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Polish Wikipedia and Communist intelligence

Comment on the article Wikipedia has transformed knowledge – so why is it still looked down on? by Simon Ings in The Telegraph, 10 January 2021. English version: Polska Wikipedia i wywiad komunistyczny.


Lech S Borkowski comment The Telegraph 10 January 2021
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Telegraph 10 January 2021

Lech Borkowski
10 Jan 2021 7:01PM

The article’s author represents an enthusiastic approach to Wikipedia.

Quote from the article:

Dariusz Jemielniak (author of the first ethnography of Wikipedia, Common Knowledge?, in 2014) stresses the playfulness of the whole enterprise. Why else, he asks, would academics avoid it? “When you are a soldier, you do not necessarily spend your free time playing paintball with friends.”

On his webpage, Jemielniak proudly quotes words of praise he received from Zygmunt Bauman, the late sociologist, former political officer (politruk) in the Communist army and member of the Polish Communist party and Communist military intelligence. Bauman himself used Wikipedia texts without providing attribution, see “Problematic elements…” by PW Walsh and D Lehmann (2015). In this context, the comparison of academics to soldiers does not seem out of place.

One day in 2015, someone I didn’t know sent me an email with information that a Wikipedia page in Polish with my name was just created. I replied with an objection. The page was created despite my disapproval. It was 28 October 2015. I was a faculty member at the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. The next day, I received letter terminating my employment.

As it turned out, Wikipedia pages of all the faculty in the Department of Physics were created at the same time. This was most unusual for at least couple of reasons. The information on those pages was of the most trivial type and mostly reproduced information bits usually appearing on academic departmental pages. It was also clear that some of the sentences used in personal descriptions were selected not as a way of describing each person but rather as a way as emphasizing the person as ‘one of many’.

I verified that other University departments and physics departments of other universities in Poland have not received this kind of treatment. So, something significant happened that day in the Polish Wikipedia. When I let someone from the Wikipedia board know about it in 2019, he shrugged it off.

My person and the fact that I was being fired from the faculty of the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University were the only reasons for creating the nearly hundred personal Wikipedia pages.

Shortly afterwards, my pianist wife was fired from her job of a piano teacher in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in Poland, on the basis of a fake document fabricated by the state service of occupational medicine. The authorities have been carrying out an intense bullying and harassment campaign against our family for years. Now they decided to eliminate us from our jobs.

One needs to keep in mind that Wikipedia pages come near the top of Internet searches. If someone somewhere was looking for Lech Borkowski the physicist, it would certainly be picked up by the snippets of code serving the search engines. And indeed, some time later, I could observe how the viewing numbers of the Wikipedia containing my name page rose, whenever I was more active in contacting other people. Wikipedia simply serves as a giant listening device. The information it collects enables identification of people and places looking for certain keywords.

The Polish Wikipedia has nothing to do with its English language counterpart, despite sharing the name. It is used for purposes contrary to those officially proclaimed. It is a social medium and a perfect tool for the exercise of power. Control of information and story telling (in general sense) are among the most basic instruments of power. The individuals controlling Polish Wikipedia are well organised. There is a great degree of similarity with actions of Communist intelligence, both inside and outside the country.

It is no accident that the military Communist political and intelligence officer Bauman praised Jemielniak’s enthusiastic book on Wikipedia. It is also no accident that (1) I was fired from the University (2) Wikipedia page was created to control my narrative. After WWII, my parents were in Communist concentration camps, where they were sent by the likes of Bauman.

And let me emphasize once again that I strongly oppose having a Wikipedia page with my name on it.

@LechSBorkowski

PhD, shop assistant at a west London greengrocer’s

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False dichotomy

My comment on the article George Blake and the meaning of treachery by David Aaronovitch in The Times, 30 December 2020.


Lech S Borkowski comment in The Times 31 December 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times, 31 December 2020

The author based his article on a false dichotomy.

“Was the greatest crime of the Soviet spy, who died last week, betraying his country? Or believing in an inhuman creed?”

