New recordings revealed in wire-tapping scandal
June 23, 2014
PM Donald Tusk, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Internal Affairs Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz
New excerpts from bugged private meetings of Poland’s high-level officials, revealed by Radio Zet and TVN 24 television on Sunday, add more controversy to the ongoing tape scandal
that broke out last weekend.
The recordings include conversations between Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, former Finance Minister Jacek Rostowki as well as former Transport Minister S≥awomir Nowak and their extensive transcripts are also to be published by the weekly magazine Wprost on Monday.
In one of the excerpts, read out by Radio Zet journalist Monika Olejnik Minister Sikorski talks about Polish-US relations. He tells the then Minister Rostowski that the Polish-US alliance is worth nothing, is in fact bad because it gives Poland a false sense of security.
“We will develop a conflict with Germany, with Russia but we will still believe that everything is OK”, Sikorski said. “The problem with Poland is that we have a very low self-esteem and lack pride”, Sikorski said and called the alleged syndrome "negroism."
A ruling party Civic Platform (PO) MP Julia Pitera, present in the radio studio, said she couldn’t accept the way the quoted minister talks and added that "our foreign policy has been conducted correctly and so it seems we heard some nonsensical remarks, not government policy (line). Besides, foreign policy is pursued by the government, it is not Sikorski's personal policy."
Main opposition Law and Justice (PiS) MP Ryszard Czarnecki, also present in the studio, disagreed, said that the cited excerpt could have international consequences. “There can be serious international repercussions because Sikorski used a racist language in this case," Czarnecki said.
Another revealed excerpt concerns 2005 presidential elections in Poland when PM Donald Tusk was one of the candidates along a prominent cardiac surgeon, the late professor Zbigniew Religa Minister Nowak is talking about the campaign and saying he remembers that Religa withdrew from the race after PO paid off the debts of his electoral committee.
Pitera said it can be verified whether such “deal” was really made.
On Saturday the Gazeta Wyborcza wrote that Wprost obtained fresh illegally bugged conversations and that among the bugged politicians were former government press spokesman Pawel Gras and State Treasury Minister Wlodzimierz Karpinski, as well as Sikorski and Rostowski.
Government press spokeswoman Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska said that the government would not make any comments on the issue before all the illegally recorded conversations are made public.
After Wprost published on June 14 the first series of illegal recordings of high-level officials including the conversation between Internal Affairs Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz and central bank president Marek Belka, followed by the release of tapes with Minister Nowak and former deputy Finance Minister Andrzej Parafianowicz police and internal security agency officers attempted on late Wednesday to remove evidence from a newsroom of Wprost.
ABW officers visited the newsroom several times on Wednesday and the situation escalated at night, ending in a melee during which an ABW officer tried, unsuccessfully, to take away Wprost editor-in-chief Sylwester Latkowski's laptop. Wprost said that this might allow the investigators to identify the source of the recordings.
Minister of Justice Marek Biernacki told a briefing that this action
violated procedures and raised constitutional concerns.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk distanced himself from police actions, reminding that the Prosecutor General is politically independent.