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Janusz Kaczmarek, political crisis, Poland

A POLISH "WATERGATE"?

By David Dastych

Monday, September 3, 2007

Janusz Kaczmarek, the recently ousted Minister of Interior of the PiS ("Law and Justice" party of the Kaczynski Brothers) was detained at an appartment of a known Polish film director, Sylwester Latkowski, where he was spending the last night on discussion. Latkowski filmed the detention of Kaczmarek. The ABW (Home Security Agency) agents in plain clothes had detained him. Later on, Kaczmarek was brought to the  Warsaw Prosecutor's Office.

On the same morning, two other officials were detained: Mr. Konrad Kornatowski, a Polish Police Chief, who resigned after the ousting of Kaczmarek from the Interior Ministry, and Mr. Jaromir Netzel, President and CEO of the PZU (main Polish Insurance Agency).

Kaczynski not a PilsudskiThese people and also the ousted chief of the ABW, Mr. Witold Marczuk, were supposed to testify before the Parliamentary Commission for Special Services on Friday.

Comment: Poland is in the midst of the  biggest ever political crisis  (often compared to the American "Watergate" scandal), provoked by the ruling PiS ("Law and Justice" party) led by one of the Kaczynski Twins - Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. His identical twin brother, Lech Kaczynski, is the President of Poland. The background of the present crisis, leading to early parliamentary elections to be probably held in Poland this Fall, is the disruption of the ruling coalition of three parties (PiS, LPR, Samoobrona) and the controversial activity of the Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General (Attorney General, in the U.S.A.), Mr. Zbigniew Ziobro, 35, who cracked on his government colleagues under a pretex of their participation in "corruption". The Law and Justice party, led by Kaczynski Twins, rose to power in the elections of 2005, under popular slogans of anti-corruption drive and building of a "Fourth Republic", cleaned of post-communists and corrupted politicians. But soon later the Kaczynski Brothers developed a "Big Brother Policy" in Poland, with frequent arrests without serious evidence, with special powers granted to the secret agencies of the government, specially to a new, CBA (Central Anti-Corruption Bureau), organized and fully controlled by the PiS government. The special services have been authorized to use all possible eavesdropping techniques against, practically, anybody they want to tape. The government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski set about for a propaganda campaign, claiming they were "cleaning" Poland of "enemies", even in their own ranks. Paranoic "Law and Justice" policies deeply divided the Polish nation and many people started to talk about a "police state", or a "proto-fascist" state to emerge in Poland. Extreme right parties and groups were encouraged to take part in the public life, such as LPR (League of Polish Families) and Mlodziez Wszechpolska (All-Polish Youth, a revived fascist youth league, super-nationalist and anti-Semitic, using Hitler's salute 'Sieg Heil' as their greeting).

There is a growing opposition of all other political parties in Poland (including the former coalition members: LPR and Samoobrona) against the un-democratic, authoritarian rule of the Kaczynski Twins and their political followers. One of their main supporters is a controversial Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, the head  a big private media conglomerate (Radio Maryja, Trwam TV, newspapers). Rydzyk is an ultra-nationalistic, anti-Semitic monk, who has exerted a charismatic influence upon a part of the Polish Catholic laymen population.

Poland is facing the biggest political crisis, since the regime change in 1989. The democratic system of the government, evoluating (not without problems) for the last 17 years is being seriously endangered.

As in a popular cartoon, distributed on the Web, the Kaczynski Brothers are basing their ideology on that of the late Marshall of Poland, Jozef Pilsudski. But Pilsudski was a genuine leader of the country, emerging from the 123-years of partition. His authoritarian rule, once positive for Poland, ended in a semi-fascist governments of his followers, ruling over Poland from 1935 until 1939, when Poland was brutally conquered by Hitler's 3d Reich and Stalin's Soviet Union. But the Kaczynskis' regime is no match for Pilsudski's and Poland should better turn to the future, not to the (no so glorious) past. As member of NATO and the European Union, Poland could loose its "5 minutes" in present history, due to unresponsible governance and internal and external conflicts.