Conjuction ‘or’ in English is explained as allowing for only one of the presented possibilities. If so, it is different from the logical ‘or’, which makes sentence logically true if one, the other, or both parts of the sentence are true. This being a regular text, I presume we are supposed to read it in the sense of ‘either… or…’.

However,

(a) This is the wrong conjuction. The proper one is ‘and’.
(b) Entirely spurious question, which tries to reframe the issue and is more worthy of a defense lawyer than a writer fully concious of the enormity of totalitarian genocides.

Blake served the genocidal Communist regime of the Soviet Union fully voluntarily, enthusiastically, with great dedication. That is his primary guilt. The rest is the consequence.

The Nazi at the Numerberg trials were not accused of ‘believing in an inhuman creed’. They were accused of specific crimes. The author knows perfectly well that people believe lots of different things, some sensible, some rotten, but that beliefs themselves are not exactly punishable. It is the deeds that matter.

So, this Times writer tries to act as Blake’s defense lawyer in a court of history. Sad.

Note also the absence of victims in his text. My family and I are some of those victims.

@LechSBorkowski

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15 October 2004

My comment on the article […] abuse scandal tarnishes John Paul II’s sainthood by Philip Willan in The Times, 16 November 2020. I posted the text around 1 am. It was held until late morning when it was finally allowed to appear. Top picture, full text of the comment.


Lech S Borkowski comment in The Times 16 November 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times 16 November 2020
LS Borkowski comment in The Times 16 November 2020
Lech S Borkowski’s comment was held by The Times from around 1 am to at least late morning, 16 November 2020

There are also other problems with John Paul II, which are outside the scope of this article and which have never received any scrutiny.

The article mentions George Weigel, the hagiographer of John Paul II. In the article Pope John Paul II’s Soviet Spy in the Wall Street Journal on 14 May 2020 he claimed:

“Students of the Cold War’s dark arts know that Communist intelligence services deeply penetrated the Vatican in the 1970s. Yet few know that Pope John Paul II, whose centenary will be marked on May 18, had his own secret agent in the Soviet Union during the 1980s.”

John Paul II celebrated the 26th anniversary of his pontificate in 2004. There was only one event devoted to this celebration: the Red Army Choir’s concert in the Vatican on 15 October 2004, broadcast on Russian and Italian tv. The last song of the evening was “Oka”, the anthem of the First Division of the future Polish Communist army, formed in the Soviet Union in 1943. Curiously enough, no one in the media commented on the “Oka” song.

Red Army Choir performing in the Vatican on 15 October 2004
Red Army Choir performing in the Vatican on 15 October 2004

The keywords of that article’s title: “pope John Paul II” and “Soviet spy” indeed seem to be accurate, but not in the way most people would expect.

The speed with which JPII was canonised was more likely due to an intervention of quite an earthly force and the problems described in the article, while very bad indeed, are not the only ones.

@LechSBorkowski

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Polishing images of totalitarian agents in The Telegraph

The untold story of Edith Tudor-Hart: ‘grandmother’ of the Cambridge spies by Charlotte Philby in The Telegraph, 3 October 2020. Wersja polska: Ocieplanie wizerunku agentów totalitaryzmu.


Lech S Borkowski comment The Telegraph 4 October 2020
Lech Borkowski, comment in The Telegraph 4 October 2020

When thinking about woman’s bravery, I prefer my mother, who was imprisoned by the Communist henchmen in eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Russia after WWII. She was ‘tried’ by a local Soviet military tribunal in 1949, together with her father and a younger brother. She tried to protect both of them in her responses during interrogations. She was subsequently imprisoned in a concentration camp in northern Russia in the Arkhangelsk area. She was released in 1956. The war, which was started by joint invasion of Nazi and Communist forces on Poland, has never ended for her. Communist thugs harassed her even when she went shopping when I was little. She suffered enormously and never received justice.

The Soviet security system was centered around terror and torture. She was a very brave woman. She did what was right. More recently, I witnessed the bravery of my pianist wife, who refused to yield to Communist methods of thugs running the state apparatus in Poland. This is also a very interesting story.

