Onet’s investigation. Troll farm at the Ministry of Justice, namely “we don’t imprison anyone for doing good.”
Magdalena Gałczyńska, Onet portal
19 August 2019
Deputy Minister of Justice and Zbigniew Ziobro’s right hand man is behind an organized smear campaign against judges who object to the changes in the justice system being implemented by the Law and Justice party. Onet established that the deputy minister of justice, Łukasz Piebiak arranged and controlled the campaign, the objective of which was to discredit the head of the largest association of judges, “Iustitia”.
- By publishing sensitive information on private lives, several officials of the Ministry of Justice could already have harmed at least 20 judges
- What information was this? It includes the private address of the head of one of the associations of judges
- Deputy minister Piebiak – who is himself a judge – personally approved some activities, giving the green light for the media publications. The unidentified “Boss” was supposedly informed about the effects
- A woman named Emilia, not employed by the Ministry of Justice, liaised between the ministry and pro-L&J media. We know her name and are keeping it for the attention of the editorial office. She also posted compromising materials in the Internet
- “I know this woman from Twitter. I do not know what she sent and where. I will not comment on contacts with her,” deputy minister Łukasz Piebiak tells Onet
The action of discrediting the well-known Law and Justice policy critic, prof. Krystian Markiewicz, the head of the Association of Polish Judges “Iustitia”, was based on an anonymous history containing rumours, hearsay and conjectures about his private life, including intimate contacts with women and the ways in which he built his position in the judicial environment. A woman called Emilia provided the document to the deputy minister of justice in June 2018, although, according to the correspondence we have disclosed below, the deputy minister had already seen this note.
It was Emilia who, in cooperation with Deputy Minister Piebiak, personally discredited Judge Markiewicz: she anonymously sent compromising materials to such recipients as the media.
Privately, Emilia is related to one of the employees of the National Council of the Judiciary, a judge who previously worked at the Ministry of Justice. She also proved to be an Internet hater who attacked judges very fiercely under a pseudonym. This is one of her Twitter entries regarding judge Waldemar Żurek, known for criticizing Law and Justice activities: “F…k off !!! You are bringing shame on honest judges and dishonour to Poland.” She also wrote about him “out of Poland, you shithead”.
Our sources confirm that Emilia gave them access to her Twitter account so they could copy the history of her entries, including those that were deleted. In a conversation with Onet, the woman admitted that “she is very ashamed of what she did and that she could have harmed at least 20 judges with her actions”.
We have evidence that Emilia was in direct contact with Minister Piebiak, with whom she agreed via WhatsApp and Messenger on ways of compromising judges in the social media and in the pro-government media.
To discredit Krystian Markiewicz, Emilia decided to send anonymous slanderous information from a four-page anonymous message to all branches of the “Iustitia” Association and by post to his home address.
Onet has evidence that Łukasz Piebiak fully approved this plan before its implementation.
“We don’t imprison anyone for doing good”
Below is a fragment of a conversation on a messenger between Deputy Minister of Justice (Mr. Piebiak) and Emilia. We have kept the original spelling in all quoted passages.
Emilia: Good morning, Minister. Is the information useful? And what are we doing with them?
Piebiak: I already received it once but I had no idea how to use it so I didn’t use it. If you have it that would be great.
Emilia: I have such an idea. Send it anonymously to all branches of Iustitia. And to the interested party himself. Newspapers are out of the question because there is no evidence. I have a number for the mistress’ husband. It’s possible to use Internet gateways or a SIM card, but I have no one to register it for. I can talk to R. [here she mentions the name of a well-known TVP journalist]. He may look around for something more but there is no source or evidence, this is a bit bad news. What do you think? And will it generally help us? Will it help ?
Piebiak: I think he will give it and help. It is important to disseminate it among the Iustitia members with whom we are dealing. People will spread it, and Markiewicz will quieten down knowing what we have on him. Maybe Kuba [according to other messages we have seen, it is about Jakub Iwaniec, a close associate of deputy minister Piebiak] could have an idea about how to spread it without leaving a trace?
