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Friday, 23 February 2018

Jeremy Corbyn and the Stasi Files

The bottom line is that we don't at present know – and may never know - if there are any Stasi files on Jeremy Corbyn.

For a start, it's been said that both the CIA and MI5 are keeping the Stasi (Staatssicherheit - “state security”) files on British politicians secret.

We will never know for sure who in Britain helped the Stasi, wittingly or otherwise, until the Rosenholz files are made public.

In the end, everything gets out eventually.”

In terms of British intelligence itself, a former MI5 boss has refused to discuss whether or not she knew anything about Jeremy Corbyn’s links to communist agencies and spies.

Of course if there were/are such files, that doesn't automatically mean that Jeremy Corbyn himself had anything to do with them. Indeed Corbyn might well have met Stasi without knowing they were spies. Or he might have met Stasi (or other communists), known they were spies, and still not given them any “secret information”. Instead, Corbyn might have simply politically and ideologically engaged with his communist comrades.

As for the a statement from the German state archive.

What I don't understand is why a civil servant at the German State Archive classed claims that the Stasi had files on Jeremy Corbyn as “outrageous speculation”.

Even if untrue (or if those files don't exist), the words “outrageous speculation” sound like this (presumably non-communist) bureaucrat is defending the reputation of the Stasi. Alternatively, they sound like he's defending Jeremy Corbyn. In either case, why is a German civil servant using undiplomatic words like “outrageous speculation” at all? It's not as if she personally (or the current German government) is being accused of having files on Corbyn.

This is also odd because it's claimed that US intelligence is the only agency which now has records of the Stasi lists of foreign targets, informants and collaborators. More specifically, what are called the “Rosenholz files” were actually sold to the CIA for a reported $1 million by a Stasi officer when East Germany collapsed in 1989.

Ever since then, the CIA has sat on these records. Though that was after the records/files were shared with the CIA's British counterparts.

What's even more odd (again considering the use of the words “outrageous speculation”) is that an Stasi Archives official (in Berlin) has said that institution wants the Rosenholz files back. Thus, if it admits that it doesn't have all the Stasi files, then how does it also know that the file on Corbyn doesn't exist? What's more, why is it “outrageous speculation” to claim that it does exist? After all, it's well-known that the Stasi did target hundreds of high-profile British politicians and other important people.

Nonetheless, the current German state does have its own part/s of the Stasi files. And Germans officials have said that their own archive contains no mention of Jeremy Corbyn. 

Despite that, a Stasi Archives spokeswoman (Dagmar Hovestadt) said:

The Rosenholz files contain the names for all informants for the Stasi’s foreign espionage branch, the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung.

The HVA was allowed to dissolve itself and much of its documentation was destroyed.

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