Corbyn Briefed Communist Spies in Cold War Watch

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(Original post by Lit teacher)
Here's another part of the story confirmed by the Czech Spy (Google translate of his own words)

What information did Corbyn give you?
- I'll tell you this. I knew what Thatcher would have for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and what she would wear for the next day.

Yes, Corbyn, a backbench Labour MP, was able to reveal Margaret Thatcher's lunch menu and fashion choices.

And there's more

Did you also talk about security issues?
- Yes, it was based on the peace movement, and they were receiving reports from the Defense Ministry.

That's right. The Ministry of Defence was briefing CND, at a time when the peace movement tried to close down the nuclear base at Greenham Common.

Not only that, but:

- Through the unions and peace movements, questions were addressed to Nelson Mandel. It is because he and his team have been involved in the preparation of supporting events. We finally made a concert in Wembley. It was funded by Czechoslovakia.
Do you mean Live Aid?
- I did that.
Yes, this spy confirms that Live Aid was funded by the Czech secret police. No wonder it made so much money.

Now can you see why the serious media have barely touched this story? And why your desperation to take it seriously is so entertaining?
I will not deny some people have behaved like absolute cretins about this story. But, can you seriously not see why a Labour leader meeting a spy from a totalitarian, communist country for some friendly chats may suggest, to some people, that his opinions veered beyond cuddly CND nonsense?

Saudi Arabia.... USA.... General Pinochet.... Idi Amin.... Bahrain... All leaders or states that 'were brutally suppressing incipient democratic movements' and some still are. All leaders or states that were either supported by Thatcher or are currently supported by our own current government.
I'm not denying the moral problems the right has here. I suggest they are fewer than the left, but this is a perfectly valid argument to have.

But what you cannot do is simultaneously critisise the Tories every time they talk to a questionable government through diplomatic channels and then get all upset when we dare to point out Corbyn's predilection for terrorists or totalitarian regimes. Because it makes you look like a hypocrite who sees all these issues through red-tinted specs.

Our 'free press' is mostly controlled by right-wing tax exiles. Tell me the name of a national newspaper that is free to print the news without interference from its owner.
But we have a very competitive newspaper industry. The free press means we are all free to consume news from whatever news outlets we want without government interference. If people choose to buy papers owned by Murdoch or the Barclay brothers then that is an essential democratic right which any true liberal should stand up for.

It is almost impossible to dissociate attacking a newspaper from attacking its readers. You cannot hate the Mail without hating Mail readers. You cannot ban the Sun without trampling over the liberties of its willing customers.
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(Original post by Rinsed)
So what you're saying is that while he was publicly critisising Czech totalitarianism (although, let's be honest, not so strongly as most) he was privately cozying up to Czech diplomats/spies and praising the Soviet Union to them.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

The press are always sensationalist, they need to sell papers and it is a story which has generated a lot of public interest. But it's hard to see where the press have actually lied here at all. Drawn strong inferences, perhaps, but that's hardly the same thing.
No. The press sensationalising is one thing. The press and Tory party figures actually accusing Corbyn of committing a serious criminal offence without any evidence is a whole new ball game.

Corbyn's team has started legal action on Ben Bradley and rightly so. It's quite telling that he deleted his tweet. Not even he believed the accusation he was making. Did you see the Andrew Neil interview with Baker?

It has been established that this spy was a liar by the Czech authorities, who also confirmed that Corbyn was not an agent and in no way assisted the regime. Nor was he paid.

The German officials have confirmed that there is no Stasi file on Corbyn, despite figures on the right calling for Corbyn to release the file.

So the only thing that has been established is that Corbyn met someone from Czechoslovakia and that Corbyn didn't like the Tories. Everything else has been proven false or is merely conjecture.

The press have most certainly lied here. They have accused and said Corbyn sold secrets or information to a Czech spy for money. That did not happen.
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(Original post by DeBruyne18)
No. The press sensationalising is one thing. The press and Tory party figures actually accusing Corbyn of committing a serious criminal offence without any evidence is a whole new ball game.

Corbyn's team has started legal action on Ben Bradley and rightly so. It's quite telling that he deleted his tweet. Not even he believed the accusation he was making. Did you see the Andrew Neil interview with Baker?
I specifically said press. If you can find any instances where they have actually done this I'm all ears, because I haven't seen it.