Piebiak: A journalist and material would be great but I don’t know if he will find such a brave one.
Emilia: I suppose Kuba is afraid. I think they are old friends. Ok. I’ll do what I can.
Piebiak: Thank you
Emilia: I will talk to journalists and send letters. Anonymously, by e-mail. But also by post. The only problem is that I don’t have the addresses and e-mails. I will do everything I can, as always. I will not vouch for the result but I’ll try. I hope they don’t lock me up.
Piebiak: We don’t imprison anyone for doing good.
A total of about 2,500 anonymous e-mails and letters with gossip about the head of “Iustitia” were sent. One of them was sent by post to the home address of the slandered Krystian Markiewicz himself. Emilia received this address from Deputy Minister Piebiak, who also provided the contact details of judges from the Warsaw branch of “Iustitia” to the woman without hesitation.
On 23 June 2018 at 21.16, Minister Piebiak writes back to Emilia, sending her Judge Markiewicz’s address:
Emilia: Is this his home or registered address?
Piebiak: Both, I think.
Emilia: Ok, thank you.
“When I got this anonymous letter, I initially felt simply surprised,” Judge Markiewicz told us yesterday. “This is not only a breach of my right to privacy, but also my personal rights. But the surprise was ordinary, human and naive, about how far government officials who set a target could go. Then came disgust; I treated this correspondence as an abomination that would not stick to shoes, at least not mine. I can manage it, but the problem is with my family. Until now, it seemed to me that we were bound by the law and regulations,” adds the President of “Iustitia”.
“As a professor and practicing judge, this is how I was taught. Unfortunately, it transpired that serious, so it seemed, people are starting to behave irresponsibly. This power, which was given to irresponsible people is the most terrifying for me. Every day we decide about human lives, and now such decisions have been entrusted to judges who write anonymous letters about their colleagues at work. They could strike are me, well, this is their choice. The question is why did they involve private individuals in it, and why my family?” asks the judge.
Big argument about abortion.
On 25 June 2018, Emilia reported to Piebiak about the success of sending out materials compromising judge Markiewicz. We again retain the original spelling:
Emilia: I have just finished sending the e-mails. Some e-mail addresses are out of date because they are rejected or are changed. Tomorrow I shall count how many I sent but it was a lot, about 200 I think. I will try to send the letters to the courts tomorrow if I manage because I’m falling over. Good night. PS. I want a pay increase [illegible emoticons here]
Piebiak: Thank you very much. Now you need to rest to keep fighting for the good change. We shall think about the increase [illegible emoticon]
In the content of the materials sent by Emilia, there was also a suggestion that Markiewicz was supposed to have urges an undefined woman to have an abortion. E-mails were sent from a fake account, while they contain the following sentence: “The whole truth about judge K. Markiewicz. Who is he and what has he done? Will his learned appearance to the public replace moral principles, ethics and faith in the life of his unborn child …”
It was this passus about the alleged abortion that raised the doubts of Deputy Minister Piebiak, who on 26 June 2018 at 07.18 in the morning wrote to the woman corresponding with him: “Emilia, maybe we should use this abortion as a final solution?”
The problem is that as the deputy minister began to hesitate, Emilia had already sent several thousand emails.
This sensitive topic caused a serious argument between Emilia and the said Jakub Iwaniec, a close associate of Piebiak. Iwaniec was opposed to using the information about the alleged abortion in the campaign compromising the head of “Iustitia” because he considered this to be unsupported rumour.
The woman reported these complaints from Judge Iwaniec to Deputy Minister Piebiak and temporarily withdrew from the cooperation:
Emilia: Good morning, Mr Minister. I know you are in Brussels today and I do not want to bother you. I would only like to inform you that I am currently resigning from working with you. I’m very sorry. I am sending you the reason for my decision and I am asking you for your discretion. I trust that mutual respect and actions for Poland and simultaneously what I received yesterday will be understood. I would very much like to ask you for your discretion.
