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Poland - Agencja Wywiadu (AW)

In Poland, the equivalent of the British Secret Intelligence Service, is their own Foreign Intelligence Service Agencja Wywiadu, abbreviated to AW(pronounced A-jens-ya Vivi-ardu) .

Polands' history is very much centred on their borders, and the constant battle the country has had with maintaining them against foreign forces for many many years.  Strategically placed between Germany and Russia, an ocean to the North and entry into Europe further South, the land has proved the scene of some immense struggles.  The most famous and recent of course was the invasion of the German army which led to the beginning of the Second World War.  At the time, with such a large Jewish population, Poland undeniably witnessed the true horror and atrocities we now know so well.  The sheer volume of information to do such a subject justice cannot and should not be dealt with in one page on our site, so instead please feel free to follow some of the links to resources that can provide important material on this subject.  Here we will focus primarily on the post war development of the foreign intelligence network.

It is only in the last 25 years that Poland has really begun to flourish after its subjection to communist rule following the Second World War.  Even now the country, its people and its culture, to some extent still struggles to shake off the vale of the Iron Curtain, as the current generation still bears the scars of the cold war.  For such a beautiful country and resilient people, the future relies completely on true independence and nowhere more so than in the development of its foreign policy and foreign defence initiatives.  

A “shock therapy” program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, but Poland still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. Solidarity suffered a major defeat in the 2001 parliamentary elections when it failed to elect a single deputy to the lower house of Parliament, and the new leaders of the Solidarity Trade Union subsequently pledged to reduce the Trade Union’s political role. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organisations.

In recent years the UK has been able to build on a growing relationship with the Polish government as Poland cements its place within the European economic playing field.  Historically the bond between the two nations was strong in the Second Word War, with many of the Poles fighting alongside allied forces in many famous and important battles such as the 'Battle of Britain' where the second largest fighting contingent consisted of Polish pilots, and landmark battles such as the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy which saw the Polish 2nd Corp under General Anders, finally reign victorious alongside international allied forces.  The relationship during the war was a close one, and one which started earlier and was far more problematic that the UK and US relationship later on.  Whilst clearly denial concerning the atrocities was very much a Western theme at the outset, it became apparent during 1941 and specifically 1942 how bad the Polish people had suffered.  The mass movement of civilian and armed forces into Prisoner of War (PW) camps by the USSR to Siberia and the surrounding areas was the scene of some inhumane struggles by the Polish people.  Not for the first time in history, the Poles were having their borders and people torn between nations.  Examples of UK intervention were common from 1941 (although to many, still too little too late), and movements of Polish forces from the PW camps to serve under British command started in earnest.  Polish soldiers consisting of battalions of engineers, communications experts and ground forces were moved under British command and Polish command operating in London throughout the Middle East, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine and eventually Italy forming the larger Polish 2nd Corp.  This marked an international effort in numerous areas of Italy but most prominently Monte Cassino, with troops from across the globe.

 

Developing this relationship is certainly paramount for both nations if, Poland in particular, is to grow successfully.  Clearly however the country will struggle to forget the effects foreign forces have had on their lands as many have seen Poland as a strategic base geographically.  Black sites operated by the CIA in particular, as well as other nations, are a reflection of that.  One can hardly blame the Poles for cynicism and a degree of pensiveness when it comes to developing relationships further.  That's why it has been, and is important for the UK to continue to work closely with Poland across all areas of development, politically, economically, militarily and of course strategically when it comes to an inevitable renewed escalation in cold war methods.  Interestingly, the threat of terrorism (according to the terrorism index) is extremely low in Poland.  Poland is one of the few countries in Europe with very few religious groups and once boasted, until recently, a 99% population of Roman Catholics.  This has had an influence, and certainly groups of other denominations and different races, are few and far between. Meaning of course, they are easily controlled should they in fact present a problem.  A problem quite the reverse of course in the UK.

History of Agenjca Wywiadu

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A Culture of Secret Intelligence or Secret Intellect?

