First things first.
Jeremy Corbyn himself has admitted to meeting the Czechoslovakian "diplomat" Jan Sarkocy. Corbyn has stated that he had one meeting with Mr Sarkocy on November 25th, 1986.
The plot thickens somewhat because Corbyn was introduced to this Czech spy by two Marxist/leftwing activists: Tony Gilbert (then the general secretary of the anti-colonial civil rights group Liberation) and Sandra Hodgson. It was these two people who set up the meeting in the House of Commons. Indeed they also attended that meeting.
Now forget what Jan Sarkocy has said about Live Aid; or whether or not Corbyn knew that Sarkocy was a spy. We must still ask this question: Why did Corbyn meet Jan Sarkocy?
(Despite the hilarity produced by Sarkocy's Live Aid claims, there's not much evidence either way that he did or did not have a part to play in organising that event.)
Louise Haigh MP has also said that Corbyn was “interested in foreign affairs”. That's meant to mean that it's course the case that Corbyn would have met diplomats. Okay. So did Corbyn meet any other diplomats; say from Chile, South Africa etc.? Or did Corbyn only meet diplomats from countries he ideologically and politically supported; such as communist countries like Czechoslovakia, Poland and East Germany?
In any case, if Corbyn has nothing to hide, then perhaps he should tell the British public exactly what he discussed at these meetings. Despite saying that, there may still be no official documentation of these discussions. This may mean that there's nothing to stop Corbyn from being “economical with the truth” about them. He may also argue that he has no reason at all to discuss private conversations he had some 30 years ago.
Jeremy Corbyn's supporters/defenders have made much of the words and character of Jan Sarkocy. Nonetheless, these meetings are said to be documented on various files – that is, regardless of the words and deeds of Mr Sarkocy himself. (There's written and photographic evidence of this.) These files show that Corbyn met Sarkocy three times between 1986 and 1987 – that's three times in one year.
As for Jan Sarkocy himself. He was known as Jan Dymic at the time. Sarkocy was a spy for Czechoslovakia's secret (political) police force, Státní bezpečnost (the StB).
As stated earlier, Corbyn has said that he didn't know that Sarkocy was a spy. Yet many experts doubt Corbyn's claim. They say that most Eastern European diplomats (at that time) were known to be spies. Indeed Barry Gardiner (a Labour Party MP) has admitted that “MPs met spies all the time” in the 1980s and often met embassy staff whom they believed to be spies.
Thus, if it's possible - or even probable - that Corbyn knew that Jan Sarkocy was a spy, then why didn't he pass on information about his conversations to British intelligence? Indeed, according to Corbyn's file in the archives, Corbyn did the exact opposite of this. That is, Corbyn gave Mr Sarkocy information on MI5's crackdown on communist spies and their spying activities. More concretely, it is said that Corbyn gave a copy of a British newspaper article to Sarkocy on a failed probe into a Stasi agent. Corbyn is said to have even warned Sarkocy that the British security services were likely to increase operations against communist spies.
Corbyn hasn't denied passing on information about that crackdown. So why did Corbyn pass on this information the first place?
Even if Corbyn didn't feel the need to pass on information to the British security services at the time he met this spy, why didn't he do so later – in May 1989 - when Prime Minister Thatcher kicked Jan Sarkocy out of Britain? Indeed Sarkocy was one of four spies (from the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia) who were ordered to leave the United Kingdom.
If Corbyn didn't know that Sarkocy was a spy in 1986 or 1987, then he certainly must have done in 1989 when he was kicked out of the UK for spying.
As already stated, Corbyn's supporters/defenders have focused on Sarkocy and his claims about Live Aid. So what about Corbyn's relations with East Germany and its secret police - the Stasi?
In this case, officials from the German archives have already said that the Stasi had compiled a file on Jeremy Corbyn. Obviously it didn't do this because they deemed Corbyn to be an “enemy of communism”. So why did they do so?
Despite saying that, it's of course the case that Corbyn himself can't be blamed for the simple fact that East German intelligence compiled a file on him. However, some have now said that this file doesn't exist.
Thus it must also be said here that post-communist countries (including Poland and East Germany) are not always open/honest about their communist histories. They may not even still have any relevant information about the Corbyn case. In addition to that, even if these countries used the words and information given to them by Corbyn, it's not necessarily the case that this information (as well as Corbyn's activities) would been officially registered or documented by these communist states.
Defences of Corbyn's Actions
Take these words from a spokesman for Mr Corbyn:
"Jeremy neither had nor offered any privileged information to this or any other diplomat. The Cold War Czechoslovak spy Jan Sarkocy is a fantasist...”
This is very vague stuff.
Firstly, what's meant by the words “privileged information” here? Corbyn and the Labour Party may not now see it as privileged information; though many others may see it that way. And even if Corbyn wasn't giving away “top secret documents”, he may still have been supplying these communist spies with much-needed political and ideological information.
The other question (which has already been asked) is this:
Regardless of any “ privileged information”, why was Corbyn meeting these communists in the first place?
Corbyn wasn't in Labour Party Shadow Cabinet in the late 1980s; and he had no official position when it came to Labour Party “foreign affairs” either.