From what I've seen the bloke said Corbyn was paid for secrets, and the press reported it as such. Even if (as seems likely) that turns out to be untrue, it is categorically not the press making up lies.

It has been established that this spy was a liar by the Czech authorities, who also confirmed that Corbyn was not an agent and in no way assisted the regime. Nor was he paid.

The German officials have confirmed that there is no Stasi file on Corbyn, despite figures on the right calling for Corbyn to release the file.

So the only thing that has been established is that Corbyn met someone from Czechoslovakia and that Corbyn didn't like the Tories. Everything else has been proven false or is merely conjecture.

The press have most certainly lied here. They have accused and said Corbyn sold secrets or information to a Czech spy for money. That did not happen.
Let's be clear, it is established that he was a Czech spy, even if you believe Corbyn thought was a diplomat. Even if he had been a diplomat, as others have said, communist diplomats were hardly cuddly figures. They were, at best, agents of a brutal totalitarian state, and not the sort of person a patriotic Brit and future prime minister should be cozying up to.
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(Original post by Rinsed)
I specifically said press. If you can find any instances where they have actually done this I'm all ears, because I haven't seen it.

From what I've seen the bloke said Corbyn was paid for secrets, and the press reported it as such. Even if (as seems likely) that turns out to be untrue, it is categorically not the press making up lies.



Let's be clear, it is established that he was a Czech spy, even if you believe Corbyn thought was a diplomat. Even if he had been a diplomat, as others have said, communist diplomats were hardly cuddly figures. They were, at best, agents of a brutal totalitarian state, and not the sort of person a patriotic Brit and future prime minister should be cozying up to.
The press are rather clever and experienced at strongly 'suggesting' something and making sure the reader knows exactly what they are saying, without actually stating it as a fact in the way Ben Bradley did.

That's been the case here. The implication has very clearly been that Corbyn is a traitor who sold our secrets to Communist spies. It's been alleging that he committed a serious criminal offence, even if being clever enough to not say it in a way that would leave them liable for defamation.

And you mention what the spy said, but what's really clear is that the press and Tory party did not care at all what the truth of the matter was. They had no interest in finding out what really happened and were instead desperately looking for a smoking gun that didn't exist, for political purposes.

So yes Corbyn met someone from Czecholovakia. He did not reveal any secrets nor did he try to assist him in any way, as confirmed by the Czech authorities. The idea that it was worthy of the media storm and implications that he was committing treason is laughable. You have said yourself that Tory leaders have cosied up to similarly questionnable figures, yet for some reason that didn't disqualify them from being PM.

This whole story is a big load of nothing and it has now been proven as such.

As Andrew Neil said, if you think Corbyn would be a terrible Prime Minister who has disastrous policies, then fine. But accusing him of committing a serious criminal offence on the back of next to no evidence is a whole different matter and it is a good thing that legal action is being taken.

The irony is that the smears, allegations and lies have been so over the top that it has probably helped Corbyn strengthen his image of fighting the establishment.
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(Original post by DeBruyne18)
The press are rather clever and experienced at strongly 'suggesting' something and making sure the reader knows exactly what they are saying, without actually stating it as a fact in the way Ben Bradley did.

That's been the case here. The implication has very clearly been that Corbyn is a traitor who sold our secrets to Communist spies. It's been alleging that he committed a serious criminal offence, even if being clever enough to not say it in a way that would leave them liable for defamation.

And you mention what the spy said, but what's really clear is that the press and Tory party did not care at all what the truth of the matter was. They had no interest in finding out what really happened and were instead desperately looking for a smoking gun that didn't exist, for political purposes.

So yes Corbyn met someone from Czecholovakia. He did not reveal any secrets nor did he try to assist him in any way, as confirmed by the Czech authorities. The idea that it was worthy of the media storm and implications that he was committing treason is laughable. You have said yourself that tory leaders have cosied up to similarly questionnable figures, yet for some reason that didn't disqualify them from being PM.

This whole story is a big load of nothing and it has now been proven as such.

As Andrew Neil said, if you think Corbyn would be a terrible Prime Minister who has disastrous policies, then fine. But accusing him of committing a serious criminal offence on the back of next to no evidence is a whole different matter and it is a good thing that legal action is being taken.
Yawn.

This is actually pretty simple, politicians who cozy up to 'diplomats' from brutal regimes cannot be surprised when their allegiances are questioned. Why are you so incapable of conceding this? Why should the press work on the assumption everything is above board?