The current article is part of a totalitarian narrative. Both Communists and Nazis offered important roles to women dedicated to their cause. I would recommend publishing a collection of stories of female emancipation in the service of both of these genocidal regimes.

I would like to correct those optimists who claim that Communism collapsed. It didn’t. The publishing of this and similar articles in top British papers is a testimony to Communism being pushed into the mainstream. This is the next stage. Memory of Communist villains is preserved, while their victims are eliminated again, this time from memory.

@LechSBorkowski

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Vatican in the Shadow of the Red Star

My comment on the article Pope Francis ‘naive’ in deal with China to name bishops by Tom Kington and Didi Tang in The Times, 19 September 2020. Polish translation: Czerwona gwiazda nad Watykanem.


This is nothing new in the Vatican. Earlier popes appeased Communists in Eastern Europe in a similar way. It was done under the banner of ‘normalization’. It is worth reading “Memoirs” of Jozsef Mindszenty, the Hungarian cardinal who never bowed to the Communists. He described how the Communist regime was taking over the control over the Catholic Church in Hungary after WWII. Something very similar was done in other Communist countries.

Mindszenty was eventually stripped of his cardinal dignity for his resistance to Communist rule by pope Paul VI himself. Shocking and disgusting, if you ask me. Cardinal Casaroli was then making rounds between Rome and Communist capitals in Eastern Europe and making deals with them, sealing the Communist control of the church affairs.

The election of Karol Wojtyła from Poland as pope John Paul II in 1978 extended direct Communist control to the Vatican. Wojtyła was not opposing Communists. He was working with them and for them. Otherwise he would be eliminated early on.

Later, the legend of Wojtyła’s opposition to Communism was fabricated. Utter nonsense. John Paul II celebrated the 26th anniversary of his pontificate with a Red Army Choir’s concert in the Paul VI auditorium in the Vatican on October 15, 2004. The last song performed that evening was “Oka”, the anthem of the Communist First Division formed in the Soviet Union in 1943. The concert was broadcast on tv to Italy and Russia. BBC and some other media reported on the concert, but nobody expressed any surprise or feelings of unease over the concert. The “Oka” song was not mentioned publicly as well. The Italian announcer introduced it simply as a ‘Polish song’.

The subsequent turbo-propelled extra quick canonization of John Paul II is not a result of divine interventions. It was his Communist comrades who did the job. A posthumous life achievement award for his services.

Polish émigré writer Józef Mackiewicz wrote a book entitled “Vatican Under the Shadow of the Red Star”, Watykan w Cieniu Czerwonej Gwiazdy, in the 1970s. I don’t think there is an English translation of it though.

@LechSBorkowski

  • József Cardinal Mindszenty, Memoirs, New York: Macmillan (1974)
  • Józef Mackiewicz, Watykan w Cieniu Czerwonej Gwiazdy.
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Contempt for victims

My comment on the article My great aunt, the spy Ursula Kuczynski by Rosa Ellis in The Times, 11 September 2020.


Lech S Borkowski comment The Times  12 September 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times 12 September 2020

Here are my reflections.

We are served a story of a family of intellectuals who worked for the genocidal Communist regime and who don’t care about responsibility for their actions. It seems they are very happy with what they did.

Victims of Communism are simply eliminated from the narrative. I read this as an expression of contempt for the victims.

I also have a family and three generations of my family suffered terribly under the Communist terror.

More recently, my pianist wife and I, a physics PhD, were fired from state institutions in Poland. The authorities ran an extremely vicious campaign against us. They employed typical Communist methods. Do our lives matter?

Also, I would like to correct the view expressed in some earlier comments that the Soviet Union was a British ally during part of WWII. That’s not true.

It is true that the British government and the British people viewed the Soviet Union as an ally, but this view was based on deception and self-deception. Soviet Union never ceased to be the enemy of western democracies.

@LechSBorkowski

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Moscow’s unlikely admirer

My comment on the article The Pope is Beijing’s unlikely admirer by Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times, 26 July 2020.


