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List of Polish Spies Leaked On The Internet 336

Posted by timothy
from the here-have-some-szarlotka dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A list of 240,000 names of Polish secret agents, informers, secret service employees, and victims of persecution was leaked on the internet in the last days and became an instant hit. The search for "lista Wildsteina" (Wildstein's list) sky-rocketed to 300,000 per day in the second most popular search engine in Poland (onet.pl) outperforming "sex" (former top query) by more than 30 times. The list appeared on many web sites, p2p networks, and was made into a searchable database. There are worries the list might contain names of active security agents, still working abroad. Google news has more coverage."
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List of Polish Spies Leaked On The Internet

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  • by HillBilly (120575) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:09AM (#11588603)
    Too late, this is slashdot, no one reads the article.

  • WAY TO GO /. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:17AM (#11588627)
    just because this happened in poland, /. is even linking to websites providing the list on their front page.

    I wonder if you could post such a lame piece of american arrogance if the list was out in the USA.

    Shame, really

    mod me down for this, americans...
  • by flopsy mopsalon (635863) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:18AM (#11588628)
    "If you pick at the scab of history, the blood will flow in the streets. Could there be more appropriate words for this event? I think not.

    Years after the fall of communism, it seems some still bear enough of a grudge at the discredited regime that they will painstakingly assemble and disseminate a long list of names of individuals involved in espionage-related events. That the list was so quickly spread around the net and even turned into a database, together with its phenomenal popularity among internet users, indicated that many in Poland still have axes and possibly even scythes to grind over wrongs perpretrated during the Communist era.

    Doubtless, reputations will be besmirched and careers ruined, some no doubt unjustly. And to what end? The ills of communism were many, but they are in the past. This obssessive assembling of databases serves only to dig up moldering corpses just to piss on their shoes.

    People need to look ahead. Whether it be Poles still smarting over Communist-era misdeeds, Islamic radicals seeking to undo the fall of Muslim civilization, or outraged citizens suing television networks over breasts bared at Superbowl halftime shows, this endless fretting over the past only engenders further dismay. The dead cannot be unkilled, last year's breast cannot be covered today. Let it go.
  • 1989 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by r84x (650348) <r84x AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:44AM (#11588678) Homepage Journal
    It was only 16 years ago that Poland [wikipedia.org] threw off communism with the first free elections in the former Soviet bloc. This list likely contains the names of people that did great harm to others (and also many unrelated people). To simply write offf the list as something that should be forgotten, as some have suggested, would be foolish. We as americans must still atone for injustices done to others during the civil rights era, and many europeans are still dealing with the spectres of war from sixty years ago. To "forget" something that happened as recently as sixteen years is foolish and unreasonable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @06:04AM (#11588728)
    For certain people to blame p2p of supporting terrorism...
  • by biglig2 (89374) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @06:19AM (#11588760) Homepage Journal
    Also, while I'm not an expert on espionage, I suspect that most agencies try to avoid writing the names of all their spies on one piece of paper. That would seem to me to be a basic.
  • stupid! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by freeplatypus (846535) <freeplatypus@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @06:40AM (#11588804)
    First of all, this is not technology related topic so I don't know why it is on /.

    The guy, Wildenstein, or whatever, is a complete moron. The list, which is currently being held by the IPN (the official government institution) is going to become public. I assume that some people, like active agents, won't be listed, otherwise this would be the highest possible stupidity.

    The Internet. There are few meaningless list on the internet, they differ in contents. You can't be sure which one is the proper one. After all, this is only the name index. Without cataloges (which are in posession of IPN) the list is useless, or in worst case, missleading.

    Cheers!
  • by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @06:51AM (#11588826) Journal
    Doubtless, reputations will be besmirched and careers ruined, some no doubt unjustly. And to what end? The ills of communism were many, but they are in the past.

    It's never that simple. The past is always embedded in the present. If you are African-American, you could happily forget the slave past, but you can't escape the question "why my skin color makes it impossible for me to buy a flat in Upper Manhattan?". If you think Central Europe is the only region of the world haunted by ghosts from past crimes... then think again. Or better yet, talk to some Nisei, to some Native Americans or just watch "Graveyard Of The Fireflies" [tcp.com] anime with some Japanese friend. So if you are in Poland, you are more than eager to forget about the communist past. But forget it or not, you will still ask yourself this question: why I am a poor wage-slave or unemploeyd, while my secret service tormentor has now a management position in some state-owned company?
  • by maxgilead (243900) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @06:58AM (#11588840)

    There are *only* 240 000 names on that list because it's far from being completed. Leon Kieres, head of Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) [ipn.gov.pl] estimates that completed list will count abount 1.5 MILION of names. Of course, names of spies, would-be spies and their victims, not spies alone (source: article from Gazeta Wyborcza [gazeta.pl]).

