Thursday, 19 July 2018

Czech archive: Corbyn probably did not know whom he was meeting

ČTK |
16 February 2018

Prague, Feb 15 (CTK) - British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom The Sun daily accused of cooperation with former Czechoslovak communist secret service (StB), probably did not know whom he was meeting at the time, and he does not figure as an StB aide in archive files, Svetlana Ptacnikova said on Thursday.

Ptacnikova heads the Czech Security Forces Archive that keeps documents of the now defunct StB.

The archive documents that mention Corbyn in no way indicate that he was aware of meeting a spy, Ptacnikova said.

True, Corbyn did meet an StB officer who is referred to as Jan Dymic in the documents, but he considered him a diplomat, Ptacnikova said, adding that The Sun's headline branding Corbyn a communist spy definitely does not correspond to reality.

"Mr Corbyn was neither registered [by the StB] as a collaborator, nor does this [his collaboration] stem from archive documents," Ptacnikova said.

On the contrary, the Czech archive keepers, who are studying the relevant files, have found signs showing that the StB tried hard to prevent Corbyn from uncovering the real identity of the Czechoslovak official he was meeting, Ptacnikova said.

The documents mention the spy's task to keep his spending low enough not to raise suspicions.

Jan Dymic was a cover name of the StB officer, his real name was different. This was usual at the time, Ptacnikova said, adding that intelligence officers officially worked at Czechoslovak diplomatic and trade missions abroad.

Dymic was a secretary at the embassy in London and he was probably meeting Corbyn in his capacity as a diplomat. He was expelled from Britain in 1989.

A review of StB officers, available on the website of the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR), presents the name Jan Sarkocy as the real name of Dymic. His post was the third secretary of the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry, in charge of "peace movement." He took up his diplomatic post in London in May 1986 and left it in June 1989, the review shows.

The file on the agent includes details on his trip abroad, the reasons for which he left and on what he should focus, Ptacnikova said.

In Thursday's report headlined Corbyn and the Commie spy, The Sun writes that "Jeremy Corbyn met a Communist spy during the Cold War and 'briefed' evil regime of clampdown by British intelligence."

"Mr Corbyn was vetted by Czech agents in 1986 and met one at least three times — twice in the Commons, it was claimed," the paper added.

The Labour spokesman has confirmed that Corbyn really met a Czechoslovak diplomat in the 1980s, but he had no idea of his being an agent of the Communist secret service.

Sarkocy came into limelight in Slovakia in 1995 when he asserted that he had information about Michal Kovac, the first president of independent Slovakia in 1993-1998, allegedly related to Kovac's London stay in 1967-1969 in his capacity as Czechoslovak Zivnostenska banka bank deputy director.

In December 1995, Slovak sme.sk server cited Sarkocy as dismissing having ever worked for the StB but admitting that he had been expelled from Britain in 1989 within a mutual expulsion of diplomats by West and East blocs' countries.

The StB (State Security) used to be political police in Communist Czechoslovakia. In the 1980s, the StB included the intelligence service, for which several hundreds of spies worked abroad, with cover names and legal posts at diplomatic and trade missions falling under the Foreign Ministry or the Foreign Trade Ministry. The StB ceased to exist in 1990, shortly after the fall of the communist regime.

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