4 August 2020

I would like to take issue with a couple of items in this article.

the pre-eminent Catholic commentator George Weigel

On May 14, 2020 The Wall Street Journal published a false story by George Weigel. In the article Pope John Paul II’s Soviet Spy, he claimed that Irina Ilovayskaya Alberti, a widow of an Italian diplomat, was his agent in the 1980s Soviet Union.

Weigel does not provide the basis of his revelation. This pre-eminent commentator participates in fabricating a fantasy. Irina Alberti, who had an unrestricted access to JPII, was able to travel to the Soviet Union several times a year and meet with the so-called ‘dissidents’. If anything, this indicates the Soviets’ approval of her persona and her contacts with the pope. In summer 1984, when I applied for a permit to visit my relatives living in eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Union since 1944, the Soviets refused. I was neither a pope’s acquaintance, nor a political or social activist.

Back to the current article:

This is part of the Holy See’s long campaign to achieve full mutual diplomatic relations with Beijing, which Vatican diplomats imagine will give them leverage with a leading world power. But it was a concession Francis’s predecessors would not have made — especially not the fiercely anti-communist John Paul II.

The legend of JPII being ‘fiercely anti-communist’ does not survive closer scrutiny. In fact, the opposite is true. JPII closely collaborated with the Communist authorities and was strongly supported by them. He was employed continuously at the Catholic University in Lublin from 1954 to 1978, when he was elected pope. His employment at the Catholic University occurred at the time when the authorities reduced the number of faculties from five to two.

Also, JPII was not keen to pray for the souls of Polish officers murdered by the Soviet NKVD in Katyn and other sites in 1940.

JPII celebrated the 26th anniversary of his pontificate in the Vatican on 15 October 2004 with a special performance of the Red Army Choir, also known as the Alexandrov Ensemble. The concert was broadcast to both Italy and Russia. The last song performed that evening as an encore was “Oka”, the anthem of the Polish Communist Army formed in the Soviet Union in 1943. This army was the main force behind the dictatorship in Poland. You can view the concert’s video on Youtube. This was both the celebration of Karol Wojtyla’s highly successful service as well as an admission of his subordination to Moscow, although western media correspondents failed to grasp the spectacle’s message.

The turbo-charged process of JPII’s canonization a mere few years after his death in 2005 is also very telling. It was not the divine hand that steered the process of making him saint. The devil’s advocate must have been asleep at the wheel as well.

Finally, let me quote from the closing paragraph of the article The Catholic Church in Communist Poland by Elizabeth Valkenier in The Review of Politics, Vol. 18, No. 3, 305-326 (July 1956):

This self-assumed task of convincing Catholics both inside and outside Poland that the Church’s mission is quite compatible with socialism, as well as the care taken not to break with the Holy See, seems to indicate that the pro-regime Catholics have a much more ambitious aim than the establishment of a national church. Their hope seems to be to have Catholicism serve not only the Polish regime but also world revolution.

@LechSBorkowski

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The Times presents GDR Communist Party member as victim

My comment on Heart of darkness: classified tapes offer a glimpse into inner workings of the Stasi by Oliver Moody and Sabine Schu in The Times, 15 July 2020.


So the woman on tape was an East German Communist Party member and she was teaching the Freie Deutsche Jugend, the youth wing of the SED, Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, i.e. the party she was member of?

Being in that position she did not have to be recruited to inform. She had a highly ideological and important position. Informing was part and parcel of her social position and party membership. The description in the article does not strike as particularly realistic.

There is also a reference to Poland. In Poland, the Communists organised fake opposition groups. Some members of these fake opposition groups were members of elite Communist families and otherwise well privileged people.

You need to take a broader view and examine other evidence. Polish transformation of 1989-90 was fake.

@LechSBorkowski


The second short remark is a response to another reader’s comment, who wrote:

“However I did visit the museum of ‘The Russo-German War 1941-45″ on Unter den Linden and was surprised by the absence of Soviet propaganda. The portrayal of events, at least to my Western eyes, were accurate.”

