By Dr Roger Cottrell
“But make no mistake, the sky will fall in” –Harry Perkins in “A Very British Coup,” Channel 4, 1988.
A week is reputedly a long time in politics.
Looking at the seven-day time span that began, on February 16, 2018, it at times seemed (for those of us old enough to remember it) as if the cold war was back with a vengeance.
First came the 37-page indictment by former FBI head of terrorism Robert Mueller (who has almost redeemed himself over the Lockerbie bombing and cover up) and the Supreme Court in the US against 13 Russians and three Russian companies for “Information Warfare” during the 2017 Presidential Election in the US, an alleged Kremlin-backed “soft coup.”
With a budget of £1.25 million Project Lahkta, involving the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg used a Kremlin connected troll farm to target Hillary Clinton and help right wing demagogue, property tycoon and former celebrity TV host Donald Trump to office.
Within three days of this important revelation however, a very different set of allegations with much firmer roots in the “second cold war” of the 1980s asserted themselves with renewed smears against Britain’s Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
These were predictably made in Rupert Murdoch’s scurrilous publication, The Sun. The accusations were made by a former Czech intelligence officer named Jan Sarkocy who worked, under cover of being a diplomat named Jan Dymic, as an agent of the then Czech Intelligence Agency, the StB in London in the 1980s. During this period he claims to have met a young Islington MP, Jeremy Corbyn, three times.
Two of these meetings were in Parliament and one at Corbyn’s Islington home.
Now an out of work former spook with his hand out for some easy cash, Sarkocy, based in Slovakia (and thus within the Putin orbit) claims that Corbyn was part of a “cell” of Labour MPs and other prominent figures to whom Sarkocy subsequently referred in a follow up article in The Daily Telegraph – well known for its connections to MI6.
According to the claims, British agents in the Labour Party were supposedly being paid £10,000 by both the KGB and StB and were part of a cunning plot to subvert British politics at a critical time.
The dark period concerned saw Margaret Thatcher returned to office on the back of the Falklands conflict, News International embedded in the British Deep Establishment, the British labour movement smashed to atoms via the Miners’ Strike, publicly owned industries looted and the financial deregulation of the City of London.
The current head of Czech Intelligence, in a country outside the Putin sphere of influence, has denounced these claims as rubbish as, quite understandably, has Jeremy Corbyn himself.
So for, that matter, do I. But they are actually quite important for all that and not for the churlish reasons claimed in a rather pitiful editorial by Mathew D’Ancona in The Observer who seems to think that Corbyn has a case to answer.
In 1976, the last freely elected government in Britain that wasn’t part of the seamless and permanent Thatcherite regime endorsed by News International, was destabilized and removed after CIA Director George HW Bush threatened to support a military coup in Britain.
Subsequently fictionalised in Chris Mullin’s 1981 novel, A Very British Coup, and adapted for the screen by Alan Plater in the 1980s, this has become the definitive cautionary tale of our times as to what might happen when Jeremy wins an election and the discredited, illegitimate and lame duck government of Theresa May staggers off the stage.
As Harry Perkins says in the narrative, “the sky will fall in.” The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonald (also named as a Warsaw Pact agent in the “Sarkocy Smear”) is right to be war gaming scenarios in which the City of London effectively declares war (supported by corporate media) against the elected government.
Rather significantly, the plots against Wilson began with the debrief of a Soviet KGB defector called Golytsin who, when coaxed by arch Neo-Con James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s Chief of the counterintelligence staff, at the CIA’s “Farm” in Maryland, did what defectors usually do and told his handlers the “things” he assumed they wanted to hear.
One of these “things” was that British Intelligence was riddled with KGB agents, notably among the ranks of those who resisted Angleton’s cold war agenda that extended to support for fascist terrorism in Greece, Italy and elsewhere.
Also in Angleton’s gun sight was Harold Wilson now, who had recently succeeded Hugh Gaitskell as leader of the Labour Party. The scenario which was now being played in Langley, and which was fed to Angleton’s supporters such as Peter Wright (then running MI5’s K-Branch) was that Bulgarian intelligence had murdered Gaitskell to guarantee Wilson’s succession as leader because Wilson was also a Soviet agent.
This slur, which was duly fed by Wright to Chapman Pincher on The Express, formed the humble origins of the various plots against Harold Wilson many of which (in contrast to Watergate in the US) have simply been erased from history.
During the plots against Wilson he was referred to, by the conspirators, using a code name that was “Oak Leaf.” Jan Sarkocy claims that Jeremy Corbyn was referred to by the code name of “Cob.” Peter Wright’s charge that Wilson was a Soviet agent and not fit to govern the UK was based on the fact that he’d visited the USSR six times. Corbyn met Sarkocy three times, twice at Westminster and once at his Islington home, completely unaware that he was an agent. One sees a pattern developing here.