Note also the word “fantasist”, as used about Jan Sarkocy. Does that word also apply to the files and documents on Corbyn? This meme-word (“fantasist”) has spread like wildfire around social media and elsewhere. Is it even the case that Sarkocy is a fantasist? And do Corbyn's defenders also believe that Sarkocy was a fantasist when he actually met Corbyn in 1986 and 1987?
Corbyn's spokesman went on to say the following:
“This man, who claims to have organised Live Aid and seems to believe Jeremy was in a position to pass on information about Margaret Thatcher's dietary and clothing habits, has no credibility whatsoever.”
As with the word “fantasist”, Sarkocy's claims about Live Aid have also became a vital meme for Corbyn's supporters/defenders.
The other point that's been spread is that Corbyn (a lowly backbench MP at the time) wouldn't have had any “privileged information” on Margaret Thatcher or on the British government generally. However, that's obviously false! Spy agencies have used all sorts of lowly people to do their work for them.
For example, spies have used cleaners in security building and secretaries in government offices to do their work. And since Corbyn would indeed have had many contacts with all sorts of bigwigs, he might indeed have had vital information on the British government. Corbyn might not have been high-ranking himself. Nonetheless, he would certainly have had access to high-ranking people and therefore (possibly) access to sensitive information.
Despite all that (as stated earlier), it was Corbyn's political and ideological positions which would have primarily appealed to communist spies and communist governments, not his ability to pass on secret (or sensitive) information to them. In that sense, Corbyn would have been far more important to spies and communist states than the average embedded spy.
The spokesman for Corbyn finished off by stating the following:
“Svetlana Ptacnikova, Director of the Czech Security Forces Archive, has said the records show Jeremy was neither an agent, asset, informer nor collaborator with Czechoslovak intelligence.”
Corbyn might never have been officially classed (or registered) as an “agent, asset, informer nor collaborator with Czechoslovak intelligence” - even if he was one! And, as stated earlier, not all post-communist countries are open about their communist histories or even still have any relevant information about Corbyn. And even if these countries did use the words and information given to them by Corbyn, none of this would have automatically been officially registered or documented.
Why Meet Foreign Communists?
It's probably wise not to believe that Jeremy Corbyn actually “sold secrets to communist spies”. It's very likely that Corbyn wouldn't have done this simply for financial gain. And he wouldn't necessarily have had any “secret information” to give them anyway. Instead, because Corbyn politically and ideologically sympathised with communism and the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, his “information” would have been political and ideological in nature. Nonetheless, such information would still have been just as valuable to these communist states as any “secret” stuff.
Mr Sarkocy himself backs up this position because he said that he and Corbyn talked about “human rights” and Corbyn's “anti-American beliefs”. That is, they talked about the human rights situation in the United States and other capitalist countries, not the terrible human rights situation in communist countries.
Despite all the above, it's certainly possible that Corbyn did have dealings with communist spies.
So let's get more up-to-date on Corbyn.
Corbyn's Campaign (Election) Chief during the last election was Andrew Murray. Murray was a member of the Communist Party of Britain until he joined the Labour Party under Corbyn's leadership. (He's also became Chair of the Stop the War Coalition after Corbyn himself stepped down.) From 1986 to 1987, Murray also worked for the Soviet Novosti news agency. He has also expressed “solidarity” with North Korea.
Murray only joined the British Labour Party at the end of 2016. Some four months after leaving the Communist Party of Britain, Murray became the Labour Party's Campaign Chief.
What about the “Stalinist” Seumas Milne?
Mr Milne was the Executive Director of Strategy and Communications for Corbyn and the Labour Party during the last election. His “communist tendencies” are well-known in the United Kingdom.
In terms of politics, Milne has been a systematic fan of Stalin and the Soviet Union. Milne once claimed that “history has been unkind to” Joseph Stalin. He also gave the lowest number I've ever seen for the number of people murdered by the Soviet socialist regime.
And Jeremy Corbyn himself?
Take Corbyn's own words; as expressed in the House of Commons in the 1980s:
“... I had an interesting meeting with an environmental campaigning group from the Soviet Union.... those people felt that they had the power to change the policies to stop the destruction of their own environment. The policies of free-market economies... have led to the pollution of the North sea and the Irish sea...”
In 1988, Corbyn also took his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. It was then that Corbyn decided to call for a “complete rehabilitation” of Leon Trotsky.
A Labour Party source, in response, said:
"Jeremy Corbyn has clearly been fixated by the political ideology and tactics of Leon Trotsky for some time, but perhaps he could now focus on the rehabilitation of the Labour Party, which has been performing very poorly in the polls since he became leader. Trotsky didn't have to worry about the troublesome business of winning elections, but the Labour Party does."
Finally, what matters in this affair is that Corbyn was/is ideologically and politically sympathetic to communism; as well as to the Soviet Union, Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, etc. So all that would indeed have given him very good reasons to liaise with communist spies (as well as communists generally); just as it gave him a very good reason to liaise with the the “anti-imperialist” and largely Marxist IRA in the 1980s.