“The portrayal of events […] was accurate”.

I am sorry, but your eyes are not the right benchmark, especially if you accept the museum’s exhibition title as adequate description of WWII.

There was nothing in the museum about imprisoning, deporting and killing Polish citizens under the Soviet occupation? About the killing of Polish resistance members?

@LechSBorkowski

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You have been misinformed

My two comments on Twilight of Democracy by Anne Applebaum, review: a querulous and flawed analysis of Europe by Philip Johnston in The Telegraph, 26 July 2020.


Lech Borkowski
26 Jul 2020 7:04PM

Putting it mildly, you have been misinformed by both Anne Applebaum and her husband Radek Sikorski on Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe.

Radek Sikorski has been trained by Communist intelligence, probably the military branch, and secured a place at Oxford by Zbigniew Pelczynski, an Oxford professor on friendly terms with the Communists in Poland.

When I was about to leave the US at the end of my doctoral studies at the University of Florida, I was contacted by Radek Sikorski, who suggested that I participate in his team supporting the candidate in the upcoming presidential election in Poland. My initial response was positive, but I soon abandoned this idea without having met RS. Thank God.

Below I am including the letter my wife sent to Anne Applebaum on 22 May 2013. I collaborated in writing it. It tells you a completely different story to the one you are accustomed getting from your media outlets.

This is an English translation of the Polish original. You can also view it on our website at https://lsborkowski.com/pol/killing-the-soul-22-may-2013/ , where we present some of our texts associated with our project. The same text is available at at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330015944_Letter_to_the_Washington_Post_22_May_2013

I wrote the statement “Citizenship de jure and citizenship de facto” on 8 July 2014 and sent it to Radek Sikorski. It is available at

https://lsborkowski.com/pol/citizenship-de-jure-citizenship-de-facto-8-july-2014/ or at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329923338_Citizenship_De_Jure_and_Citizenship_De_Facto

He did not reply.

@LechSBorkowski

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22 May 2013

It is both interesting and disturbing that historians, sociologists, political scientists or journalists do not tell the truth about contemporary Poland. Even Poles themselves do not have the courage to face the truth. They do not have the courage to admit that they are flooded with lies.

[…]

The Communists worked hard over the years to perfect their killing ways. From the murder of the body they evolved towards the murder of the soul.

[…]

The loyalty to the mob, the falsifications and the active participation in the process of liquidating a human being are all rewarded with money, advance on the professional ladder, special privileges and total impunity.

[…]

The Solidarity movement was a skillfully manufactured lie.

I can now say with full certainty that there is no democracy in Poland. There has been no democracy here since 1939. We have only Potemkin-style democratic decorations. I live in the country governed by junta, where dignity and the social function of the human being are murdered. It is only natural that the result of such action by organized liquidation groups is not only the death of the soul but often also the death of the victim’s body. The perpetrators remain unpunished.

Today Poland is a country without natural social activity. The entire public life remains firmly under control of junta, who simulate a democratic system, but in reality destroy everyone whom they classify as an inconvenient person. Those who might pose a threat to junta’s hegemony are identified at a very early stage. Their lives and careers are often destroyed before they even have a chance to spread their wings. The know-how of the Communist secret police has not gone to waste. The hunt continues. Anyone who raises his or her head will be silenced or liquidated. The totalitarian state silences its opponents, as Hannah Arendt described in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem.

The Polish junta is a far more advanced product of totalitarianism than e.g. the Argentinian junta of the second half of the 20th century. In Argentina people were kidnapped and murdered secretly in isolated locations. In Poland people’s souls are murdered “on-site”, in exactly the same location where they live and work. Observers have an excuse to claim that nothing evil is taking place. This technique is far more sophisticated than the relatively ancient methods of an average Latin American junta.

