Poland is, from a long time, being prepared for the role of cannon fodder in connection with the conflict in Ukraine. While, we have only a media hunt for those who do not believe in a general propaganda concerning Russia and Ukraine. Now, the Polish special services took matters into their own hands. They have already accused some people of spying for Russia, fighting against the so-called “Kremlin Troll army in Poland.”
The Russian correspondent, Leonid Swiridow and Polish journalist Konrad Rękas was linked by Internal Security Agency to an espionage scandal. Interview in this case gave us Mr Konrad Rękas, journalist and analyst of Geopolitical Analysis Centre.
Maybe in the beginning, for those who are not versed, tell us briefly about this case.
KR: As those interested in political activities – propaganda Polish authorities towards the east have probably noticed. In recent weeks, we were informed about the arrest of two people suspected of spying. One of these people was the Defense Ministry officer, dealing with, among others, such sensitive issues as the helpline and patriotic events, while the other – lawyer, sometimes occuring as a writer – Stanislaw Szypowski. The third person involved was (is) a Russian journalist Leonid Swiridow, whom MWZ deported from the country. Meanwhile, it turned out, as it would be expected, that it is just the beginning and part of the propaganda game in which Polish special services were invloved.
Last week, channel TVN 24 and then portals, among others: Gazeta Wyborcza, Gazeta Prawna presented fragments of an open part of the allegations made against Stanislaw Szypowski. He was accused of spying under Article 130 of legal code and the evidence was to be an attempt to obtain a document of the Supreme Chamber of Control on the LNG terminal in Swinoujscie, as well as drawing up a list of the Polish journalists vulnerable to Russian influence. At this point, we come to my humble person – according to this document, my text “Ukrainian catarrh, Polish flu”, which appeared on the website Business Alert was written at the request of the accused Stanislaus Szypowski. I learnt about this case by listening to an Internal Security Agency spokesman in the television channel, TVN 24 and then read about it on the Internet. A few people phoned me. Amusement rather dominated: See, in what context they say about you.
Apart from being a writer and a journalist, I’m also a candidate in the local elections, a candidate for the office of mayor of the city of Chelm. I used the election mode, I sued the head of the Internal Security Agency to the district court in Lublin, demanding an apology and a clear explanation of why my name is put in such context, creating so unfair and unreliable associations of the recipient with my name. Of course, as you could guess the district court dodged taking a position in this case. It stated that it is not appropriate. I appealed. Despite the passage of time, the Court of Appeal still did not deal with this issue. Apart from this. The elections will end, which in my opinion, Internal Security Agency tried to have an influence for, and I will defend my good reputation in a civil proceedings against the Internal Security Agency.
It seems to me that we are dealing with an attempt to test and intimidate those environments that criticize the eastern policy of the government.
I’m interested in how ABW associated you with Stanislaw Szypowski? I don’t know if you can provide me such information on the subject, but you are the only person who is mentioned in this case by name in the document in the media and this is just bizarre.
KR: Let’s say that calling me as a witness is another attempt from the side of Internal Security Agency … that is I was first mixed up in espionage affair, and then I was called as a witness so that I could not talk about it. It just is not difficult to see through, such a method.
I’ve talked about this before, so now I do not see anything wrong in exposing such truths. My parent organization, the Center for Geopolitical Analyses publishes a number of studies, analyses, comments about the Eastern policy, especially in my case, because it deals especially with post-Soviet areas. And in fact, a few months ago, Mr. Stanislaw Szypowski. exchanged e-mails with us because he was interested in our texts. I suspect that our brave agents performed a huge counterintelligence action and took a laptop of Mr. SZypowski, broke his password to your account, and learned that he had sent a few emails, eight or ten to ECAG and it turned out that this great spy read our texts, and finally uncovered this whole spy ring. I have never seen eyes Stanisław Szypowski on my own eyes, the text that I wrote I restored quickly, because it disappeared from the web. Now it is available on several web portals. The views that I promulgated and still promulgate in many texts, in which I write that Polish eastern policy is harmful and our energy policy in this context is also stupid and costly. Text is entirely written by myself. It was not inspired by anyone. Anyone who knows my journalism would certainly smile hearing that someone had to persuade me to write critical texts about the government or write texts that would somehow act as a disincentive to developing closer links with the countries of the European Union. I didn’t need a Russian spy to do this. I have the impression that we are talking here about a simple situation. You cannot say now that critics of the government or advocates of common sense when it comes to eastern policy are marginal, that they are completely irrelevant groups, the environments that no one listens to, read or watch.
Not anymore, not anymore, even the mainstream media have to acknowledge that it is a full-fledged part of the public debate, in which one side criticizes the government and talks about the reason on eastern policy. And it was a final attempt to devalue this part of the opposition – the only really viable opposition. By simply calling them agents or implicated in the spy scandal.
You say that Internal Security Agency simply manipulated public opinion and public testing. You are a journalist and accusing you of acting on behalf of the Kremlin is like a shot in the knee.
KR:. The Internal Security Agency tests resistance of the Polish recipient. I repeat, you cannot separate my journalistic and public activity from the fact that I’m also a candidate in the local elections. Calling someone, two weeks before the election, a de facto the Russian agent, here in the East of the country must be understood as a form of political execution from the Internal Security Agency. I hope ineffective execution, because the Poles are not so dumb to surrender to such a manipulation. Nevertheless, such an attitude towards society from the mainstream media and Internal Security Agency do not surprise anyone in Poland. However, if such a maneuver is done, it is simply a provocation. Firstly, having to force action on the Russian side: the expulsion of Polish journalists, releasing Polish spies so that anyone could shout ‘Look, these despicable Russians persecute us, and secondly it is intended as a blow to critics of the government so as to induce associations among recipients, citizens;
Did you get the information to this text actually from accused of spying, Stanislaw Szypowski?