    Please also note that name 'spy' used in this news is a bit misleading. They were not James Bond-style spies, they were actually called 'secret collaborators' and most of them spied upon their oppositionist friends, family etc. I suppose in any post-communist their numbers were that high if not higher.

  • Re:RTFAs!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by marq00z (732044) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @07:01AM (#11588849) Homepage

    That's just BS.

    It's not true that it is available to anyone - not everybody is allowed to read these stuff. You have to be either a professional historian or a victim of the communist regime.

    The real problem is that this "list of spies" consists just of the names and surnames and a "primary key" (if you like sql-speak ;)). Nothing more, nothing less.

    And these are the names of the spies, the victims of the Security Service, people who refused to be spies and innocent people about whom the Security Service just thought "They might be nice spies some day, let's collect some data about them".

    Also, if you saw "John Smith" on that list you couldn't be sure if it was the John Smith, your father or someone else. But for people who hate your father this would be "a 100% proof" your father's a bad guy. And they'd tell anyone "hey, Smith was a Security Service agent!"

    Wildstein just wants publicity, he does not care about such people as that hypothetical John Smith.

  • by mrogers (85392) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @07:45AM (#11588931)
    Those who study history are also doomed to repeat it, but with a greater sense of foreboding.
  • Re:Quick! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wudbaer (48473) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @08:10AM (#11588983) Homepage
    The only thing I really find bad is that a lot of people are on the list who are likely innocent like people refusing to become snitches or worse, even victims.

    Regarding the spies themselves: They had it coming to them. They destroyed lives of neighbours, co-workers and even friends and family, so I honestly don't give a rats ass what happens to them.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @08:17AM (#11588992)
    Lies or not, this is a wake-up call for any entity that stores personal data within easy reach of the internet. It is an example of how easily personal data can become public knowledge. The next time you get a virus or piece of spyware on your corporate desktop, think how easily this "program" could be used to target other forms of sensitive information and not just your keystrokes.
  • by Zoop (59907) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @09:38AM (#11589178)
    Now substitute "Nazi" or "Apartheid" or "Abu Ghraib" for "Communist", and see if you believe your own argument.

    The truth commission in South Africa is there for a reason. The "Communist Era" as you call it is not even as far back as World War Two--it only ended in 1989. There were atrocities committed. In much of Eastern Europe there has been insufficient lustration, and at the very least something like the Truth Commission would help deal with the lingering resentments people feel. If someone does something and seems to have gotten away with it, you are much more likely to bear a grudge than if they do something but are forced to come clean about it.

    Let's put it this way--if Guantanamo becomes a camp for political dissenters in the U.S. and you're an American, would you not want to know which of your neighbors were collaborating with the government to send people there? Wouldn't you want the stories out to provide a lesson so history isn't repeated?

    In Lithuania I met a Russian who had been in the KGB prison in Vilnius for 11 years. He took us on a tour of the prison and explained how they would be chained to the ground in unheated rooms (it was -20C outside during the tour), showing us a padded room (with blood-stained burlap still on the walls) where they beat people regularly and fired guns over their heads.

    There's a weird disconnect in the West that says that, because the goal was social justice, we should overlook the "excesses" of Communism and not regard their crimes the way Naziism or Apartheid or the genocide in Rwanda is regarded. I think it's this willing amnesia that is at the heart of the problem--we can avoid the messy questions that someone in South Africa or Rwanda has to live with on a daily basis if we all pretend it was a gigantic comedy of errors or a period of simply unskillful government.

    The same lack of memory, incidentally, can be said for the South's attitude toward the civil rights struggle in the United States, though at least some criminals are being prosecuted--but hardly enough.

    How can we argue that the rest of the world should follow our enlightened example if we're unwilling to look carefully at our own past?
  • by incal (728144) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @12:23PM (#11589965)
    :) Of course I am. Jerzy Urban is a Jew. If I defend a Jew, that makes me a filthy antisemite. Perfect logic.

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