“We are living in an Orwellian state and we need to be aware of that.”

In the ongoing discussion over the Eames/Bradley group’s consultation I’ve been pointing on occasion to a previous post noting Tim Garton Ash’s CiF piece on Poland’s experience – “Delay has its own heavy price. The poison accumulates in the system.” So it shouldn’t be a surprise that, even if the accusations made against Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his twin brother Lech, the president, are untrue, this report would interest me.. Note, even if they are false, the accusations themselves are indicative of a society which is still infected by a posion that it has failed to fully extract. From the Reuters report in the Irish Times [subs req]

Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski faced a growing outcry yesterday over accusations that his secret services had spied on politicians, an affair some commentators have branded a “Polish Watergate”.
Former prime minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz joined the fray, saying he had grounds to suspect he was spied on when in office and that Poland had become an “Orwellian state”.
“I cannot rule out that I was eavesdropped on,” he told private TVN television yesterday. “We are living in an Orwellian state and we need to be aware of that.”
Mr Kaczynski is pushing for a snap election in October after the acrimonious collapse of his coalition with fringe anti-EU parties, which deprived him of a majority in parliament.
The main opposition parties have agreed to hold an election two years early. But they want a parliamentary inquiry first into the spying allegations and what they call abuse of power by Mr Kaczynski and his twin brother Lech, the president.
The allegations were fuelled by former interior minister Janusz Kaczmarek, sacked in July, and by Mr Kaczynski’s ex-coalition partners.

And the former interior minister Janusz Kaczmarek is now reported to have been arrested on charges of obstructing justice..

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  • jpeters

    these guys are a throw back did you hear about the comment about the the voting rights in the EU and the Germans?

  • joeCanuck

    And presumably for us Pete, you’d suggest that the only antidote would be a heavy dose of the truth.
    Maybe the same for Poland.

  • Pete Baker

    That’s what I have been saying for some time, joe.

  • joeCanuck

    “When the mind’s eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence. (Plato, Republic”)

  • heck


    Or to quote my favorite philosopher Jack Nicholson

    Honest Tony: You want answers?

    Pat Finuciane family: I think I’m entitled to them.
    Honest Tony: You want answers?
    Pat Finuciane family: I want the truth!
    Honest Tony: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns and men who run loyalist death squads. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Gerry Adams? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Pat Finuciane and you curse the Brits. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Finuciane ‘s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t blog about on Sluggerotoole, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
    We use words like fenians, taigs, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent keeping down the micks. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a decommissioned weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!
    Pat Finuciane family: Did you run loyalist death squads?
    Honest Tony: (quietly) I did the job the queen sent me to do.
    Pat Finuciane family: Did you run loyalist death squads?
    Honest Tony: You’re goddamn right I did!!

  • heck

    from the movie
    “A Few Good (UDA) Men”

  • USA

    “Spied on politicians”
    As I recall, the car used by Adams and McGuinness was bugged. Bugs were also found in Connolly house.
    “Polish Watergate”
    Also, some British secret agency or other had a spy (Donaldson) inside Sinn Fein which resulted in some wierd raid on Parliament buildings then spin and counter spin. My head was spinnig trying to work out who worked for whom and who knew what. Many, many more examples a lot closer to home than Warsaw.

  • noel adams

    As ever some can only see the world through the prism of N Ireland here.the real story is with app600,000 polish wotking in UK and Ireland the next polish government could be decided from these islands.

  • confused

    TO USA
    We expect secutity forces to spy. Why else would FBI/CIA/ MI5/MI6 exist.
    If they were not up to their necks in spying I as a taxpayer want my money back.

  • Niall

    Yes, I was beginning to wonder how this thread had anything to do with the North.

    My GF was telling me about this case just yesterday. Aparently Janusz Kaczmarek has evidense on abuse of power by the Potato Head twins. The thing is AFAIU he isn’t allowed to divulge this information in the public domain because its a state secret. To be able to present the information, Kaczmarek must get permission from the Judiciary. If he’s in jail, that may prove difficult.
    There was another case recently of the former Construction Minister shooting herself whilst her house was being searched by the police. This woman is accompanied to the bathroom by a female officer and somehow pulls out a loaded gun from somewhere and shoots herself in the chest. In front of the armed police officer. The Kaczynskis had been investigating corruption in the previous Government i.e. their political opponents.

  • There is a worrying rise in the populist right in several of the Central/Eastern European countries; the Slovak coalition contains two blatantly racist parties, last week a new fascist “guard” was set up to protect “the morals of Mother Hungary” (ie batter any Roma or Jews they might come across), in Poland itself there is a government-approved “war” against gay-rights groups and of course, Radio Maryja continues on its merry anti-semitic way without fear of sanction or censorship.

    The thing all three countries (Slovakia as part of Czechslovakia) have all in common is that unlike E Germany, they opted for peaceful, no questions-asked “handover” at the time of system change; except for a very few exceptions, there was no widespread probing of crimes commited under the Communist regimes. Many, or most of the Commie Old Guard went onto form the business and sometimes political elite of the new democratic systems. These leaders then proceeded to lecture the increasingly resentful populace on the importance of forgetting the “problems” of the past, concentrating instead on their “shared future” etc etc. (The terminology used would probably ring a bell).

    The result can be seen in the rise of the two nutter brothers and the League of Polish Families in Poland, the periodic outbreaks of anti-government violence in Hungary and as I said before, racists like Meciar and Slota in government in Slovakia. The new “democrats”, whether of the right or left, have no compunction whatsoever in using the secret-service apparatus which have hardly altered since the system changed.

    Of course there aren’t direct parallels, but still, the evidence in thes cases shows that “moving on”, “leaving the past behind” etc etc may provide a short-term solution and ensure a peaceful transition, but in terms of building a long-term society at peace with itself there is no substitute for putting all the facts on the table and letting the truth all hang out, if you excuse the mixed metaphors.