As for the rampant whataboutery about Saudi Arabia and the like, this is just a distraction attempt. I will address this once and only once just to point the glaring differences. For one, this is not a left-right issue as Labour governments have followed the same pragmatic foreign policy. Secondly, literally none of these people think the Saudis are nice people or particularly want to have to deal with them. They just think they're better than the (dire) alternatives in the region and fancy that they're practicing realpolitik. I'm not a big "the end justifies the means" fan, but you can't deny they're looking out for what they believe to be Britain's interests.

By contrast Corbyn has consistently shown sympathy and support for this country's enemies. There is barely a dictatorship he would not be prepared to praise if it stood in opposition to the hated West. From Hamas to Iran, from Russia to the IRA, he has made allies with dreadful, dreadful people. And for what? What reason could he possibly have for consistently supporting people who hate Britain?
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(Original post by Rinsed)
I will not deny some people have behaved like absolute cretins about this story. But, can you seriously not see why a Labour leader meeting a spy from a totalitarian, communist country for some friendly chats may suggest, to some people, that his opinions veered beyond cuddly CND nonsense?



I'm not denying the moral problems the right has here. I suggest they are fewer than the left, but this is a perfectly valid argument to have.

But what you cannot do is simultaneously critisise the Tories every time they talk to a questionable government through diplomatic channels and then get all upset when we dare to point out Corbyn's predilection for terrorists or totalitarian regimes. Because it makes you look like a hypocrite who sees all these issues through red-tinted specs.



But we have a very competitive newspaper industry. The free press means we are all free to consume news from whatever news outlets we want without government interference. If people choose to buy papers owned by Murdoch or the Barclay brothers then that is an essential democratic right which any true liberal should stand up for.

It is almost impossible to dissociate attacking a newspaper from attacking its readers. You cannot hate the Mail without hating Mail readers. You cannot ban the Sun without trampling over the liberties of its willing customers.
I think we need to drop the idea that the 'free press' is just there to inform the public. The press, left and right, is there to push it's own ideas and influence policy.

When you have so much of the press controlled by such a small number of individuals, that really is a concern.
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(Original post by Rinsed)
Yawn.

This is actually pretty simple, politicians who cozy up to 'diplomats' from brutal regimes cannot be surprised when their allegiances are questioned. Why are you so incapable of conceding this? Why should the press work on the assumption everything is above board?

As for the rampant whataboutery about Saudi Arabia and the like, this is just a distraction attempt. I will address this once and only once just to point the glaring differences. For one, this is not a left-right issue as Labour governments have followed the same pragmatic foreign policy. Secondly, literally none of these people think the Saudis are nice people or particularly want to have to deal with them. They just think they're better than the (dire) alternatives in the region and fancy that they're practicing realpolitik. I'm not a big "the end justifies the means" fan, but you can't deny they're looking out for what they believe to be Britain's interests.

By contrast Corbyn has consistently shown sympathy and support for this country's enemies. There is barely a dictatorship he would not be prepared to praise if it stood in opposition to the hated West. From Hamas to Iran, from Russia to the IRA, he has made allies with dreadful, dreadful people. And for what? What reason could he possibly have for consistently supporting people who hate Britain?
There is a difference between questioning and alleging a serious criminal offence. And yeah, innocent until proven guilty really should be the moral starting point. The starting point they have with Corbyn is guilty until pr... no just guilty.

So neither you, nor the press, have any evidence at all of what Corbyn and this guy discussed and you have absolutely no evidence at all that Corbyn knew he was a spy. It's pretty much what I said in my first post in this thread. You don't care about this story at all. It was sheer opportunism in the hope of finding a smoking gun. Your opening post claimed Corbyn supported the Czechs. Where is your evidence for that? How does a meeting mean he supported them? And where is the evidence he 'cozied' up to him?

Corbyn met a guy from Czechoslovakia for an hour and told him that he didn't like the Tories. Shocking stuff. And Hamas/IRA etc have nothing to do with this story. That's your own attempt at distraction.

Why have members of your party accused him of committing treachery? Why have members of your party berated him for not releasing a file that doesn't exist? There is however evidence of Corbyn criticising the regime, rather than supporting it, given the motion he backed.
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(Original post by DeBruyne18)
I think we need to drop the idea that the 'free press' is just there to inform the public. The press, left and right, is there to push it's own ideas and influence policy.

