Documents show Lech Walesa collaborated with regime: official

WARSAW, Poland -- Recently seized documents show that Poland's former president and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa was a paid informant for the communist-era secret security service from 1970-76, the head of Poland's history institute said Thursday.

See Full Article

Walesa, the icon of Poland's successful struggle to topple communism and the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has previously acknowledged signing a commitment to be an informant, but has insisted he never acted on it. In 2000 he was cleared by a special court, which said it found no evidence of collaboration.

The head of the state National Remembrance Institute, Lukasz Kaminski, said that documents seized this week from the home of the last communist interior minister, the late Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak, include a commitment to provide information that is signed with Walesa's name and codename, "Bolek." There are also pages of reports and receipts for money, signed "Bolek."

Walesa, 72, in a written message from Venezuela where he is travelling, suggested the papers are fake.

"There can exist no documents coming from me. I will prove that in court," he said.

The 279 pages of documents seem to be authentic and will be made public in due course, Kaminski told a news conference. He said historians need time to analyze the content of the documents.

Antoni Dudek, the institute's leading historian who has studied Walesa, said the impact would not be that great unless some evidence emerged that Walesa continued to be an informant after he had founded the Solidarity freedom movement.

"Lech Walesa is the symbol of Poland's struggle for freedom, he is the symbol of Solidarity and nothing can destroy that, unless we learn that he continued that collaboration," Dudek said.

It is of great interest what other documents will be found among the seized files, he said.

According to Kaminski, five more packets of seized documents have not yet been opened. Prosecutors and police were also searching Kiszczak's summer house.

Communism and Moscow's control were imposed on Poland and other countries in the region after World War II and were despised and opposed by most people. Secret security was the regime's harsh tool for keeping the people under control, using personal information to blackmail and discredit opponents and dissidents.

The secret service also used to fabricate information on people, a fact that calls for meticulous confirmation of the authenticity of any compromising documents that emerge. The fate of the files was a major concern after the communists lost power in 1989, with reports saying that they were fabricating new documents and burning or hiding others.

The papers concerning Walesa came to light on Tuesday, when Kiszczak's widow offered to sell the institute documents concerning secret informer "Bolek." She demanded 90,000 zlotys ($23,000; 20,000 euros).

Prosecutors seized the documents the same day, because the law requires important historic papers to be handed in.

Walesa was the icon of Poland's and Eastern Europe's drive for freedom that abolished communism and brought down the Iron Curtain in 1989, without bloodshed. He founded and led Solidarity from 1980, when it was born out of worker protests, and through communist-imposed martial law. He led Solidarity in round-table negotiations with the communists in 1989 that ushered in democratic and economic change.

He was Poland's first popularly elected president from 1990 to 1995, but following a term of office where his style was perceived as authoritarian, he painfully lost a re-election bid to ex-communist Aleksander Kwasniewski.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Three helicopters, 70 people search for four missing hunters in northern Alberta

    Canada News CTV News
    FORT CHIPEWYAN, Alta. -- A search for four hunters missing in the remote northeastern Alberta wilderness is ramping up with three helicopters and more than 70 people. RCMP say the hunters left Fort Chipewyan on Sunday night in a boat on the Rocher River. Source
  • Captive woman found in pit in Ohio man’s shed: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    BLANCHESTER, Ohio — Police in Ohio say a crying woman was being held captive in a pit inside her neighbour’s backyard shed, and the man was arrested on a charge of kidnapping. Blanchester police say Dennis Dunn has a history of mental health issues and was taken to a hospital. Source
  • Kevin O'Leary drops out of Conservative leadership race, will endorse Maxime Bernier

    Canada News CBC News
    Kevin O'Leary is dropping out of the Conservative leadership race and will endorse Maxime Bernier. The businessman and reality TV star is ending his campaign only hours before the last leadership debate in Toronto, and two days before party members can start casting their ballots. Source
  • South Korea installs parts of U.S. defence system against North Korean missiles

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Ahead of an extraordinary White House briefing for senators, South Korea on Wednesday started installing key parts of a contentious U.S. defence system against missiles from North Korea. And America’s Pacific commander said any North Korean missile fired at U.S. Source
  • Security camera captures package being taken from front step

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in London, Ont. are on the hunt for a so-called “Amazon bandit” after surveillance video uploaded to YouTube shows an Amazon package being taken from a home’s front step. YouTube user Anthony Taylor posted a short video titled “The Amazon Bandit” on April 22, which shows a woman in a hooded sweatshirt calmly riding her bike onto a driveway in the city’s north end before she disembarks and walks up to the home’s front door. Source
  • U.S. ups Korean defences, top admiral says forces are capable

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Ahead of an extraordinary White House briefing for senators, South Korea on Wednesday started installing key parts of a contentious U.S. defence system against missiles from North Korea. And America's Pacific commander said any North Korean missile fired at U.S. Source
  • NASA’s Cassini spacecraft flies between Saturn and its rings in historic first

    World News Toronto Sun
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has ventured into the never-before-explored region between Saturn and its rings. But flight controllers won’t know how everything went until Thursday when they are back in touch with the craft. Source
  • One arrested, one hurt in fight, stabbing, following east Vancouver bus ride

    Canada News CTV News
    Vancouver Police are investigating a fight and stabbing that involved two bus passengers on the city's east side. In a news release from Const. Jason Doucette says the fight between a 15-year-old youth and a 32-year-old man occurred on a BC Transit bus at about 9 p.m. Source
  • Large volume of cocaine-cutting agent at core of Calgary drug bust

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- Charges have been laid against two Calgary residents who are accused of illegally importing what investigators call a record amount of a pharmaceutical drug that's used as a cutting agent for cocaine. Police say the Canada Border Services Agency alerted them in January about the importation of phenacetin, a pain-reliever that's regulated under the Food and Drugs Act because of its potential cancer-causing properties. Source
  • Video linked to Serena McKay homicide needs to be pulled off Facebook, chief says

    Canada News CBC News
    The chief of Manitoba's Sagkeeng First Nation wants the video of a vicious attack on a young woman — some say the same woman later found dead in the community — pulled off Facebook. The body of the woman believed to be the victim in the video, 19-year-old Serena McKay, was found Sunday night near a home in the community 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. Source