There must be an election approaching, because another claim has been made that a Labour MP was a Rotten Commie Spy. This time, it’s the Mail on Sunday splashing the screaming headline “EXCLUSIVE: Party grandee issues furious denial as Communist files claim he betrayed Britain’s secrets … LABOUR MP ‘WAS SPY FOR CZECHS’”.
We’ve been here before: last year, it was the infamous Jan Sarkocy, who also claimed that Czech intelligence funded Live Aid (or perhaps it was the Free Nelson Mandela concert), who made a number of highly creative claims about Jeremy Cotbyn, then widened his wacko offering to include Ken Livingstone and John McDonnell. He was talking crap.
Hot on the heels of that pile of steaming bullpucky came the Murdoch Sun, taking the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble on trust, claiming that there was a file on Jezza in the archives of the East German Stasi. That one was debunked by the Guardian, whose reporter went to the archive trustees, who confirmed there was no such file.
So when the MoS decided to once again take a single source from the former Czech intelligence agencies on trust, they knew this was the kind of campaign likely to develop not necessarily to their advantage. Worse, the howlers jump off the page at the reader, as one claim on nuclear missiles did to former BBC man Meirion Jones.
Long-serving Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson is the MoS’ target, and the paper tells “At a meeting in June 1967, Robinson is said to have given [handler] Pravec information on US-UK discussions over the replacement of Polaris. Robinson is said to have told how US Vice-President Hubert Humphrey was placing 'pressure on the UK to purchase the Poseidon rockets', America's upgraded nuclear missile. Apparently the information came 'straight from [Denis] Healey’”. Jones saw that one coming.
“I checked 1st claim by Mail that GR gave away nuclear Poseidon secret in June '67 & everyone had known for 2 years Wilson had ruled Poseidon out & he confirmed it in Commons June 13 '67 - not exactly a secret”. In other words, had Robinson really had access to Healey, he’d have known that Poseidon had been rejected in 1965.
Another rather major item stands out, the MoS claiming “At this time [September 1967] , the documents allege, Robinson was also passing information about sensitive discussions between the UK Government and foreign heads of state, including negotiations about Britain joining the European Economic Community. In June 1967, the files say Robinson reported that French President Charles de Gaulle was 'devoting exceptional attention to stopping the UK from joining the EEC’”. That is total bullshit.
De Gaulle devoted no more time to British attempts to join the then EEC than was necessary for him to state firmly “NON”. Ditto the claim that Robinson “said he had been delayed in Paris because the French Prime Minister, Georges Pompidou, invited him to dinner. ‘The explanation he gave was that the French PM wanted to talk to him on an unofficial basis about various views on the British joining the EEC,’ said one report”.
Pompidou, who would succeed de Gaulle as President, would not be discussing such views, not until de Gaulle was out of office. There was no point; de Gaulle would entertain no talk of EU enlargement, and none occurred until after he died.
On top of all that, the MoS sets rather too much store by past claims which have now been discredited: not just those from Jan Sarkocy about Corbyn, Livingstone and McDonnell, but Oleg Gordievsky’s fantasist drivel about Michael Foot, which landed the Murdoch Sunday Times with a hefty libel and costs bill back in 1995.
The MoS article has had to be heavily caveatted because Robinson has already called in lawyers, and may well do again. We already knew that one Czech “spymaster” had largely invented claims about past “agents”, but the MoS has not secured a second source to verify any of its claims. We know the Poseidon and France claims are bunk.
It would surprise no-one if the rest of the story were to unravel. More Fake News.
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