Meet the real "Jack Strong" - Col. Ryszard Kukliński
Professor Józef Szaniawski1 remembers his friend, Colonel Ryszard Kukliński
A tour through the Ryszard Kukliński museum2 in Poland.
Produced by: www.solidarni2010.pl
Translation courtesy of Doomed Soldiers Project
- Transcript -
This is the first of some 50 maps made in Poland between 1970 and 1988.
Each year, the General Staff of the Polish [communist People’s] Army produced two, and at times, three, or four, such maps.
These maps represented written orders arriving from Moscow.
Who made these maps? Kukliński did.
Why were these maps made two, or three times per year? Because two or three times per year, the Soviet orders had to be updated, and a new map had to be produced to reflect them.
|Above: Col. Ryszard Kukliński "Jack Strong" (left) with Professor Józef Szaniawski (right) in Warsaw, Poland
This map is dated the 29th of February . This is a historical map. [General Jaruzelski]3 can’ deny that. Here is his handwriting: “Approved by Jaruzelski”.
This is a “Top Secret, Special Purpose” map produced in a single copy.
This map was declassified and transferred to this museum room on orders of [then] the Minister of Defense, Sikorski, and the man who adored Kukliński personally: the Chief of the General Staff, general Franciszek Gągor, who perished in Smolensk [on April 10, 2010]4.
As you are looking at this map, I would like to turn your attention to the fact, that aside from tiny Denmark, the Poles were to win for the Russians: Northern Germany, Holland, Belgium, and even tiny Luxembourg. We were to march all the way to the English Channel, to France.
At the same time, the 6th Airborne Division from Kraków was to be airlifted to the north to checkmate the neutral Sweden. The question is how were they to be airlifted? There were no aircraft. The Polish army didn’t have any transport planes. Only the Russians had [such] aircraft. Therefore, it all depended on Russia.
There you can see the photo of “general” Jaruzelski with Colonel Kukliński, who is again looking at his [Jaruzelski’s] hands. It was taken in Moscow. There is a quote - which can also be found in this guide - that says: “If respect and honor is to be restored to Kukliński, then it is us who don’t deserve respect and honor, and it is us who are the traitors.”
This is the only sentence uttered by Jaruzelski that I agree with. It comes from his interview with Gazeta Wyborcza, and Adam Michnik: “If glory and honor is to be returned to Kukliński, and he is found not guilty,” then it is us [the communists] who can’t expect respect and honor, and it is us who are the traitors. And so they were! The [Poland’s] Supreme Court found Kukliński not guilty, returned his rank of Colonel, and vindicated him.
The general Jaruzelski, on the other hand, will not find similar fate. To his own detriment, he said what he said.
What you see here is the standard of the Home Army’s [Doomed Soldiers]5 - a very small group of about twenty of those who are still alive. They represent the Union of Political Prisoners Sentenced to Death [by the communist courts]. [These men] were sentenced to death, but their executions were not carried out. I took part in a meeting where these 80-year-old elderly men were bickering among themselves whether, or not, to give Kukliński an honorary, or a regular membership. Of course he became their regular member, as he was sentenced to death [by the communists] as well.
Here is Kukliński’s “Death Sentence” ruling signed by five Polish judges. What we have here is the last death sentence ruling issued in the political trial in Poland. The same kind of death sentence, mind you, as those issued against such heroes as Cavalry Captain [Witold] Pilecki6, General Fieldorf “Nil”, or Major Szendzielarz “Łupaszka”7. [Kukliński’s] death sentence was far worse, however. There is one particular fact overlooked by the historians: It wasn’t the court in Moscow, but one in Warsaw, consisting of not Russians, but Poles, that sentenced their fellow Pole to death. They sentenced the Pole for passing the Soviet, and not Polish secrets. These were not the secrets of the Polish nation. These were the secrets of the foreign [Soviet] empire, hostile towards Poland.
Notably, documents handed by Kukliński to the Americans, were written in the Russian language. What else is needed then, to prove that the so-called People’s Republic of Poland, or “PRL” as it was called, was not a sovereign nation? That it was a nation wholly subservient to Soviet Russia? Those who ruled Poland, ruled her under the Soviet boot. Simply put, they were Russia’s servants.
His [death] sentence however, has a far broader significance then Kukliński, the man, himself.
Had Kukliński not been the most important intelligence agent after the Second World War, had he not stopped the Third World War, he would still find his way into history. He was the first Pole who had a cellphone. The CIA provided him with a cellphone already in the winter of 1978, that is, 33-years ago. Let me remind some of us, that it was during the time period when a regular Pole, wanting to make a phone call, had to take 1 Polish złoty to the pay-phone that rarely worked … Here, at an incredible expense, the CIA builds a cell phone … He is certainly the very first Pole, and perhaps the first European ever, to have a cellphone. I can tell you what this cellphone looked like. It resembled a brick, and weighted nearly as much as one. It had two small retractable antennas, and a small protruding wire, just like a computer mouse wire. Along with other possessions that could compromise his mission, Kukliński got rid of this phone by throwing it from the Gdansk Bridge two days before he was smuggled out of Poland to America. It was on November 6, 1981. This phone is still there, at the muddy bottom of the Vistula River under the Gdansk Bridge.