Two decades after Golytsin, Oleg Gordiefsky was “turned” by the CIA and MI6 in Britain. From this point onwards everything that the KGB did in Britain was known by the CIA, MI5 and MI6. All information concerning and gathered by the KGB in the UK passed to desks in Century House, Curzon Street and Langley.
But with William Casey as CIA Director, and at the height of the Iran Contra scandal, Gordiefsky’s brief went way beyond neutralizing the KGB presence in Britain and passing on information. Gordiefsky also helped serve Neo Con agendas.
For example, in The Sunday Times, Gordiefsky claimed that former Labour leader Michael Foot had also been a KGB asset. – A wrongful claim for which the newspaper had to make a substantial out of court settlement to Michael Foot.
At the time, Foot was making a principled documentary condemning the West and UN (quite rightly) for its de facto complicity in Serbian genocide in Bosnia and Croatia. The Kremlin position, then as now, was to support the Serbs, whose genocide in Bosnia prefigured the atrocity exhibition waged by Putin in Grozny and Aleppo.
Foot’s position, in short, would have been a strange one for a Kremlin asset and Gordiefsky’s claims were complete rubbish, just as Jan Sarkocy’s smear of Jeremy Corbyn are.
But let’s stay with Gordiefsky. During the time that he was a CIA and MI6 asset inside the KGB cell in the UK, the Thatcher government and MI5’s F-Branch were waging dirty tricks against both the Metropolitan Councils (particularly the GLC) and the National Union of Miners. Indeed, Thatcher later candidly admitted to a German magazine that her government would have fallen if she’d had to conduct these two battles at the same time.
Given that Ken Livingstone also features on Sarkocy’s list of KGB assets in the Labour Party in the 1980s is it vaguely feasible that this information wouldn’t have been used against the GLC if it had been made known by Gordiefsky at the time?
Finally there is the issue of Jeremy Corbyn himself. Corbyn raised questions concerning Britain’s role in the Iran Contra scandal in Parliament. If Jeremy Corbyn was working to expose Britain’s heinous role in the CIA scandal then any dirt which Gordiefsky could have dug up about his alleged KGB links would have been used immediately. They weren’t – because there weren’t any.
The purpose of the second cold war was to bankrupt the Soviet Union through the arms race and the drug funded Operation Cyclone, in Afghanistan, that rendered the Western Asian country the first true narco state (being responsible for 93% of the world’s heroin supply by 1993) and led to the creation both of al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Unfortunately, in order to carry through largely legitimate reforms in the USSR, Gorbachev created an executive Presidency inherited by the privatization-happy Boris Yeltsin (whose so called “reforms” inflicted death and poverty on millions of Russians) and Vladimir Putin, who has consolidated the position of oligarchs he supports and to whom he is linked while they bury ill-gotten trillions in off shore tax shelters as exposed in the Panama Papers.
Putin has meantime set about subverting what remains of democracy in the West primarily to give himself a geo-political free hand (e.g. in Syria and Ukraine) and destroy the European Union.
Key to this has been Putin’s subversion of the American electoral process using the Internet Research Agency from 2016 and its links to Robert Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica and Steve Bannon’s Alt Right (which later began supporting Trump from 2017).
Under the rubric of the Project Lakhta, the FSB sent agents into the US to create hundreds of real and fake identities of US citizens on social media that were then used by the troll farm operated by the Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg to manufacture fake news and propaganda. This was then disseminated to a target audience identified through algorithm by Cambridge Analytica whose owner, Robert Mercer, held several clandestine meetings with a Russian Oligarch in the Virgin Islands during the Presidential election campaign.
That oligarch is likely to be Yevgeny Victorovich Prigozhin, a key financial backer to the Internet Research Agency who is also linked to Wagner, now the biggest private mercenary army operating out of Russia. Staffed by former GRU Spetnaz, this has been involved in war crimes in the Donbas, Syria and the Ukraine and on February 13, 2018, Bloomberg revealed how 200 of its mercenaries were killed in a pitched battle with Kurds in Syria.
What needs to be established now is whether there has been an equivalent of Operation Lahkta in Europe in relation to the Brexit vote and the rise of the fascist Right across Europe. This is likely to be the case given disclosures e.g. by BBC’s Panorama on how the First Czech Russian Bank is bankrolling these groups.
Returning to the smears against Jeremy Corbyn the prime movers would seem to include the usual suspects such as Rupert Murdoch, probably the second biggest threat to the national security of Britain and Europe after Putin himself. But Jeremy Corbyn hints at something when he speaks of these media moguls, and their organic links to the corporate world, as well as to the network of tax shelters offered by the British Overseas territories that is bleeding our country white. Both these western corporate interests and Putin were exposed in the Panama Papers, suggesting the possibility of shifting and unholy alliances akin to those in Orwell’s 1984.
After all, as Orwell also wrote in Animal Farm, the animals looked from farmer to pig and pig to farmer and couldn’t tell the one from the other.