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Lech Walesa 'was paid Communist informant'

Posted: 18 Feb 2016 03:03 PM PST

Lech Walesa 'was paid Communist informant'

  • 8 hours ago
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  • From the sectionEurope
Lech Walesa in Warsaw, Poland (19 Feb 2015)Image copyrightAP
Image captionLech Walesa was president of Poland from 1990 to 1995
Poland's history institute says that newly seized documents suggest former president and Solidarity hero Lech Walesa was an informer.
The documents were taken earlier this week from the home of a former communist-era interior minister, Gen Czeslaw Kiszczak.
Lukasz Kaminski, head of the Institute of National Remembrance, said the documents appear authentic.
Mr Walesa has long denied being an informer in the 1970s.
The former president said the new materials could not originate from him, according to Polish radio.
The 279 pages of documents have not yet been properly analysed, and will be made public in due course, Mr Kaminski said.
Gen Kiszczak's widow had wanted to sell the documents, the institute said.
The state body prosecutes communist-era crimes.

Analysis: Adam Easton, BBC News, Warsaw

The allegation that Lech Walesa passed on information in the early 1970s to the communist secret police, before he became the hero of the Solidarity trade union, is not new.
Mr Walesa, who was cleared of the charge by a court in 2000, says the communists falsified documents about him to try to ruin his reputation.
It is unlikely these notes will change many Poles' minds about Mr Walesa because the allegation is common knowledge and he is still widely admired for his role in bringing down communism in 1989.
Solidarity founding leader Lech Walesa shows v-sign in front of Solidarity poster during his presidential campaign in Plock (7 May 1989)Image copyrightReuters

Mr Kaminski gave details of what he claimed was inside a file on Mr Walesa, covering the period 1970-6:
"Inside the personal file there is an envelope and inside, a hand written commitment to cooperate with the secret police signed 'Lech Walesa - Bolek'," he said.
Mr Kaminski said that among the documents in this folder were some "hand-written confirmations of receiving funds", signed with the pseudonym 'Bolek'.
"In the work folder... are many reports by a secret informant with the pseudonym 'Bolek' and notes by secret police officers from meetings with the secret informant," the director added.
Mr Walesa strenuously denied long-standing allegations of collaboration in a BBC interview in 2008.
"Nothing like that happened. I had no influence over what the secret police did and wrote," he said. "You will not find any signature of mine agreeing to collaborate anywhere," he went on.

Timeline: Lech Walesa

Lech Walesa walks with flowers during Solidarity's 34th anniversary in front of the gate to the historic shipyard in Gdansk, Poland (31 August 2014)Image copyrightReuters
1943: Born in Popowo, Poland. Later trains as an electrician and starts working at the shipyards in Gdansk
1980: Becomes leader of Solidarity
1981: Arrested in anti-democracy crackdown
1982: Released, Polish martial law eased
1983: Awarded Nobel peace prize for his role in Solidarity - the first free trade union in the Soviet bloc
1988: Leads a series of nationwide strikes
1990: Elected president of Poland
1995: Defeated in presidential election
2000: Defeated again in presidential poll; cleared of security service collaboration by a special court

The View From Israel

Posted: 18 Feb 2016 02:48 PM PST



Republican Jewish Coalition


The View From Israel

Bret Stephens writes from Jerusalem that, while Israel still needs the US, it is now -- justifiably -- looking to other strategic partners such as Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Turkey, and Egypt. Stephens notes:

This de facto Sunni-Jewish alliance amounts to what might be called the coalition of the disenchanted; states that have lost faith in America's promises. Israel is also reinventing its ties to the aspiring Startup Nations, countries that want to develop their own innovation cultures.

President Obama has not given up on the idea that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is possible before he leaves office. UN Ambassador Samantha Power visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority this week, in part, to discuss prospects for a two-state solution.

Yoram Ettinger strongly cautions the US to be wary of a Palestinian state. He recounts the many times that Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama have been wrong in their assessment of Palestinian willingness to reform, to renounce violence, and to make peace with Israel. In light of these realities, Ettinger says, the existence of a Palestinian state would be incompatible with U.S. values and national security interests.

Russia - Iran - Syria
  • The New York Post editorial board notes:
    President Obama declared last year that "There is no military solution in Syria." Sadly, Russia's Vladimir Putin has now proved him wrong by imposing one.

    Aleppo, Syria's largest city and the last rebel stronghold, is about to fall, thanks to withering Russian air bombardment backing government and Iranian troops. That effectively secures Bashar al-Assad's hold on power in at least a large rump of Syria.

    That left Secretary of State John Kerry with nothing to do but organize a "cessation of hostilities."

    Kerry hailed that as a significant accomplishment. But it falls far short of a lasting ceasefire: Russia intends to keep bombing, and Assad's troops will keep fighting. Read more
  • Wall Street Journal report shows that the Iran-Russia-Syrian regime military alliance doesn't think much of that ceasefire:
    "These allies are together in the same command center, working, planning and coordinating their operations in the battlefield," said a senior official in the Iran-Russia-Syrian regime military alliance. "Retaking Aleppo will restore the regime's strength and control over Syria; toppling the regime is now a thing of the past."

    A cease-fire as proposed by world powers in Munich last week, he said, would simply be a pause for the Iran-led ground forces to consolidate recent territorial gains. Read more
  • Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described relations between Russia and the West as a new "Cold War," while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the situation this way: "We have seen a more assertive Russia, a Russia which is destabliizing the European security order," according to the Los Angeles Times. Read more

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Campaña por Eduardo Arocena