This is Kukliński’s original uniform that General Gągor ordered to be released from the General Staff. Along with his winter coat, and his hat, Kukliński kept this uniform in his office at the General Staff building. He would travel to work wearing civilian clothes, and then would change when he arrived. When on the day he was smuggled out to America he didn’t show up, this uniform was left behind. It was torn to pieces; not only the uniform itself, but also the lining, pockets, the eagle was hanging by a thread, the hood was missing, and the rim was torn off. So, this is what I received - all in pieces. They were a little embarrassed by that. As I am pointing to the torn lining, I told the general - not Gągor, but the other one - “General, Sir. Were you looking for cyphers, and secret American codes from the CIA?” He looked at me indulgently and said: - “Mr. Professor. What cyphers. They were looking for Dollars!” I wanted to get this uniform just as it was, because it looked more interesting that way. But, the military was embarrassed, and said that they will take it to the tailor, get it dry-cleaned, etc.
Ladies and gentlemen, did you notice that not a single person here would fit into this uniform? Each one of your gentlemen’s arms would protrude from these sleeves. You can see that Kukliński was a short small man.
This is his typewriter form the General Staff office, his Sony radio, his coat … All these survived at the General Staff; secured in bags bearing the seals of various military entities. But, they did let us have it.
I would like to tell you a little more about this [death] sentence. Col. Kukliński was accused by [Lech] Wałęsa, [Jerzy] Urban, and [gen. Wojciech] Jaruzelski, of breaking his military oath. It is true. He broke this oath. However, those who accuse him of this, forget what this oath was all about.
I myself gave this oath, and some of your gentlemen here did that as well. This lofty oath was as grand as the very occupier who demanded subservience from all of its subjects. It stated: “I Pledge Allegiance to the heroic Red Army and the Allied Armies of the Warsaw Pact.” This was the oath of loyalty to the occupier! This wasn’t a legal oath from day one. After all, it is difficult to believe that each and every year, thousands of young Poles conscripted into the army, are willingly swearing an allegiance to the “heroic Red Army”. Any attorney will tell you that every oath, even the marital one given under duress, is null and void at the time it is given. So, this oath was given under duress. Furthermore, this oath did not contain even a single phrase referring the “Polish Nation”, but rather to “the working masses of cities and villages”. So, this is the very oath that Kukliński broke.
This is a very important photo of Kukliński. This is how Col. Kukliński was guarded when he came to Poland for the first time in 1998. He came on an invitation from the Polish government and the Solidarity National Committee. This is the entrance to the Colegium Minus at the University of Cracow. Kukliński is walking surrounded by the officers of the Polish Government Security Bureau. Please note how professionally he is protected. Each one of them is looking in a different direction. Also, each one of them towers over [Kukliński]. The man you see on the right is Lt. Janeczek, who will later become President Lech Kaczynski’s head of personal security, and who will die in the Smolensk plane crash on April 10, 20108.
I would like to tell you why Kukliński was under such tight security. It was because [President] Ronald Reagan bestowed him with a rank of Colonel in the United States Armed Forces. It was without precedence, since the time of Tadeusz Kosciuszko9, and Kazimierz Pułaski10. [Kukliński] was also granted US citizenship outside of the regular application process. He became the recipient of this [Distinguished Intelligence] Medal. A medal bestowed on only 8 other individuals in the history of the United States beside himself: “for saving the world from nuclear war.” He was assigned a life-long personal security by Ronald Reagan, which remained in place until his death. While it looked like something you see here, it was also very tiring. Several times per year his telephone and fax numbers would be changed. At times, his addresses were changed as well. The head of the Central Intelligence Agency, William Casey wrote to the President in recommendation for this medal, that:
“In the last forty years, no one has done more damage to communism than that Pole.” Casey wrote to Kuklinski, "Those of us who know you personally regard you as a friend, a man of high character and courage, as a Polish patriot, a hero.” [Richard Davies, the former U.S. Ambassador to Poland called Kukliński] “one of the most important agents in the annals of espionage.”
What is particularly important to us here, is that the CIA chief writes “In the last forty years, no one has done more damage to communism than that Pole.” If today communism is rightly viewed to be a totalitarian and genocidal system, just like the Nazi fascism, and that it was the Polish citizen that damaged it – then I am proud of it!
There is a memorial plaque [on the wall of this building] that tells very succinctly what Kukliński did. President Lech Kaczyński11, then as president of Warsaw, and myself, prepared its wording. It was late in the evening after 9 p.m. We were both tired. Each memorial plaque must contain the maximum information and minimal wording. This is the nature of such a plaque. What you see here, is perhaps it’s fourth, fifth, or even the sixth revision. I don’t remember exactly. [Lech] Kaczyński said that it had to contain the word “hero”. I said - “Listen, perhaps we should not use, or overuse, that word. Let people themselves discern that he was a hero”. I was Kukliński’s friend [after all], but it was the Lech Kaczyński who said - “Write that he was a hero!” And so I did.
The content of this plaque bothers some people, because during its 5-year existence, this museum was visited only by around 25-26-thousand visitors; many people come here during the summer. Now, as it appears that it is their last opportunity to view this exhibit, a few more come. On the other hand, thousands of people see only the plaque that is outside, and unfortunately out of its context.