When you have so much of the press controlled by such a small number of individuals, that really is a concern.
What concerns me is the way the left are increasingly trying to justify controlling the press. The media is a very competitive arena. Murdoch and his ilk cannot force their opinions into unsuspecting bystanders. They have influence only because more people would rather buy their papers than the Guardian. The left has always hated the freedom to choose things they disapprove of.

You people also have no sense of irony. Corbyn is angered by claims he supported a totalitarian state, and responds by threatening to crack down on papers which oppose him.

(Original post by DeBruyne18)
There is a difference between questioning and alleging a serious criminal offence. And yeah, innocent until proven guilty really should be the moral starting point. The starting point they have with Corbyn is guilty until pr... no just guilty.

So neither you, nor the press, have any evidence at all of what Corbyn and this guy discussed and you have absolutely no evidence at all that Corbyn knew he was a spy. It's pretty much what I said in my first post in this thread. You don't care about this story at all. It was sheer opportunism in the hope of finding a smoking gun. Your opening post claimed Corbyn supported the Czechs. Where is your evidence for that? How does a meeting mean he supported them? And where is the evidence he 'cozied' up to him?

Corbyn met a guy from Czechoslovakia for an hour and told him that he didn't like the Tories. Shocking stuff. And Hamas/IRA etc have nothing to do with this story. That's your own attempt at distraction.

Why have members of your party accused him of committing treachery? Why have members of your party berated him for not releasing a file that doesn't exist? There is however evidence of Corbyn criticising the regime, rather than supporting it, given the motion he backed.
You are repeating yourself. As I have said, it is really very simple. A potential prime minister simply attending meetings with a communist spy during the cold war is a scandal. And if you don't see it that way, many people do.

And, by the way, the press are entirely entitled to raise questions which need to be answered. That is literally their job, to ask difficult questions of politicians. I do think he has questions to answer. If he is happy to hang around with communist 'diplomats' then the rest of the StB files don't seem far fetched at all. To remind you, these are the files which claimed he said positive things about the Warsaw pact and negative things about NATO during those meetings which he has confirmed he attended, which is entirely believable. This is not the later claims of the spy himself, which are decidedly sketchier. And to be honest if Corbyn responds by threatening a press crackdown that hardly screams innocence.

Talking about the IRA/Hamas/Venezuela/Iran/Russia/Cuba is not a distraction. It speaks to the same despicable part of his character. What is potentially damaging to him about this is that it just adds more flesh to a narrative that many people already believe. And this is why he is so angry.
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(Original post by Rinsed)
What concerns me is the way the left are increasingly trying to justify controlling the press. The media is a very competitive arena. Murdoch and his ilk cannot force their opinions into unsuspecting bystanders. They have influence only because more people would rather buy their papers than the Guardian. The left has always hated the freedom to choose things they disapprove of.

You people also have no sense of irony. Corbyn is angered by claims he supported a totalitarian state, and responds by threatening to crack down on papers which oppose him.
He wasn't claiming to crack down on the free press. He was making the point about how our 'free press' is largely controlled by a handful of tax exiles who push their own agenda through their papers under the guise of 'informing the public'.

It is absolutely not healthy or democratic to have your entire press controlled by such few people. Indeed there lies the justification for competition law which exists in all sorts of industries to prevent monopolisation. You wouldn't exactly call competition law totalitarian would you?

You are repeating yourself. As I have said, it is really very simple. A potential prime minister simply attending meetings with a communist spy during the cold war is a scandal. And if you don't see it that way, many people do.

And, by the way, the press are entirely entitled to raise questions which need to be answered. That is literally their job, to ask difficult questions of politicians. I do think he has questions to answer. If he is happy to hang around with communist 'diplomats' then the rest of the StB files don't seem far fetched at all. To remind you, these are the files which claimed he said positive things about the Warsaw pact and negative things about NATO during those meetings which he has confirmed he attended, which is entirely believable. This is not the later claims of the spy himself, which are decidedly sketchier. And to be honest if Corbyn responds by threatening a press crackdown that hardly screams innocence.

Talking about the IRA/Hamas/Venezuela/Iran/Russia/Cuba is not a distraction. It speaks to the same despicable part of his character. What is potentially damaging to him about this is that it just adds more flesh to a narrative that many people already believe. And this is why he is so angry.
Guilt by association is a very dangerous game to play and it won't end well for either side. Politicians of all stripes meet all sorts of people. Including those that your side would regard as 'enemies'. Thatcher did, Blair did and just about every party leader has. Left and right. Unless you have evidence of anything untoward or illegal happening at such a meeting then there really is no case to answer. I am not going to berate a politician of any side for simply holding a meeting with anyone unless there is evidence of serious wrongdoing at that meeting.

