WARSAW, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 11th Nov, 2016 ) : Poland gave a posthumous honour Friday to a former Polish army colonel who for years gave the CIA precious information on the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet military alliance. Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski, who died in Florida in 2004 and is buried in Warsaw, was declared by President Andrzej Duda to be a "knight of our independence," and promoted to the rank of general. Kuklinski, a brilliant officer in the Soviet-era Polish army, decided to change sides after the Communist regime brutally crushed a workers' revolt in 1971 and he learned of Kremlin plans for military aggression.
Between 1972 and 1981, he handed some 35,000 secret documents to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was exfiltrated to the US in 1981 with his family and settled there. A Polish court sentenced him to death in absentia and he was demoted. In 1994 and in 1995, his two sons died in the United States in circumstances that remain unclear -- one by a hit-and-run driver, and the other in an apparent sailing mishap. Duda said Kuklinski was "a great figure of history and a man of (Poland's) independence" and said the officer and his family had paid dearly for his heroism. Promoting him posthumously to the rank of general was an "act of historic justice," he said. The ceremony took place on Poland's annual commemoration of Armistice Day, in which it marks its independence in 1918 after World War I.