The mission of Col. Kukliński was the most important intelligence mission of the 20th Century. The Americans state that it was their most important intelligence mission ever. The outcome of this mission prevented the start of the Third World War that would employ the use of nuclear weapons. During the 70s and 80s, it was the only plausible outcome [of such a military confrontation].
Such questions as “Why did the Russians want to overtake the entire Europe”, “Why did they want to reach the Atlantic”, or “Why did they want to conquer the entire World” are rhetorical. It was their nature. One could ask a wolf, even the mildest one, at that: “Why do you have to eat meat, hunt for deer and rabbits, or steal sheep, and other animals?” The simple answer is that it is his nature. The problem is that while the Russians never kept it a secret, various useful idiots, and naive people thought that it was unthinkable.
Let us remind you what the State Emblem of the Soviet Union looks like. The Soviet national emblem was not the hammer and sickle, or the red star alone, but rather, the entire globe under the hammer and sickle. It symbolized their communist aspirations to rule the entire world on a global scale.
What took place on August 15, 1920, at the outskirts of Warsaw, was neither the “Battle of Radzymin", nor the “Battle for Ostrów, near Wołomin”, or the “Battle for Warsaw”, nor was it the “Miracle at the Vistula"12. The goal of the Soviet Army was to conquer Europe. Lenin, then leader of the Soviet Union, and its Bolshevik dictator, explained it precisely in his May 5, 1920 speech: “[March] forward to the West, through the carcass of White Poland to the heart of Europe!” We, this “White Poland”, were only in their way. One has to march through this “carcass of White Poland” to reach the heart of Europe, France, or Germany. Their goals were clear and precise. The official Soviet national anthem in use until the 1990’s, spoke of conquering the entire world. Of course, it didn’t use the exact word “conquer”, but encouraged the “Proletarians of all countries [to] unite!” under Moscow’s banner to do exactly that.
Intelligence activities as such are neither good nor bad by themselves. Just like in the case of the police, military, or judiciary, it all depends on the purpose they serve. When Kukliński decided to carry out his mission, he was motivated by something important. Kukliński’s three basic reasons were:
One - that he was part of a very small elite that knew there were nuclear weapons in Poland. Beginning with [Władysław] Gomulka13 - who said that there never were, and never will be nuclear weapons in Poland - the communists were deceiving the nation for several dozen years. Edward Gierek14 was saying the same thing. And so did Jaruzelski. Notably, the first Soviet brigade armed with nuclear weapons, the so-called SS18 [“Satan”], and after that the improved SS24 [“Scalpel”] shown in this photo, arrived in Poland in 1964. Kukliński not only knew that nuclear weapons were deployed in Poland, and that the communists were lying about it, but he also knew where these weapons were deployed. These weren’t stationary [delivery systems], but rather mobile systems. The Russians were [constantly] moving these brigades from one part of Poland to another. By the end of 1980s, there were five brigades stationed in Poland that were equipped with SS24A. These had a striking range of 1,800 kilometers. That is, their range was over 2,000 km, and the effective range was slightly lesser. So, this was the first reason that forced him to undertake his risky mission.
The second reason was the aggression of the Warsaw Pact against the “Prague Spring”; the Czech [anti-communist] uprising of August 1968. He saw how inexplicably, the Polish army along with the Soviet army is forced to invade its neighbors.
The third reason was the shipyard workers massacre [in 1970]. It was not some sort of pacification operation carried out by the People’s Militia, ZOMO, secret police, or ORMO. Let us call a spade a spade! It was a cold-blooded murder of innocent and defenseless people by the regular line units of the Polish army. An army that opened fire from their tanks with machine guns. In the case of what took place at the plac Orła Białego, in Szczecin, those protesting were fired upon from the assault helicopters flying at low altitude.
Here, at this very desk that Col. Kukliński sat at, reports about what took place began to arrive. These described not only how many people were murdered, but also how many pieces of ammunition were spent; or, how many projectiles were fired from these tanks; live and blanks. No one in Poland, not even Jaruzelski, knew what the accurate number of these victims was. At this moment Kukliński told himself: “this is an inhuman regime.” The communists are forcing soldiers to fire at their own fathers, brothers, and mothers. The soldiers are told that they gave an oath … an oath to murder those who were most dear to them.
At this moment Kukliński told himself that a Polish soldier cannot, and will not, be a mercenary. The Polish soldier is also a citizen, and as such cannot be a mercenary. He decided to cooperate with the American intelligence services, because only America could help Poland. Later on, he will say: “It wasn’t the Americans that recruited me. It was me who recruited America to fight for Poland”. Today, the most important statement made by Col. Kukliński, and one that describes his motivations so succinctly, is also a historical statement. Why? Fortunately, today we are living in a different Poland. It still isn’t the Poland of our dreams. It still isn’t the kind of Poland we would like. But, things have changed, because we can meet today at this get-together you organized for me.