Here, the woman sends to Deputy Minister Piebiak a record of the messages she received from Jakub Iwaniec.
Emilia: These are the messages I received from Kuba last night. I hope that they will remain between us. I apologize for withdrawing from our work. This is my decision for now. Kuba wrote that this would lead to your dismissal, that this person has something on you. I don’t want to hurt anyone and I don’t want Kuba to blackmail me, threaten me or rule me. I have never done anything against you or the MoJ [Minister of Justice].
Piebiak: It seems to me that Kuba is simply afraid that this information will become too major a battle that will sweep us away. Neither he nor I are accusing you of anything. On the contrary, we can only thank you.
“Filthy GW (abbreviation of the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper) Interview”
After temporary misunderstandings, the online hater quickly returned to full cooperation with the deputy minister. She informed deputy minister Piebiak that she would try to interest the media again in materials regarding judge Markiewicz.
Emilia: Journalist to MK [Markiewicz Krystian] will rummage around. Still current?
Min. Piebiak: Of course. GW’s vile interview with him let go. We have to pay back.
That day, on 4 July 2018, an interview with Prof. Markiewicz appeared in Gazeta Wyborcza, in which he spoke harshly about the lack of rule of law in Poland and accused the ruling camp of breaching the separation of powers. He also talked about, such matters as the “pseudo-affairs, which are being prepared by the opponents of the independence of the courts.”
“Maybe a minor scandal will break out”
Emilia’s cooperation with Deputy Minister Piebiak was not limited to the case of Judge Markiewicz. Together, they also prepared a media attack on TVP on judge Piotr Gąciarek from the Warsaw branch of “Iustitia”.
Łukasz Piebiak already knew that the Internet hater was doing everything to interest the right-wing media in the judge’s private life – his problems with his partner, whom he met on the Internet. At the beginning of April 2018, the woman informed him that “journalist Wenerski [Przemysław Wenerski is the head of the editorial staff of the programme “Alarm!” in TVP1] received your contact details from judge Gąciarek.”
“Maybe a minor scandal will break out in Alarm. I hope I haven’t failed,” she wrote.
The deputy head of the justice ministry wrote back to her that “he can only be grateful for such beautiful and flourishing activities.”
The programme about Judge Gąciarek and about Pola F., whom he met on the Internet, was broadcast in “Alarm” on 25 May 2018. The judge met her on the network five years earlier, they had never met in person. He sent her expensive presents and claims that he also loaned her money. When the woman ended her acquaintanceship, the judge wanted the return of the loan, which did not take place. Gąciarek then notified the prosecutor’s office and the case ultimately ended in court, which sentenced the woman for fraud. Meanwhile, TVP described her as Judge Gąciarek’s victim, who was supposed to use his professional position and acquaintances to convict Pola F.
Immediately after the program was broadcast on TVP, Emilia asked Deputy Minister Piebiak about his impressions. He wrote to her that it was “great”.
“I have just sent it to the boss to make him happy” – he said.
“I heard there was a leak”
We asked Deputy Minister Piebiak about his cooperation with Emilia. “I heard that there was a leak in some correspondence, but I don’t know what’s in it, so I will not comment on this.” he said.
“Do you know Emilia?”
“Yes, from Twitter.”
“Did you correspond personally?”
“I will not speak about this.”
“Did she consulted you on the operation of sending anonymous letters slandering Judge Markiewicz?”
“I don’t remember our contacts in the Markiewicz case. That’s all I have to say on this matter. I’m on vacation,” added the deputy minister.
The next day after this publication, deputy minister Piebiak resigned.
Below the link to the original publication in Polish, including some screen-shots of the communications between deputy minister Piebiak and Emilia.