Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of an agrarian social movement critical of the Polish government, and Tomasz Szwejgiert, who co-authored a book about the head of Poland's secret services, were both surveilled with Pegasus spyware, Citizen Lab has revealed.
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Michał Kołodziejczak is the leader of Agrounia, an agrarian social movement bringing together farmers and rural voters dissatisfied with the politics of the current Polish government. He calls himself a "conservative Catholic with a liberal attitude". Krystyna Naszkowska, who wrote a profile article about him for Wyborcza, described the young man as "a natural-born public speaker, who perfected the use of demagoguery and populist rhetoric".

According to an Associated Press report, Mr. Kołodziejczak's phone was surveillance several times in May 2019, only a few months before parliamentary elections and two months after high-profile protests in Warsaw. At the time, farmers blocked Zawisza Square by burning hay and scattering apples and pigs' heads all over the street.

Tomasz Szwejgiert, the other victim targeted with Pegasus spyware, has co-authored a book about the head of Poland’s secret services Mariusz Kamiński. According to AP, his phone was broken into 21 times between March and June 2019, shortly after questions about the book were sent to the Polish government.

Kołodziejczak: Nobody’s safe

In an interview with TVN24, Mr. Kołodziejczak said that the University of Toronto-based internet watchdog Citizen Lab has confirmed that he was under surveillance. - I have the full report. This is shocking information. I was under surveillance for at least several days. No one can feel safe in Poland anymore; we are entering a whole new sphere of tracking someone's private life.

During a Wednesday press conference in front of the Law and Justice party headquarters, Mr. Kołodziejczak said that "Jarosław Kaczyński was spying on him". - He was with me in church, in the confessional, he was with me in bed, at the bank during an interview. I checked exactly what I was doing at the time, where I was. It is an embarrassment to these people that they even do such things- he stated.

Mr. Kołodziejczak pointed out that he has a detailed report of when his phone was hacked. - It's not like some people say that it's just tapping into a phone and listening in on conversations. This allows to control all your passwords, download data, it allows to take over the entire cloud. Today, I cannot even be sure whether someone has access to my bank account- he said.

He called for a parliamentary committee to investigate the issue. - Agrounia is the only force today that can take away their core electorate. Donald Tusk cannot do it, Hołownia cannot do it, other parties cannot do it. And Jarosław Kaczyński is perfectly aware of that - he argued. He pointed out that he knows about at least six cyberattacks that occurred between May 16 and 23, 2019. At that time, Kaczyński has publically declared a "political war", and members of Agrounia were talking about registering a political party.

In his view, democracy in Poland is in grave danger. - After all, Jarosław Kaczyński uses dirty methods, he plays unfair. How can we succeed when he knows about our next moves - he said. Kołodziejczak promised that he would not let this matter go and that never faced any charges. - I was not summoned, there was no investigation. This is a fight against our social movement- he stated.

Kołodziejczak pointed out that during the period when he was under surveillance, someone removed the lock from his car, and the "car horn cable" was also cut off. He assured that the incident was reported to the police, but the matter was not clarified. The leader of Agrounia also said that another situation took place. - Driving around Warsaw, alone for several days, without getting out of the back door even once, I come back to the car, and the back door is ajar- he said.

Spying on former allies

The Polish spyware scandal broke out in December 2021. The Associated Press revealed that the Pegasus surveillance system had been used dozens of times in 2019 to surveil the oppositional senator Krzysztof Brejza (at a time when he was running the Civic Coalition's election campaign), and later to track the high-profile lawyer Roman Giertych and prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek.

Last week, "Wyborcza" revealed that the spyware was used for the first time by the Central Anticorruption Bureau against former spokesman and head of the Defense Minister’s office Bartłomiej Misiewicz, and former PiS deputy Mariusz Antoni K. Both men are accused of corruption and acting to the detriment of the Polish Armed Forces Group. Adam Hofman, a former MP and spokesman for the ruling Law and Justice party, former Minister of State Treasury Dawid Jackiewicz, as well as the wife of the infamous "agent Tomek"- Katarzyna Kaczmarek, were also under state surveillance.

The Polish Senate (where the opposition has a slim majority), has recently created a special investigative committee tasked with clarifying the matter. PiS refused to delegate its representatives to it.

Last week, the committee heard senator Krzysztof Brejza. Marian Banaś, the head of the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) also testified before the committee and revealed that he himself was also a victim of state surveillance. This week, the committee wants to invite attorney Roman Giertych and prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek.

- Citizen Lab's further findings only justify the creation of a special investigative committee in the Senate. However, there should also be an investigative committee in the Sejm because it has greater powers- Marcin Bosacki (Civic Coalition), the head of the Senate special committee, told "Wyborcza".

Thanks to an uncanny alliance with the rock musician-turned-politician Paweł Kukiz, the Polish opposition is moving closer to mustering a necessary majority to create a special committee in the Sejm that would investigate the ruling camp’s involvement in the Pegasus surveillance scandal.

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