In 1998, Kukliński said about himself:
“The Soviet Army was the most powerful, largest, and most inhuman military machine known to man. I knew the very aspirations of Soviet marshals and generals. I knew some of them personally. The Soviet marshals and generals with whom I dealt were true professionals in the art of war. There were many among them for whom the prospect of invading the West was very enticing. I knew that only the United States could counter these murderous, genocidal plans, as a part of NATO. The efforts made by America helped to avoid the nuclear holocaust that was part of Moscow’s strategic plans. The knowledge of what will happen when the war begins was terrifying. For years I would affix symbols of nuclear mushrooms atop of large operational maps: “blue”, indicated strikes that came from the West, and “red” were ours [reaching their targets]. After all, how could I not think what these mushrooms symbolized? Surely, I could not do it devoid of imagination. I saw this war in its entire cataclysmic precision. I saw Poland under the flood of steel as it flows towards the West, breaks through after the first drop of the Soviet troops, and reaches the Atlantic. My worst fears were confirmed in Moscow. At the same time, Europe shouted, ‘it’s better to be dead than red’. I had to do something. All that I did, I did thinking of Poland. Even if my undertaking itself was a small one, I stood on the right side. Even if it wasn’t much, while taking under consideration the broader context of what was taking place, it was all I had. In essence, it was my entire life.”
This was Kukliński’s missive. Let us see what this reality looked like. What you see before you is a document of profound importance. These are the first 12 hours of the Third World War. This is how the Third World War was to begin. The first most horrific blow was to be dealt against tiny Denmark. Tiny Denmark was to be pulverized with five nuclear weapons. Let us see: one, two, three, four, five. Denmark was to be obliterated from the face of the earth. This was to be the opening salvo of the Third World War. The question is what did Danes do to the Russians? Absolutely nothing! They happened to be in the way of an enormous Russian fleet carrying the largest assault force in the history of mankind, that otherwise, couldn’t leave the Baltic Sea to reach the Atlantic. It was to ferry between 500,000 and 750,000 assault troops. These were not military ships only, mind you. [This flotilla], everything that would float, in the evil Soviet Empire, was to be requisitioned to this end. Among them, were even Polish fishing trawlers. They were to carry the Soviet landing force of around 500,000 to 750,000 men across the Danish straits. [These Danish straits] were protected with mines. So, it was to be obliterated from the face of the earth. This was to be the beginning of the Third World War.
During the first day, the nuclear strikes were to be launched against the largest cities in northern Europe: the Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Hague, Rotterdam, Wilhelmshaven, Lübeck, Bremen, Hamburg, and Cologne. These [mushrooms] denote these nuclear strikes. I will spare you reciting the yield of these weapons, but I want you to be able to picture it. These nuclear weapons were 30 to 45 times more powerful than those that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Imagine dropping 35 such bombs on a single Hiroshima. This was a nuclear holocaust. One has to bear in mind the scale of this attack. The attack on Europe was to be carried out by 7,000,000 troops, among them, 1,300,000 Polish. Where was this army to march from? The initial striking positions of this army were not in Russia at all! Unfortunately, they were on our [Polish] territory. Of course, you can read in various books that the Northern Group of the Soviet Army in Poland had only between 125,000 to 190,000 men. The books also state that these were the only forces that were there. Yet more of them were in Czechoslovakia, and in the German Democratic Republic alone there were some 600,000 of them. However, this was all done very cleverly and deceitfully, with premeditation. Indeed, there were only 150,000 Soviet soldiers stationed in Poland. It was an occupying force, of course.
[I will digress] You may ask: What was the location of the Soviet forces that were closest to Warsaw? The closest they were, is precisely where we are now. Here, in Warsaw, where today [our] “Grom” [special forces] units are stationed. As you are driving towards Rembertów, there is a long wall, and it is there that the Soviet “Specnaz” brigade and its 6,500 crack paratroopers were stationed. Had the Poles rebelled, in that critical moment, they were to secure the Central Committee [of the Polish communist party], the Palace of Culture, Radio, Television, and the Office of the Council of Ministers. They were to hold these objectives for 24 hours until reinforcements from Russia or elsewhere arrived.
However, Poland stored equipment and weapons to arm over 1,000,000 soldiers. Some Russians believe that it was enough to arm around 1,500,000 men. There were entire stores containing shoes, shoe laces, belts, uniforms, hats, winter and summer uniforms, well-maintained AK-47 Kalashnikovs, tanks, artillery pieces, and even helicopters stored in hangars. The Russians did not have to ship any equipment to Poland. This equipment was already here waiting for them. It was enough that some 2,000 miles beyond the Urals, 1,500,000 young men were put on trains, transported here, changed their civilian clothes for uniforms, took up their weapons, mounted tanks, and moved against Europe. It was all in Poland! Kukliński passed all of this information to the Americans. Above all, he showed them what this war would look like. We, the Americans, and in fact the entire world, knew that Russians are readying for war.
An essential question remained however. It was one similar to that which concerned the case of the Arab terrorists that attacked the World Trade buildings on September 11, 2001. President Bush was accused of knowing about this [in advance]. After all, Bin Laden spoke openly that he will destroy the World Trade Center - the symbol of America. And this is true. Bin Laden indeed spoke about this for many years. But, we need to concentrate on three specific questions: when, where, and how will the terrorists strike. It was known that the Russians would attack. But, it was also necessary to know: when, where, and how. It was the Polish officer, who on a silver platter, delivered to the Americans the aggressive and genocidal strategic plans of the Soviet attack on Western Europe.