Differences in cultures, coupled with a somewhat myopic view of the importance of ones own, is a problem.  Foreign Intelligence is just that.  It is people and organisations in the business of gaining intelligence about foreign nations and foreign people and not just about those that pose a threat to their nation.  Intelligence about what a foreign organisation might do to another, even if it's not going to affect you (although it invariable does) is also useful.  Just knowing whats happening when, and to who and why, is all advantageous information.

The problem with culture however, is that it is often used as the reason to justify and sometimes dismiss, the behaviour of nations and specifically intelligence agencies in the way they operate.  Sometimes removing the shades and really seeing and accepting what's going on is the difficult but overall, the right thing to do in order to improve as an organisation.  Why is it that MI6 has such a solid and undeniably accomplished reputation for carrying out its intelligence affairs?  By comparison, and by the same token, is MOSSAD for example equally revered but for entirely different reasons?  Culture, and the history behind it makes the people, and that makes the nation it is.  

Although this next statement might be a somewhat dangerous and possibly irreverent analogy, what if we view secret intelligence as a business, or part of providing a service?  When exploring a subject such as Exponential Technology and its application to Intelligence Agencies in the modern world, it is useful and indeed necessary to compare it to any other commercial organisation ie, one with budgets and targets and goals and highly competitive (albeit one which can cost lives rather than currency).  If it is providing a service then how does the service MI6 provides compare to the French DPSD or the Polish AW?  If one goes to a coffee shop in Paris and places an order, one is almost accepting of the fact that a happy, friendly service is not likely to follow.  We are accustomed to a rude service and indeed, now we expect it.  Take Poland for example, even the most ardent supporter or patriot will humorously raise a wry grin at the idea of good service in Poland.  It is engrained, and Poland without queues, poor service, a slightly aggressive undertone and the odd curse, is not a Poland I nor anyone else knows.  Visit any Polish government agency and you will know what this means.  On the other hand, go to a road side coffee shop of Route 66 in the US and it won't be long before a gleaming smile of a Doris Day lookalike is followed with "have a nice day" and "hey, missing you already".  The point is, cultures are different and one isn't necessarily better than the other or right or wrong.  Correction!!!! That's not true, sometimes one is better than the other which is why some agencies are left a little.......wanting.  We go back to the "taking the shades off" example above.  Poland has a difference culture, and sub cultures with those, which compared to the UK do not always lend itself well to intelligence gathering in todays "markets".  Poland and the Polish people have without doubt the intellect.  It is no surprise to learn that their standard of education across all age groups within the system are well ahead of those in the UK.  Dispel stereotypical notions that all Polish immigrants are builders and plasterers and look at some of the great historical figures through Polish history, such as Copernicus, Marie Curie or Chopin.  An average student at a school in Krakow could probably pass the most demanding of UK University courses.  There is a sense of discipline and respect for the intelligentsia that flows moderately through Polish culture and the chess and coffee rooms of Eastern Europe even today.  On the flip side, as above, there is still the military inspired, more rural type that also has an important impact. Again, the point is not to judge, but to look at the facts and learn and, more importantly, use these facts to make improvements.

Examine the two leaders of their own respective Intelligence Organisations.  Mr Alex Younger, educated at St Andrews, ex-military and arguably part of the old-school establishment.  The current head of the Polish Foreign Intelligence Agency is Piotr Krawczyk .  On December 28, 2016, he was appointed the head of the Foreign Intelligence Agency.  

