their hands and kiss on the street. I think that it is disgusting so I strongly support Polish president – Lech Kaczynski whose point of view seems to be the same”. What is more, Onyszko writes that Danish people are double-faced. “When Danish artist published caricatures of Mahomet what insulted all Arabian world, everything was ok. Even the Prime Minister defended him. But when Polish citizen expresses his own point of view everything is wrong. I want to ask Danish politicians: where were you when supporters of Brondby were shouting “You are fuc...g Pole”, “Everybody fu...ked your mother” or “Your wife is a”.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Stephen Fry summoned to Polish embassy to explain his Nazi slur

From: Telegraph
Bashed by Poland for telling the truth, Stephen Fry attacked Poles for their role in the Holocaust
Stephen Fry has been summoned to the Polish embassy in London on Monday to provide the ambassador with an explanation of his offensive comments last month about about Auschwitz.

"Yes, he is having lunch at the embassy," confirms a spokesman for the Polish ambassador, Barbara Tuge-Erecinska. "This meeting is connected to Mr Fry's remarks on Channel 4. They will discuss a range of issues. He was invited to attend with his partner [Daniel Cohen], but we are not sure whether he will be attending alone."

In a debate about the Conservatives' links with Poland's Law and Justice party, Fry appeared to accuse Polish Catholics of being complicit in the Final Solution . "Remember which side of the border Auschwitz was on," he said.

At the time he made the comments, the Polish embassy said: "To suggest, even indirectly, that the Polish people, and Poland as a country, are in some way collectively responsible for the [Auschwitz] death camp, which became the symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust, is completely wrong and frankly – defamatory."

Fry’s policy positions on other issues have brought him as many brickbats as bouquets. Of the MPs’ expenses scandal, he decreed “it’s not that important” and urged the world’s media to back off.

He has, however, 832,430 followers on Twitter, the online social-networking service, which is almost as many as Sarah Brown.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Polish president on trial in Walesa libel case

From: AFP
A Polish court on Tuesday began hearing a libel case against President Lech Kaczynski over his claim that his predecessor and Solidarity icon Lech Walesa was a communist-era spy.

Both men regularly trade barbs in the media, but neither was present in the Warsaw court for the start of the lawsuit brought by Walesa. Both were represented by lawyers, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

Walesa is demanding that Kaczynski withdraw the claim and pay 100,000 zloty (24,000 euros, 36,000 dollars) in damages.

"A legal expert cannot behave this way, refusing to respect the verdicts of our justice system," Walesa told the Polish news channel TVN24 Tuesday, in a swipe at Kaczynski, who has a doctorate in law.

"These are nothing but lies. I was never an agent of the SB!" he later told the channel, referring to the communist-era security service.

In a television interview last year, Kaczynski repeated long-running assertions that Walesa was an agent codenamed "Bolek", mentioned in the SB's files.

Allegations about Walesa's past have surfaced regularly since the fall of Poland's communist regime in 1989, but he was cleared by a special vetting court in 2000.

Amid a dispute between the two men's lawyers over whether Kaczynski as president could even be tried by the court, the tribunal adjourned the hearing until December 18.

Walesa has acknowledged signing a secret police document on one of the many occasions he was hauled in for his opposition work in the 1970s, but has termed "absurd" the claim that he collaborated by spying on fellow activists.

Walesa and Kaczynski were allies during the struggle against the former communist regime, when shipyard electrician Walesa led the Solidarity trade union and opposition movement and later won the Nobel peace prize.

But they fell out after Walesa was elected president for a five-year term in 1990.

Kaczynski was himself elected head of state in 2005, and his supporters stepped up their battle against Walesa. The pro-Walesa camp has protested what it dubs a smear campaign.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New campaign of Polish government

Polish government has started its new campaign titled – “Not only bruises can make a victim”. More than 800 thousand women experience some acts of violence every year. More than 150 of them die because of ‘home misunderstanding’ – reported Polish Press Agency.

The campaign was started one week ago, during the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The main goal of the campaign is to pay attention for this unpleasant problem. “We deal with many forms of violence: physical, psychological, sexual or economical. We believe that 800 thousand of Polish women experience one of those forms every year. It may mean that every of us know a woman who is harassed” – explained Joanna Piotrowska form Feminoteka Foundation.

Every symptom of any kind of harassment may be reported to police and our police must react. There are also many non-government organizations, which help harassed women. But our main problem is that Polish women do not want to report their problems. “Only 30% report that they are harassed. Why? Because they are afraid of their husbands or they are ashamed. We must change it” – added Piotrowska.

The foundation wants to organize meetings, debates and workshops in order to solve all problems of Polish women and educate them. 160 organizations decided to take part in this project.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Heartbroken Pole

From: STV
Polish police spent two days searching for a drowned man when he turned up looking for his clothes.

Maciej Nowark disappeared after splitting from his girlfriend and was spotted drinking heavily in the early hours of the morning.

His clothes were found next to a lake the next morning and the heartbroken 24 year old's friend feared he had killed himself.

However, as police divers searched the water for his body, Maciej turned up at the scene looking for his discarded clothes.

An officer said: "He told us that he can't remember why he had taken his clothes off because he had been drunk. But he woke up at a nearby house."