Sixtieth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: Fri, 02 May 2003 19:38:55 +0200)

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Intelligence profile : Poland

Background:

Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived around the middle of the 10th century. It's golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation, until an agreement in 1772 between Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. In 1920 however, the Polish-Russian War stopped the Soviet expansion to the west at that time. The main battle was fought between 12 and 15 July near Warsaw. Lord Edgar V. d'Abernon called this battle "18th deciding battle in the history of world". After World War II Poland became a Soviet satellite country, but one that was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. Poland joined the NATO alliance in 1999.

General:

Long name : Rzeczpospolita Polska / Republic of Poland
Short name : Polska / Poland
Capital : Warsaw

 

The country is devided in 16 provinces (wojewodztwa); Dolnoslaskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lodzkie, Lubelskie, Lubuskie, Malopolskie, Mazowieckie, Opolskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Pomorskie, Slaskie, Swietokrzyskie, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Wielkopolskie, Zachodniopomorskie

Military branches:

Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Force

Intelligence:

General info

In the period 1944-1990 the main intelligence agencies were the now defunct SB - Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (Security Service), UB – Urzad Bezpieczenstwa (Security Office) and the military agency WSW – Wojskowa Sluzba Wewnetrzna (Military Internal Service). Established in 1949 to replace pre war ZW now called again Zandarmeria Wojskowa (ZW) or in English "Military Police".

Until 1990 the internal security forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were charged with preserving public order and protecting the regime. The security forces included the the riot police (ZOMO - Zmotoryzowane Odwody Milicji Obywatelskiej), the SB, and a large Citizens' Militia Voluntary Reserve (Ochotnicza Rezerwa Milicji Obywatelskiej).

The major reversal in policy in 1990, when Poland broke away from the Warsaw Pact and Russia's influence, meant the end of these agencies. They were replaced by a number of new ones, like the UOP, BBN, RBN and the military WSI.

In May 1990, the UOP was created. It took over the structure of the former communist Security Office (UB). In May 2002 the parliament passed the new law on secret services. As a result the two most important secret service organizations UOP and WSI were to be dissolved. UOP disappeared and was replaced by the ABW and AW but the military WSI is reportedly still in place.

The oversight of the Polish Special Services is in the hands of three committees: the Sejm Commission for the Special Services (Sejm is the Lower Chamber of Parliament), the Committee for Special Services, and the Supreme Chamber of Control.

The WIR - Wspolnota Informacyjna Rzadu Government Information Community prepares reports on state security for the country's most important people. WIR's chairman is the chief of the AW.

The agencies in more detail

UOP - Urzad Ochrony Panstwa
Office for State Protection

In May 1990, the UOP was created. It took over the structure of the UB, the former communist Special Intelligence Service. The UOP was responsible for intelligence collection (domestic and foreign), counter intelligence, anti terrorism, combating illegal arms, drugs and technologies trafficking, and internal security functions. In May 2002 the parliament passed the new law on secret services. As a result the two most important secret service organizations UOP and WSI were to be dissolved. UOP dissolved and was replaced by the ABW and AW.

* ABW - Agencja Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego
Internal Security Agency

The ABW is the Polish special service responsible for the matters of the protection of the state’s internal security and its constitutional order. The Headquarters of the ABW, located in Warsaw, is composed of 16 units, including the following departments:

as well as 5 Bureaus, including the Bureau of Record and Archives, and the Legal Bureau.

The structure of the ABW is composed of 15 regional branches, placed in the capitals of the provinces.

The tasks of the ABW, among other things, include: fighting threats to internal security of the state and its constitutional order as well as exposing the crimes of espionage, terrorism, breach of the state secret, corruption of persons holding public posts, and crimes aimed against the economic foundations of the state, crimes of proliferation of the ABC weapons and trade in drugs on an international scale. The ABW provides appropriate bodies with information that may be vital for the protection of the state’s internal security and its constitutional order and performs the functions of the national security authority. It also has the investigatory powers analogous to those of the Police.

AW - Agencja Wywiadu
Intelligence Agency

Responsible for Foreign Intelligence and in cooperation with WSI the AW counteracts any act of espionage or any crime directly threatening the state's defense. Besides that, the AW also works for the MON (Ministry of Defense - Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej) directly.

BBN - Biuro Bezpieczenstwa Narodowego
National Security Bureau

The National Security Bureau (NSB) was established in 1991. The status of the NSB is based on the article 11 of the General Obligation of Defending Country Act. Uniform text of the Act was published in the Dziennik Ustaw (Dz.U. nr 21, pos. 205 year 2002, with later changes).

The NSB is a state institution on external and internal security and defense field. The National Security Bureau fulfils tasks related to entitlements of the President of the Republic of Poland related to security and defense of the country, arising from constitutional entitlement of the President to perform supreme supervision over the armed forces and the obligation to safeguard the sovereignty and security of the state as well as the inviolability and integrity of its territory. NSB organizes and ensures carrying out tasks belonging to references of the National Security Council (as the NSC Secretariat) and the Consultative Committee of the Presidents of the Republic of Poland and Ukraine.

RBN - Rada Bezpieczenstwa Narodowego
National Security Council

Responsibilities:

The National Security Council Department consists of two sections:

Departament Zwierzchnictwa Prezydenta RP nad Silami Zbrojnymi
Department of the President’s Supervisory over the Armed Forces

Responsibilities:

MSWiA - Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnetrznych i Administracji
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration

The MSWiA overseas the General Command of the Police and the Border Guards.

Military intelligence:

* WSI - Wojska Sluzby Informacyjna
Military Information Services

Responsible for military counter intelligence and security activities.

It is therefor directly responsible for the protection of vital state information and is directly controlled and managed by the MON (Ministry of Defense - Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej).

WSI investigates and counteracts threats to the state defense system and vital defense information. WSI cooperates closely with AWB and AW.

WSI also holds control over arms, explosives, equipment, licences, etc.

Numbers stations

Numbers stations allegedly transmitting from Poland are Oblique (E11), Strich (G11), Presta (S11) and the Swedish Rhapsody (G02). I wonder if they are really coming from Poland, though. All stations have been around for many years and survived the Soviet days and the various reorganizations between 1990 and now. If they are coming from Poland, then who are the users you might ask.

Check N&O #11 for a profile of E11, G11 and S11. Frequencies can be found in the numbers database on the N&O website.

Sources:

Thanks to Maciej for his translations and help with the spelling. Polish is a difficult language :-)


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