Certainly since Mr Krawczyk has been at the helm, we have seen a noticeable shift towards a more polished, sophisticated and PR/Media friendly organisation.  Clearly somewhere along the line the organisation has recognised the need to update itself and stay in touch with the modern more inclusive method of selling the intelligence agencies.  After all, the plight of all intelligence agencies has always been that the public only hear of the great failures, but never hear about the near misses or successes.  Having a more positive PR stance with the general public, changes perceptions and more importantly than that often changes budgets.  The negative public press, especially in the UK, had its effect on the intelligence agency purse strings to such an extent that something had to change. You can almost hear the ministers now talking to their chums at the club saying, 'come old chap we'd love to fund your boys but we need something back, we are politicians after all'.  The recent moves and shakeup in the MI6 culture is probably a result of that type of approach and the simple truth that to win the hearts and minds and prepare for what lies ahead, we need more funding into the service and indeed, many would argue, the military forces in general.  The fact that the opposite is happening and guns are being replaced with nano-technology, biometrics, AI and encryption are symptomatic of where the war is now taking place. Invariably behind a computer terminal.  This is where Poland in particular is realigning itself as indeed many are.  Although we talk about the 'exponential curve' and how critical it is we stay ahead of it, the mechanisms which have been put in place to actually do that, have in large part been made well before now.  We are now at the next line in the sand, and as the wind blows away any semblance of lines once drawn, we now have to ensure we stay ahead of it.  That is the challenge all intelligence agencies should be and are setting themselves.  It looks by all accounts that the Polish AW has one foot tentatively ahead of that line.  Keeping it there?  Well that's a different story.

Recruitment

Will the Polish intelligence service draw a leaf from the MI6 book and still look for broadening its horizons when it comes to recruitment, in particular diversity within the candidates? The MI6 advertising campaign in the United Kingdom under the title "#secretlywerejustlikeyou" focuses on this approach and supports Younger's recent public statements that in order to compete in the future and effectively secure the UK's security against both foreign and domestic threats, MI6 must grow exponentially in line with advances in technology.  

The 2019 Belvedere Forum

The Polish-British Belvedere Forum brings together representatives from a wide range of backgrounds, including academia, business, media, think tanks, NGO’s, culture, and the diaspora.  The Forum aims to deepen the dialogue between British and Polish civil society by bringing together a diverse group of non-governmental actors from both countries to strengthen the extensive partnership between our countries. While the initiative is focused on links through civil society, it enjoys the full backing of both governments and follows an agreement by Prime Ministers in November 2016 to complement annual, Polish-British intergovernmental consultations.

 

Following the success of the inaugural forum in Warsaw in 2017, the second edition took place in London in February 2018, and brought together over 200 people from both countries to discuss one main theme: “the UK and Poland in a changing Europe: coming together or moving apart?”

 

On 18 September, the Steering Committee of the Forum, led by Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC and Professor Zdzisław Krasnodębski MEP and Vice President of the European Parliament, met to discuss details of the third edition. It was agreed that the third Forum will take place on 6-7 March at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

 

During a reception to mark the announcement of the third Forum, Sir Malcolm highlighted the importance of the Forum to Polish-British relations:  Governments are here to serve people, and civic dialogue is what democracy is all about. That is why the Belvedere Forum was founded - as a platform for dialogue between civil societies.

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The Remora Principle
The CEO at Patrium Intelligence (one of our appointed Private Intelligence Agencies) recently coined the term "The Remora Principle" and how it describes a method of operating within Secret Intelligence globally.  The phrase to 'operate within the shadows' is often used, however the Remora Principle outlines in specific detail how effective intelligence gathering is achieved by not only staying within the shadows of a larger, more distracting element, but to move with it.  It provides key steps Intelligence Agents should take to ensure effective information gathering and reporting to officers, and focuses more on modern technological advancement.  By following the steps outlined within the Remora Principle, one is able to then tailor specific actions that are applicable to individual operations.
Q: Can we induce an event which leads to a material and significant change in a person’s ability or behaviour which would be useful to an organisation such as MI6?

Straps yourselves in for a little bit of a wild ride, so if extreme sports of the academic or indeed philosophical kind are not your thing, then please unbuckle now and leave the park. The four terms used in the title would appear at first glance to be connected, but for the purposes of this article, are not.  There is a distinct, and key difference in that they refer to a journey of sorts.  The journey of the mind and neural functionality that eventually leads to a change which has been caused by an ‘event’. Each term describes a condition.  A condition of the brain at a point in the journey. 

Where did my Taxi Driver and my money go?”

