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List of Polish Spies Leaked On The Internet 336

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 ( 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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  • Text of An Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Omkar ( 618823 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @04:55AM (#11588558) Homepage Journal
    A leaked list containing the names of some 240,000 people who allegedly spied for Poland's former communist regime has overtaken sex as the hottest search item on the Internet in Poland, press reports has said. "This thing is huge. We have recorded around 100,000 Internet searches a day for the list, which is 10 times the number looking for sex," Piotr Tchorzewski, who works at Poland's biggest Internet portal Onet, told Rzeczpospolita daily. The list, which contains in alphabetical order the names of alleged agents and collaborators of the communist-ero secret service, mixed together with the names of those who were allegedly spied on, has also been put up for auction on the Internet, but its bid price late yesterday -- 2.99 zlotys (around 75 euro cents) -- was hardly breaking records. On Onet's web portal, it tops the list of search items, and visitors are referred to 650,000 links for the controversial collection of names that has pushed the attorney general to launch legal proceedings and Prime Minister Marek Belka to express concern for the safety of active intelligence agents whose names "might" be on the list. The list, dubbed the Wildstein List after Bronislaw Wildstein, the journalist who secretly copied it around two weeks ago at the national archives, can change from one Internet consultation to the next, as hackers have been adding or taking off names, press reports said. From The Hindustan Times []
  • Not a list of spies (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @04:57AM (#11588567)
    This is not a list of spies but a list of people who were on the records of former communist Polish spies, which includes spies, would-be-spies, people who refused to be spies and victims of spies. Saying that it is a list of spies is harmful for most of the people from that list. Please don't spread outright lies.
  • RTFAs!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:15AM (#11588622)
    Wonder who leaked this? I doubt it was the guy, nobody would want to get on the bad side of former-communist spy agencies.

    God! This is the most stupid comment I've ever read! No one "leaked" it, because it was a PUBLIC LIST anyone could read in the libraries of Polish Institute of National Remembrance []! No one bothered to actually go there and read those names until Bronislaw Wildstein, a journalist which just an ordinary access to those files as any citizen, copied the files and gave them to few fellow journalists, who gave it to others and made a big fuzz about it calling it a "list of spies" which it isn't and which Wildstein never misrepresented as such. Please get some clue before you post another misinformation. Thank you. What is a much more important issue here is the fact that Wildstein has lost his job in a supposedly independent newspaper Rzeczpospolita [] because of giving others public documents which were not even classified. This is a serious question about the freedom of speech in Poland. The fuzz about "spies" is just bullshit. What is important here is that most of independent journalists think that Wildstein shouldn't have taken that list and given it to others and that any "responsible journalist" would never do it. We are talking about a publicly available not classified data here! This is important, not your Orwellian phobias about being "on the bad side of former-communist spy agencies." Take off your tinfoil hat and think about free speech for a while. And actually read something about this list.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:15AM (#11588623)
    Ah. I thought the number of 240,000 seemed high for spycount for a country the size of Poland.

    Not really. The list is from Communist party days. In Poland and other Eastern European countries, there were very many domestic spies. The government was paranoid. Millions of people were spied on. Also there were spies to spy on other spies, (like in Juvenal's satires) and so on.
  • by mikelang ( 674146 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:27AM (#11588648)

    You obviously do not know, what communist regime spies were acting like.

    They were searching in the country for evidence of any "unlawful thinking" using any means possible. More like Orwell's "1984".

    Main modes of operation included blackmail and intimidation. When it didn't work, then suspects went to prison or "disappeared" (a.k.a. were assassinated) like famous priest [] - Popieluszko [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:28AM (#11588651)
    The better word would be "informers" or "snitches". The point is about people who would snitch on their coworkers or neigbours.

    The problem is, the list does not have any real info what the particular person was doing. They infer record type from file id accompanying the name, but it seems not exact. Then when you find someone you know there, you don't know is he was reporting on you, been spied on, employed in ministry of internal affairs or maybe just "checked out".

    According to one version I was secret police officer. They must have wiped my memory as I can't remember working for them...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @05:32AM (#11588659)
    to see that the list included many others besides spies.
  • by QuaZar666 ( 164830 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @06:18AM (#11588758)
    In case anyone wants to read the list you can get the torrent Here. []

    - Qua
  • Re:Similar (Score:5, Informative)

    by gihan_ripper ( 785510 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @06:20AM (#11588762) Homepage
    The name of the Slovenian emigre in question is Dusan Lajovic, and the database of Slovenian 'spies' can be found here [].
  • Re:1989 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trurl's Machine ( 651488 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @06:27AM (#11588777) Journal
    It was only 16 years ago that Poland 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.

