The right wing papers think they’ve caught Jeremy Corbyn red handed.
They’ve whipped themselves up into a frenzy over unfounded allegations that the Labour leader gave information to a spy from Stalinist Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. And they hope this will check the rise of the left.
The smears about Corbyn are nothing new. The Daily Mail published the Zinoviev Letter four days before the 1924 general election. It was a forgery that said Russia was planning Communist subversion if Labour was re-elected.
In the 1970s MI5 ran a propaganda campaign, known as Clockwork Orange, to smear Irish Republicans and the Labour Party. It forged Labour leaflets and pamphlets, some calling for revolution.
And in 1980 Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times ran a false story claiming that Labour leader Michael Foot was a Russian spy.
The latest round of allegations began when The Sun “obtained”—and mistranslated—a document written by Jan Sarkocy. In the 1980s Sarkocy was lieutenant Jan Dymic of the State Security, known as the “Eshtebe”, and was posing as a diplomat at the Czechoslovak embassy.
Sarkocy met Corbyn three times in the House of Commons.
The spy master found out that the left wing Labour MP was “negative towards the USA and the current politics of the Conservative government”.
During the Cold War, Russia and the Eastern Bloc contacted supporters of movements against Western imperialism in order to push their own agendas.
As Corbyn was an ardent campaigner for British unilateral nuclear disarmament, Czechoslovak spooks would have been interested in him.
But Svetlana Ptacnikova, who runs the Czech Republic’s security service archives, said, “Mr Corbyn was neither registered as a collaborator, nor does his collaboration stem from archive documents.”
Pressures to deliver meant spies talked up—and made up—their achievements.
The Eshtebe’s primary role was to spy on Czechoslovak citizens. They were less successful at the international spying bit.
Claiming Corbyn as his informant would make Sarkocy look important to his bosses in Prague—and it would make them seem important to their masters in Moscow.
Similarly newspaper editors reassure themselves with fantasies about the “Commie” Corbyn.
The right don’t care if the smears are true. They are throwing dirt because they feel threatened by the prospect of a left wing Labour government and the growth of socialist ideas.
We can make our rulers’ paranoid fears of socialist revolution a reality.