No. This text contains only my thoughts. It is based on a few simple observations. Firstly, Poland bears the costs and will incur even more costs of the Ukrainian crisis. Thus, obvious errors of energy policy such as rejecting a few years ago the construction of the Russian Yamal 2. Then, moreover, manufactured and again rejected. Austrians act differently. They even make use of this crisis to speed up work on Southstream. Poland mistakenly insulted in his time, took offence at Germany and Russia that they built the North Stream, instead of joining in. The collapse of the market in the Donbass mining, destruction of war. It may be important from the Polish point of view. Andrew Szczesniak writes about the same thing. I totally endorse it. Based on the economic data, which are available to anyone. Although, the mainstream media falsely interpreted them. It is the analysis of the obvious facts, I am not surprised that the ABW wanted to hide it.
Do you know anything more about the Stanislaus SZypowski., accused of spying for Russia – a lawyer with dual citizenship? What are the charges against him?
I don’t know the indictment, it is difficult for me to judge. If anything of what Internal Security Agency says is true, we can say about lobbying without registering.
Internal Security Agency wants to give an impression that there are spies everywhere who plant microfilms, meet suspicious people, and continually write on the Internet paeans about Putin and, of course, only agents criticize the Ukrainian Banderovites. We have been hearing about that for months; those who criticize the government for the eastern policy are agents or Russians, who sit out there in Leningrad, writing on someone else’s servers. Now, however, they decided to prove that they are spies. They were shown. There is a colonel, a patron.
I’m wondering if this will be a one-time action? Will it be a whole line of actions of our government towards journalists who have a critical point of view in relation to the Polish policy towards Russia.
I think that we deal with a test, that is, they check if the public will buy all this affair with spies. It would seem that the propaganda should be more subtle, more subliminal. Meanwhile, since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, it is not subtle at all. Everything is made of logs like a pig chopper. Banderovites are good, Russians are bad. The war will start soon: Putin will assault us, we must give everything we have to the poor Ukrainians. It would seem that something so primitive will not withstand a few hours on television. However, we have this for about ten months, and no one catches the breath to stop. In Poland, the lies have quite a long life, manipulation also, and they are quite primitive, they should simply be repeated.
Do you believe that these actions of Internal Security Agency is a witch-hunt against journalists who criticize Polish eastern policy? Are these actions enough to manipulate Polish public opinion so that we do not have to think about anything else but the war with Russia?
Yes, unfortunately it looks like that. Media delightedly take part in these games, which diplomacy of the third Republic of Poland, with the participation of special services, do not realize in Polish, but mainly in the US interest. It is intended to be an emotional war, psychological, informational, strict propaganda. We cannot exclude that it is still an attempt to prepare the Poles, not only Poles to direct confrontation with Russia. Mainly, the US neoconservative environments operate here, which strongly affect some political centers in Poland. Mr. Foreign Minister, now the Marshal, Radoslaw Sikorski, who is directly and very family associated with these circles. Also PIS surrenders to these trends. These circles explicitly say that war with Russia is the only solution. And it would be even better if it was a war with Russia and China, before China and Russia will be able to build a multi-polar world. And Poland, as we know likes to pushed by the west pushed into war as the first one. That’s how the Second World War started. Someone came up with the idea that it would be nice to start the third world war from Poland.
Will you continue to judge with the Internal Security Agency?
I think that Internal Security Agency behaved quite messy presenting this information in this way, compiling it in such a manipulative way. But they definitely violated the law, violated my personal rights, defamed and insulted and there are still paragraphs for them in Poland. You cannot put too much faith in the Polish courts. Instead of protecting the citizens against the state, they protect the state against the citizens. Nevertheless, speaking insolently, although they shouldn’t be too easy with me. There should be an elementary responsibility for the words. I’ll meet with Colonel Luczak (Head of the Internal Security Agency) in court, whether he wants it or not. I’m sorry you had to be careful and not write stupid things.
And what about Center for Geopolitical? Mr Mateusz Piskorski is also accused of spying for the Kremlin?
Dr. Piskorski is a political scientist, who deals professionally with a theme of the new Member of the organization and functioning of democratic mechanisms. There was an article in Gazeta Wyborcza saying that the mere fact of departure of Dr. Piskorski to Donetsk should be prosecuted. A new criminal offense that was invented by Gazeta Wyborcza and its duty expert Mr. Wojcicki – this is the one that says that the UPA didn’t murder Poles in Volhynia. Criminalize acts to the detriment of Polish raison d’etat.
I hope that this whole case will turn out well for you and for the journalists in Poland who write critical articles against the Polish eastern policy.
Let’s hope that this somehow integrate this environment. Of course I’m not talking about the mainstream. Of those people who work more or less openly for secret services or for the political elite. On the other hand, I hope that this independent environment will draw conclusions, that is, they will notice that we are subjected to some kind of pressure. We should even more use the opportunities that the Internet gives to us, our portals, our newspapers. Use them to expose the authorities.
Konrad Stachnio is an independent Poland based journalist, he hosted a number of radio and TV programs for the Polish edition of PrisonPlanet, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.