How were these plans to affect us - the Poles? It has to be said unambiguously that regardless of this war’s outcome, Poland would cease to exist. It would not be the first time in history that arrogance had ruined somebody. The Soviet empire had crumbled as well, and Kukliński played a significant role in it. But, so did others, like President Reagan, John Paul II, and so did we, the Solidarity Movement. While planning this attack however, the Russians believed that they would win. The generals in all militaries plan this way, and then strange things happen. Lo and behold they lose the war. Perhaps America would have won this war. But, we would not win this war! Poland would cease to exist.
In his famous speech over Col. Kukliński’s grave in 2004, Lech Kaczyński said that the most significant contribution of the Colonel was that he defeated the Soviet empire. And that it was a military victory in a league with that of Marshal Piłsudski’s on August 15, 1920. Indeed it was, but with one distinction. It was won without losing a single life. Not a single soldier died. It was such a significant military victory. While we [the Poles] still rightfully have our grievances, it was because of Kukliński, that we exist. And this is Kukliński’s greatest merit. This is why [President Kaczyński] had him laid to rest at the “Aleja Zasłużonych” at Powązki Cemetary. We the Poles, ladies and gentlemen, were to become cannon fodder for the Soviets.
I will tell you about [the Soviet] Marshal Ustinov momentarily. The very Marshal Ustinov whom Kukliński deceived, and played for a fool. According to these original mobilization plans, the Polish army was to contribute 1 to 1.3 million men between 18 and 56 years of age. It was to be a hecatomb, many times greater than the Katyn [Massacre]15. The Poles were to move forward as the first strategic wave in front of the Soviet army. While the Soviets were behind our backs, we were to march into this nuclear desert. Along with 400 thousand men who were in active ranks, an additional 800 thousand men were to be brought in as a part of a general mobilization. Roughly, it constituted of 1.3 million men. We were to march to our deaths. Me, you, you, and you Sir as well, would have to go. Kukliński knew about this.
Who was Kukliński? To the members of the Soviet General Staff, like this Marshal Ustinov, Marshal Kulikov, Marshal Akhromeyev, and general Jaruzelski, himself … [I will digress.] You can see Kukliński sitting next to him. Please note that he is always next to Jaruzelski. He does not leave him even for a moment. They considered him to be the youngest, and most talented Polish staff officer. This is exactly who he was. He was the youngest and most gifted Polish staff officer. He possessed an extraordinary talent of drawing maps. He was a visionary. He could see war differently [than ordinary men could]. When reading, or writing orders he could see it in multiple planes. So, these were his military talents. He was a soldier par excellence.
[The communists] made a fatal mistake. They thought that he was a devout communist who is wholeheartedly loyal to Soviet Russia. In the bottom of his heart however, he hid his true and profound Polish patriotism. Simply put, he deceived them. Let us call it the way it is. He simply deceived them! He deceived the Russians just like Jacek Soplica did. [Soplica] made them think that he was a priest, while working for the French intelligence. This is how intelligence works. Momentarily, I will tell you who the first intelligence agent in history was.
Here, because of his abilities, Kukliński served three central roles. He reached a very high rank. Technically, it was not a very high position, but it was a vital one, because this is how his position ought to be characterized. If the General Staff is head of any army, then the “First Directorate”, is its brain. Specifically, its Strategic Planning section. It was Ryszard Kukliński who led the Strategic Planning Section in Poland. At the same time, having had an absolute trust of the Soviets, he was a liaison officer between general Jaruzelski, and this very Marshal Ustinov. In my opinion, this is the picture that says it all! He always told me with a smirk on his face: “See how I always looked at his hands?” And he [Ustinov] doesn’t see it. This photo was taken at the Ministry of Defense of the Soviet Union, in the office to which only very few generals could ever enter. As you can see, Col. Kukliński feels right at home here. I’ll elaborate on this momentarily.
Kukliński was chief of Directorate I at the General Staff, and the liaison between Jaruzelski and Soviet Marshals; among them Kulikov who was to command this Third World War. At the same time, he was a secretary of the Polish delegation to the Warsaw Pact meetings. Let us be clear! The Warsaw Pact wasn’t the “‘Warsaw’ Pact” at all. It was the “Moscow” Pact. If nothing else, it was located in Moscow. Its leadership consisted of Soviet generals and marshals only. Only here [in Poland] did we think that Jaruzelski was omnipotent. Can you imagine that in the hierarchy of the Warsaw Pact, Jaruzelski was only in the 62nd place? Only here, after returning from Moscow, could he feel like a tough guy who could show these little Poles that he meant business. In fact, he was no more than a little peon in Russia. So, as a liaison officer, and secretary of the Polish delegation to the Warsaw Pact meetings, [Kukliński] had access to all documents. Not even Jaruzelski had such access.
You know yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, how an ordinary business operates; be it an institute, a school, or a government organization. It isn’t the boss who answers the phone personally, but rather, his secretary. It isn’t the boss who exchanges correspondence, sends, receives, or opens letters as they arrive. It isn’t the boss, but rather the secretary that does that. Right? It is the secretary who schedules meetings between important people and invites them. It is the secretary who answers the phone and asks: “How may I help you”? This is precisely who Kukliński was. The Soviets thought of him as one of their own, and he had fooled them. He was a genuine “Konrad Wallenrod” of the 20th Century. They were oblivious to it. If he was flying to Moscow, he was not flying there for fun, but rather he carried with him a slew of top-secret documents.