My country, to which I returned with a great joy after traveling in Europe or the United States, is subject to Bolshevik rules. Contemporary Poland is actually a Communist concentration camp, in which the Communist perpetrators donned democratic uniforms. Certainly, number of political scientists must have at least asked themselves a question, how was it possible, that the totalitarian regime so easily and simply withdrew in 1989-1990. Was it really so, that the guards of the Communist concentration camp Poland simply got up from their desks, opened the camp’s gates and went home to live ordinary lives? And the next day they became pious Catholics and democrats? Was this a miraculous conversion? After the murder and expulsion of millions? After several decades of increasingly more perfect cruelty?

No, this is not true. The Communism did not fall. It was transformed, modernized and adapted to the new times. The banner of Communism was taken down and hidden away. But the dictatorship remained in place. In many ways the actions of the junta are bolder than before 1990.

[…]

Małgorzata Głuchowska


Lech Borkowski
26 Jul 2020 10:55PM

Applebaum’s narrative is a Communist one. You can see this in larger texts as well as in single sentences. Here is one example from the back cover of the Penguin’s edition of Iron Curtain:

“At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union unexpectedly found itself in control of a huge swathe of territory in Eastern Europe.”

Try taking this sentence apart and try to understand what it tells you. A big red flashing light.

This sentence signals her allegiance to the Communist/Russian narrative. Superficially, she may criticize Russia and Communists for this or that, but the signs are clearly there. People and key facts are omitted when harmful to the Cause. Often, what is omitted is much more important than what is included in the text. You will notice it easily when browsing through the index of the Iron Curtain, an awful book written with an apparent intention to confuse the readers.

My parents, Polish citizens, were imprisoned for many years in Communist concentration camps in northern Russia in the Arkhangelsk region. My father deserted from the Communist army on 13 January 1945, one day before the military oath was taken. My mother was imprisoned in 1949. Both lived in eastern Poland, which was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939-1941 and again after 1944. These are Communist taboo subjects and do not appear in her texts as well. Writing about it would harm Communist and Russian interests.

@LechSBorkowski

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Polish-Soviet friendship 2.0

My comment on the article Polish president looks for US troops to give him edge in election by Oliver Moody in The Times, 25 June 2020.


There is a misunderstanding about the changes of 1989-90. It was not, as it is usually presented, a ‘transition to democracy’. The ruling Communists maintained the same firm grip on power. What changed, was decorations and the plurality of lies.

As the Soviet troops were withdrawing from Poland in the first half of the 1990s, a contingent of civil operatives were brought in from the Soviet republics, who were installed at the state cultural and scientific institutions. Jobs, that were difficult to get for qualified Polish citizens, were given to the Russians. Given the circumstances and the logistics of this exercise, it was clearly the result of a cooperation of Poland, Russia, and the Soviet republics.

There was no obvious need that these people would fulfill.

Poland pretended to be officially an opponent of Russia, while on the ground continued the Communist business-as-usual. The mutual recognition of university degrees and other certificates continued until Poland entered the European Union in 2004. So, if you e.g. had a degree from a top western university, you had to go through the verification process with your diploma. However, if your degree was from Belarus, Kazakhstan, or any place in Russia, it was automatically accepted as valid.

In my wife’s workplace, at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in what is now western Poland, the head of the piano section was and probably still is an operative from Leningrad. That woman came to Poland around 1991 to a school of music in a small town in south-west Poland. Later on she moved to a better known school on the Polish-German border, and finally, after another couple of years to Zielona Góra. These moves would not have been possible without any special backing. These are jobs which are difficult to obtain for the Poles.

There are quite many examples of this policy in Poland. Quite obviously this is the next phase of the Polish-Soviet friendship.

These Russian operatives do not have any particularly precious expertise. Their presence contradicts common sense and sometimes even the law.

My wife was fired from the said School of Music in Zielona Góra, despite being the most successful piano teacher. Interestingly, the Russians (there is more than one of them in the school), often used the Soviet and Russian editions of classic composers, which were clearly falsified. The musical text was clearly wrong. It was not only the cyrillic of the letters, that was the problem. but also the musical text. But nobody dared to raise the issue.

This tells you more about reality than the noise about American troops, which might come to Poland.

If they come, they will be puppets in someone else’s hands. Americans do not have a clue.

@LechSBorkowski

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