    It's not that simple. Surely this list contains the names of people that did great harm - but it also contains the names of people that were harmed. It's just a catalog of everyone who was in scope of the Polish secret service - either as an informer or just as someone who is being followed. It's a list of both the torturers and their victims and there is no easy way to distinguish betwenn both groups (you could be blackmailed or just tortured into being an informer). You could as well take a telephone directory - it would also probably include names from those who do the harm and those who suffer it.
  • Re:RTFAs!!! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @07:00AM (#11588843)
    and then you just wasted your mod by posting to the same discussion you modded.
  • Re:RTFAs!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by RWerp ( 798951 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @07:37AM (#11588922)
    Wildstein had the right to read the list and use the info in his journalist research, not to carry it from the IPN's library. Those are two different things. There is also the issue of privacy protection -- he distributed the names of 240,000 people, most of them who are not public figures. This pictures him as an irresponsible man.

    Wildstein publicly said that he doesn't care if his actions harm our currently working intelligence agencies. It's equivalent to an American saying "I don't care if I put CIA/FBI agent's lives in danger". Wildstein is a fanatic, who puts grand ideas above individual people. In this aspect, he's as communist as you could possibly be.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @08:31AM (#11589016)
    During the period of the Holocaust of World War II, Poland lost:

    98.5% of her Jews

    Over 6,000,000 Jews were murdered in Poland. More than half of them were Polish Jews.

  • by Zachary Kessin ( 1372 ) <> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @10:55AM (#11589416) Homepage Journal
    The thing is that 95% of these people were not "spies" in the way that we think. They were folks who for an extra few marks or rubles would rat on their neighbors. Most of them were probably old age pensioners for whom an extra loaf of bread once a week would make a *BIG* difference. Eastern Europe under Comunsism was a very poor place.

  • Re:RTFAs!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by RWerp ( 798951 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @11:04AM (#11589456)
    It was a specialty of communists, to put ideology above individual human beings. "Masses are everything, one person means nothing" -- an old communist motto.
  • She ended up just making up some rubbish which took the heat away from the KGB and wouldn't get anyone into trouble. I guess that when you cooerce people into being informers, many end up fabricating the product.

    I guess that if you believe what she said then you really don't get the way it work. You see KGB and their little brothers throughout "satellite countries" were not stupid. Ruthless, devoid of human feelings, totally immoral and sometimes corrupt - yes. Stupid - no. With informer penetration of one third of the society cross-checking the reports sounds like an easy thing to do. And it was frequently done. First, to ensure the system delivered real information. Second, to ensure that the informer would believe his handler (officer who recruited him and was overseeing him, meeting him - or her in the case of your Russian friend) knows everything anyway.

    Now, guess what would happen when someone going on that bus would do something strange, out of ordinary by soviet standards back then - like, say, ask this friend of yours what does she think about Chernenko (or whoever was running that place then) or the communism in general - do you think she would hesitate for a moment in reporting that to her KGB handler? Not one. And not because she is (or was) a particularly bad person, no, because she would be afraid, really scared, of what might happen to her if she didn't report that - but someone else did. Her handler has from day one worked hard on ensuring that this fear would be with her, always. They were very effective at putting fear into people's mind, the whole system was - some people in Poland were afraid to, say, sign a petition against government years after 1989.

    And while dealing with a secret police there is no such thing as an innocent report that for sure won't get anyone in trouble. Something that looks innocent to an informer might be the missing part of a bigger puzzle for an officer.

    The point is - despite all the horrors of the system by seventies and eighties it lost much of its bloodthirsty jaws it had in the Stalin era. And there was a choice, you didn't have to be informant if you didn't want to. You also didn't have to join the communist party. Sure, you had to accept though, that you won't advance in your career, won't get a new car and a flat to live in. And, in some cases, your little sins like cheating on your wife would be exposed. Or you would have to serve that one month prison term for drunk-driving. Or, in the case of your Russian friend, you wouldn't be allowed to do a lucrative and pleasant job of showing foreigners around at the Olympics. But at least you didn't become a part of the system that was destroying your own nation. That wasn't as brave as die on a barricade or something, but nevertheless that was bravery. And many, many people were that brave back then. The fact that those who weren't were not even named... is a shame.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!