I am not an expert on this, and you ladies know more about it than me. [Let me explain.] When I met Kukliński in 2003 when he traveled to Poland - and this was his third, or fourth visit here - my family, my wife, my son, and I, took him to the Italian restaurant called “Chianti” on Fox Street, where we enjoyed a great Italian supper. After our son left, the three of us sat at the table and we drank a little. After we got back home, my [wife] Halina says: “If you could only be more like Rysiek” [“Rysiek” is diminutive form of Kukliński’s first name Ryszard]. Then she went on to say this and that, and then some, about him. I asked her jokingly: “What does he have that I don’t have?” I noticed how difficult it was for her to answer me right away. She looked at me, and only like a woman would, she said – “He is so warm.”
Perhaps, the fact that he was so hard working, a genuine patriot, and an extraordinarily brave man, was not the most important thing about him - at least, not as important, as the fact that he was “warm”. I will describe it to you differently. He was indeed a very approachable person! I saw it in America and Poland as well. He interacted easily with people, and it had to help him very much.
Please take a closer look at this photo from 1979. In it you can see, the Chief of Directorate I of the Polish General Staff in Moscow’s office, of this scary Marshal Ustinov: the man who leads a 6,000,000-men military, commands thousands of tanks, and has 5 thousand nuclear missiles at his disposal. He [the Ustinov] is all-powerful. They are discussing the transfer of one of the Soviet tank divisions to Germany via Poland. Some elements of this division are to be deployed in Poland. An important matter, wouldn’t you agree? Suddenly - Kukliński told me - the phone rings, and an embarrassed and little nervous Marshal Dimitriy Ustinov, says [on the phone] – “Yes, he flew in. Yes, he brought it. We’ll be there soon”. What happened? It was Marshal Ustinov’s older daughter on the phone, who wanted to know if this Pole from Warsaw brought some pantyhose for her. They are discussing the Third World War, thousands of tanks, and relocation of some Soviet division. Yet, at this moment, a twenty-some year old girl, calls about this Pole from Warsaw - whom she didn’t even know - if he brought her pantyhose. So, here you have this all-powerful father who is reluctantly complying [with his daughter request] … Ustinov had a wife and three daughters … During the 1970’s in Russia … [Responding to question from the audience:] No, they do not know that, but should ask their mom, or aunt, or grandmother, what a pair of pantyhose, undergarments, or nice cosmetics meant during the 1970’s or 1980’s, in Warsaw. The good ones could be bought only at Pewex [hard currency] stores. It was still far worse in Russia than it was here in Poland. [Paradoxically] this Marshal Ustinov wanted to conquer Europe. At the time he wanted to bring communism to the whole world, there were not enough pantyhose [in Russia] even for his own daughters.
Here you have Kukliński bringing with him top-secret documents, and such maps as this one. The Russian women wanted to look attractive. Just like the women everywhere. To get nice pantyhose was a big deal; even if she was Marshal Ustinov’s wife, or daughter. Because Kukliński would always bring with him womens’ wardrobe, on his trips, these women would invite him for dinner. After all, the “Ustinovs” did not cook dinners, but their wives and daughters did. You see, Kukliński would travel to the Ustinov’s dacha very often, but Jaruzelski never did. Throughout his life he was rigid, just like we see him today. After his spine injury in Siberia [Jaruzelski] always walked wearing his corset, and was cold and unapproachable. Kukliński, on the other hand, was “warm”.
Ladies and gentlemen, Kukliński had paid a horrific price for what he did. Within seven months, both of his sons were murdered. While the loss of child is always agonizing for the parent, he was extraordinarily well aware that they had both died because of him. They did not die of natural causes, or in some sort of car accident. The younger one, Bogdan, died, or rather, disappeared from his yacht, on the coast of Florida. The yacht was found adrift in the morning, and neither Bogdan Kukliński, nor his friend, was ever found. There was neither a storm, nor high waves on that day, and there was food onboard. The version that circulated afterwards was that they were drunk and fell off [and drowned]. Had it been just that, after some time the body will float to the surface. And there were two of them. Nothing came up to the surface. If a body doesn’t surface, than at times, an undershirt, belt, or a shoe, or something else will. There was not a trace [of either of them].
Seven months later, another tragedy took place in Phoenix. It was on the parking lot of the Arizona [State] University where Kukliński’s older son, Waldemar, worked. As he was walking to his car he was struck by a Jeep with large tires. It was the kind of vehicle that is often seen in the United States that also had a custom bumper. After it drove over him, it stopped. Then, in reverse gear, it drove over him the second time. Then, it drove over him the third time, and then it drove off. Simply put, it flattened him into the ground [like a bulldozer]. Those who observed it, and there were 17 witnesses to it - some of them as close as 3 to 5 feet – had said, that it was unmistakably an execution. The witnesses themselves used the very word “execution”! And an execution it was! Whether it was done by the Poles, the Soviet KGB, or paid assassins, it was done very professionally. The police located the vehicle the next day, or perhaps even on the same evening. Not a trace of fingerprint was found: neither on the steering wheel, nor the door handles, nor on the entire vehicle body. Everything was meticulously sanitized. It was all done with particular professionalism. It was the revenge for what Kuklinski did. For he had “done more to damage communism than” any other man in the world.