 

Whenever there is a radical and rapid development in Technology, the voices of those who fear the human effects of such developments sing loud.  Of course, debate is ultimately a healthy proposition when conducted in the correct manner i.e a respectful exchange of ideas, evidence and facts to determine the truth or at least the likelihood of why ‘something’ happens.  The problem is that as we venture further up the emotional curve and hit the raw nerve of public consciousness, a healthy debate, absent of extreme views, is less and less likely.   This is quite possibly the stage we are at now when it comes to the vast changes of technological development at exponential rates of growth.  If one then throws into the mix a subject such as Artificial Intelligence, which has been the subject of many a doomsday prophecy, especially in the fictional world, then the prediction of likely effects  becomes distorted.  There are a vast number of capillaceous issues branching out from each topic within AI and on a scale which precludes us from analysis in this article due to time.  However, there are rarely more topics as emotive as a person's job and their ability to generate income in order to survive...so will driverless cars render the taxi driver extinct and will money even be necessary in any form? Read More. 13.08.19

Dark Web

An Opportunity or Threat?

Perceived wisdom suggests the Dark Web is synonymous with illegal activities involving weapons, drugs and pedophiia.  The assumption has been that if you use it, then you have something sinister to hide.  To be fair, closure of drug giants like "Silk Road" did nothing to change those perceptions.  However, in the big brother world of surveillance, the search for privacy is demanded by the majority and will be found in some way or another.  Furthermore, in a society where people are being increasingly attracted to the fringes of life,  the shift to increasing usage of the Dark Web is a given.  That does not mean it is wrong however, and as we often witness, it is people from the 'fringes' who sometimes operate outside of social norms, who provide the greatest sources of innovation.  We firmly believe the dark web will undergo an upgrade of sorts and although usual, non-secured browser based sites will attract some attention, their days are numbered.  The really exciting proposition is to predict Dark Web 2.0, 3.0 and so on. Rather ironically, but understandably, it is the law enforcement and intelligence agencies who are spending more and more resources on hiding within the shadows of the Dark Web.  It has been the most effective way so far.  However, as it grows, it will it continue to be the safe haven of the criminal or will some form of regulation (such as was with the legalisation of drugs etc), prevent the extreme offenders?  Take the example of Silk Road. It is not only possible, it is probable.  Whether you are in favour of legalisation generally or not,  in many cases it is a safer option.  Many of the sites that offered Marijuana were ran as slick commercial organisations where consumer satisfaction was paramount.  The product was therefore of superior quality (apparently) and it was offered within the relative safety of the internet and not some dark street corner.  Maybe that one is for the liberals out there.  For our purposes however, it shows that the deep dark web does actually have a USP which can be monetized, namely privacy.  Looking further head therefore, the real drug that will sell well in our 'Orwellian' future, is anonymity.  That will undoubtedly be the most precious of commodities.

 

As it stands now however, people and the societies they live in tend to display tendencies to self-regulate and yes, whilst there is always potential for abuse, the masses will (or should) drive the market to some degree of parity.  There are certainly huge opportunities around the corner.  A secured 'blockchain'esque' physical depository for parcel delivery is bound to happen on a large scale and accompany the growth of the Dark Web.  That is because the only chink in its armour at the moment is complete anonymity with delivery of items. Imagine a secure facility where parcels (aka Data) entering from one side, is subjected to 'scrambling' (aka 'Encryption') and leave the other side to be collected by a seemingly unconnected party (aka 'You').  Now multiply that across every City in the UK.  You then have what one can REALLY call an encrypted, secure, supply chain that would be undetectable to all agencies and, most importantly, legal  Read More.

Innovation, technology and the military are inextricably linked, and throughout history whenever there is a technological breakthrough, one of the first beneficiaries is invariably the military.  Whether it is recent developments such as GPS, or much later, Galileo selling telescopes to Italian monasteries to see enemy ships approaching, the human desire to conquer or defend is paramount. With the 'genie' firmly out of the bottle, Artifical Intelligence will become a 'game changer' in the Military world as for many, the upsides are simply too strong to worry about potentially disastrous consequences.  Here we take a look at the detail and the precise areas of growth just around the corner.Read More

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