After it happened, the Holy Father invited Kukliński to the Vatican. While the Pope had already invited him a number of times earlier, this incident accelerated it, as he wanted to give him his spiritual help and moral support. In April 1995, Kukliński flew from Washington to Rome, and I flew from Warsaw. They put us in a car and rushed us immediately to the Vatican. We were immediately taken to the Vatican library. I was sitting on the sofa with Cardinal [Stanisław] Dziwisz16 in the reception room, while the Pope met with the Colonel behind closed doors in his private office. This was the most important office in the entire Vatican - the office in which the Pope worked. The protocol states that when one is going to meet the Holy Father, they should make their visit brief, as not to exhaust him with stories of their entire lives. These face-to-face audiences last between 3 to 4 minutes. Similarly, the general audience also last 3 to 4 minutes, protocol, or no protocol. After some 20 minutes, Dziwisz glanced at his watch. After 30 minutes, an Irish priest ran to us, and began to explain something to him, but [Dziwisz] only spread his hands. After some 50 minutes the door opened, and gently nodded by the Pope Kukliński exited the room. There is a photo taken by the Vatican’s photographer, [Arturo] Mari who took it, that shows Kukliński hiding his tears. The Pope is also profoundly moved. These doors behind Kukliński are those to the Holy Father’s private office. Please note how [emotionally attached to each other] they had become; the Pope is embracing him. What happened [during these 50 minutes]? During their conversation the Pope said: - “Colonel, I would like this conversation to be your confession”. So, it was a 50-minute confession at the Holy Father’s desk with telephones, computer, some sort of papers, and documents on it. The Pope confessed the Colonel from some very important things. I don’t know what they were. What I do know, is that two weeks later, the second in importance, Vatican secretary to the Holy Father, after Dziwisz, a German Jesuit17, was replaced. He was most likely a Stasi agent.18
This is the original poster about the imposition of Martial Law. This is not the same poster that some of you remember. This poster was printed at the KGB printing house, most likely in Moscow - during late spring of 1981, probably sometime in June 1981, that is, six months before the imposition of Martial Law in Poland. Please note that there is no date on it, nor does it state at the very bottom who the Chairman of the Council of State is. The Russians had hastily prepared around 2 million copies of these posters. The CIA gave one of them to Kukliński as a present when he arrived in America. Here you can see the ballistic missiles with effective range of 12,000 to 14,000 thousand kilometers. These 70 meter-long missiles were capable of reaching each and every point on earth. These were the very types of missiles that were to strike the Western Europe and start the Third World War.
Footnotes & Resources:
1 Dr. Józef Antoni Szaniawski, Ph.D., b. August 4, 1944 in Lwów - d. September 4, 2012, Polish political scientist, Doctor of History, Sovietologist, journalist, political activist, and the last political prisoner in the Polish People’s Republic, the PRL.
2 Visit Ryszard Kuklinski museum website.
3 Wojciech Jaruzelski, born 6 July 1923, was the last communist leader of Poland. An ardent and militant communist, between 1981-1985, he was Poland’s Prime Minister, and its head of state from 1985 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the communist Polish People's Army (LWP). In 1981, Jaruzelski led the military junta, responsible for instituting Martial Law delegalizing the Independent Solidarity Trade Union, effectively terminating Poland’s aspirations to become a free and democratic nation. Also, see declassified CIA briefs: “Authority of Premier Jaruzelski as Minister of Defense”, and “Jaruzelski’s Attitude, Behavior and Style” prepared by Col. Kukliński for the CIA.
4 See “‘Russian Image Management’ - Making Unpleasant Historical Truths About Poland Disappear: The KGB’s latest intelligence coup, and NATO’s latest intelligence disaster“ by S. Eugene Poteat, Retired Senior Scientific Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA.
5 Doomed Soldiers (Polish - "Żołnierze Wyklęci"), individuals and organizations such as the Home Army (Polish - Armia Krajowa - AK), National Armed Forces (Polish - Narodowe Siły Zbrojne - NSZ), Freedom And Independence (Polish - Wolność i Niezawisłość - WiN), Association of Armed Struggle (Polish - Związek Walki Zbrojnej - ZWZ), and others, involved in underground operations in Poland against both Nazi and Communist occupiers, and Polish national collaborators.
6 Witold Pilecki, Polish Cavalry Captain, b. 1901 - d. 1948, volunteered to Auschwitz Concentration Camp to report to the Western Allies about the Nazi atrocities. Sentenced to death, Pilecki was murdered by the communist regime. Also see: “Volunteer to Auschwitz”, “The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland”, and “Eavesdropping on Hell”.
7 See “Mokotów Prison: The Place Where Communists Murdered Polish Heroes.”
8 See “Misplaced trust leads to crime without punishment” by S. Eugene Poteat, Retired Senior Scientific Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA.
9 Tadeusz Kościuszko, b. 1746 - d. 1817, was a Revolutionary War hero, and a close friend and admirer of Thomas Jefferson, with whom he shared Enlightenment ideals of human rights. See “The measure of a man in words and deeds”, and “Kosciuszko”.
10 Brigadier General Kazimierz (Casmir) Pułaski, b. 1745 - d. 1779, was a Polish nobleman, soldier and military commander recognized as "The Father of the American Cavalry". In recognition of his distinguished service during the Revolutionary War, the United States Congress passed a joint resolution conferring honorary US citizenship on Pulaski in 2009. The bill was signed and approved by president Barack Obama on November 6, 2009. See: “Casimir Pulaski in Georgia”
11 Lech Aleksander Kaczyński, President of the Republic of Poland, b. 1949 - d. April 10, 2010 near Smolensk Russia in the crash of the Polish Government TU-154M ("M" - Military) aricraft. See ”Countdown to the Crash of Flight PLF101” and “The Last Speech”
12 See "Warsaw 1920, Lenin's Failed Conquest of Europe" by Adam Zamojski
13 Władysław Gomułka, b. 1905 – d. 1982, was a Polish communist leader, and de facto leader of Poland from 1945 to 1948, and again from 1956 to 1970. He was a member of the Communist Party of Poland (Komunistyczna Partia Polski, KPP) starting in 1926.
14 Edward Gierek, b. 1913 – d. 2001, was a Polish communist leader, and First Secretary of the Polish United Workers Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, PZPR). Gierek replaced Gomułka as party first secretary in 1970.
15 The Katyn massacre of 1940 involved murders at the Katyn forest and in other locations throughout the Soviet Union of about 22,000 Polish officers, prisoners of war, and members of the Polish leading elite, combined with mass deportations of the victims’ families and hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens to remote provinces of the Soviet Union. See "Katyn: Justice Delayed or Justice Denied" prepared by Michale P. Scharf & Maria Szonert-Binienda.
16 Rev. Stanisław Dziwisz, born 27 April 1939, is a Polish prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who was a long-time, influential aide to Pope John Paul II, a friend of Pope Benedict XVI, and an ardent supporter of John Paul's eventual beatification.
17 There were over 100 Polish communist intelligence agents spying on the “Vatican” during the pontificate of John Paul II. While most of them were Polish clergy, they were not the only ones that spied on the Holy See. The code-names of some of these agents were “Conrado”, “Potenza”, “Prorok”, “Cappino”, “Dita”, “Russo”, “Albano”, “Antes”, “Pietro” (real name, Edward Kotowski), “Atar”, “Dis”( real name, Maciej Dubiel), “Ingo”, “Irt” (real name, Aleksander Makowski), “Lazio”, “Wran”, “Potenza”, "Lamosa" (Archbishop Janusz Bolonek, then Holy Father's English language translator), or ”Tewere” (handled by Cpt. Janusz Czekaj), “Tibora” - then, officially, the II Secretary of the Polish People’s Republic (abr.PRL) in Rome. Czekaj handled not only Edward Kotowski - “Pietro”, “Dominik”, but also Rev. Konrad Hejmo. Among these, priceless to the communist intelligence assets, was also one particular agent assigned an evidentiary number “9596”. This number denoted Tomasz Turowski - then undercover as a Jesuit priest in Rome. Years later, it will be exactly Turowski, this "former" communist spy who will be put in charge of organizing the visit of President Lech Kaczyński to Russia; a vist that will culminate in the crash of the Polish Government Flight PLF101 near Smolensk, Russia, on April 10, 2010.
Turowski’s assignment to spy in Rome came on orders from the Section XIV, Department 1, of the Polish Communist intelligence services. Individuals recruited and controlled by this Department were delegated to work abroad, and were the elite members of these services. In 1975, Rev. Antoni Mruk - then the Pope’s personal confessor, an influential man in the Vatican - extended an invitation to Turowski to join Rome’s Jesuit Novitiate. As a Russophile (Russian affairs specialist) by education, in a matter of a few years Turowski entered the circles of the Jesuit Order; then an important entity active in shaping the Vatican’s Eastern-European policy. He took part in many important discussions, and visited Medlun, near Paris. He was able to relay - almost in real-time - all ideas and/or suggestions, before these were even brought forth for the consideration of the Holy Father, or the Vatican’s diplomats. But, Turowski didn't’ limit himself to the Jesuit circles alone.
As he was able to easily mingle in the lay environment as well, he also established contact with the publishing house “Editions Spotkania”, founded by Piotr Jegliński. It was during the time when the ideas of employing the émigré publishing houses in the Vatican’s publicity programs in the East emerged. Not surprisingly, having taken under consideration the symbiotic-relationship of the Polish communist intelligence services with the Soviet KGB intelligence efforts at the time, the intelligence that Turowski provided was enormously valuable and damaging. Notably, in addition to the Vatican-based operations themselves, the intelligence services of the Communist Polish People’s Republic handled other large spy networks as well. These were in Vienna, London, Paris, New York, Belgrade, and Geneva. In the case of the Geneva-based intelligence center, for example, these type of activities were managed by the General Gromosław Czempiński, code-name “Tener”, later, “Must”.
18 Stasi, (Ger. Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS), secret police, intelligence and counterintelligence services of the German Democratic Republic or GDR, headquartered in East Berlin.