You are correct, the press were right to ask questions but they got their answers - nothing happened, as confirmed by the Czech authorities. Did they accept that and retract? Of course not. So no, i'm not prepared to accept it was wrong to hold one hour long meeting with a Czech diplomat. If you can provide credible evidence that Corbyn knew that the diplomat was a spy or was paid to give secrets or that he even tried to give secrets, I will join you in your condemnation of him.

The Daily Mail were claiming to have knowledge of the contents of a Stasi file held on Corbyn... which doesn't exist. How is that not lying? That's not the press asking inconvenient questions, that's the press committing outright defamation. Have you seen the Andrew Neil interview yet btw?
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(Original post by DeBruyne18)
He wasn't claiming to crack down on the free press. He was making the point about how our 'free press' is largely controlled by a handful of tax exiles who push their own agenda through their papers under the guise of 'informing the public'.

It is absolutely not healthy or democratic to have your entire press controlled by such few people. Indeed there lies the justification for competition law which exists in all sorts of industries to prevent monopolisation. You wouldn't exactly call competition law totalitarian would you?
The government placing controls on who may own/control/edit newspapers (which you seem to be, if not quite advocating, justifying) would strike at the heart of the free press, one of the absolute most essential factors of a democratic society. It just does. You can rationalise this by saying you don't like the owners all you want, but it is outrageously anti-democratic.

And so what if they push an agenda? It's not illegal to put across your political views (yet). And, frankly, the ability of press moguls to manipulate is way overstated. People buy papers which they find they tend to agree with, and the papers desperately try to give the punters what they want. If Murdoch converted to Corbynism tomorrow and decided to push it hard in his papers, a big chunk of the sort of people who read the Sun would just get irritated and stop buying the Sun.

Guilt by association is a very dangerous game to play and it won't end well for either side. Politicians of all stripes meet all sorts of people. Including those that your side would regard as 'enemies'. Thatcher did, Blair did and just about every party leader has. Left and right. Unless you have evidence of anything untoward or illegal happening at such a meeting then there really is no case to answer.

You are correct, the press were right to ask questions but they got their answers - nothing happened, as confirmed by the Czech authorities. Did they accept that and retract? Of course not. So no, i'm not prepared to accept it was wrong to hold one hour long meeting with a Czech diplomat. If you can provide credible evidence that Corbyn knew that the diplomat was a spy or was paid to give secrets or that he even tried to give secrets, I will join you in your condemnation of him.

The Daily Mail were claiming to have knowledge of the contents of a Stasi file held on Corbyn... which doesn't exist. How is that not lying? That's not the press asking inconvenient questions, that's the press committing outright defamation. Have you seen the Andrew Neil interview yet btw?
Come off it. On the one hand we have senior politician meeting a representative of a country, through official channels, and even if we may question the morality (and people do) everyone is clear they're trying to work for the best interests of the UK. On the other we have a notoriously anti-West backbencher meeting commie spies in back rooms. Apples and oranges, my friend.

I haven't read the Daily Mail on this, can you point me towards where they claim knowledge of his Stasi report?
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(Original post by Rinsed)
The government placing controls on who may own/control/edit newspapers would strike at the heart of the free press, one of the absolute most essential factors of a democratic society. It just does. You can rationalise this by saying you don't like the owners all you want, but it is outrageously anti-democratic.

And so what if they push an agenda? It's not illegal to put across your political views (yet). And, frankly, the ability of press moguls to manipulate is way overstated. People buy papers which they find they tend to agree with, and the papers desperately try to give the punters what they want. If Murdoch converted to Corbynism tomorrow and decided to push it hard in his papers, a big chunk of the sort of people who read the Sun would just get irritated and stop buying the Sun.
Competition laws exist in all sorts of sectors. Would you call the principle of them anti-democratic? Do we want one person owning over half our media? The media has an important role to play in democratic life and it is dangerous when it becomes controlled by such few individuals.

You say the press have little influence but they have a massive influence in pushing the agenda and deciding what gets talked about. Just look at how the press have pushed this 'story' on to the mainstream. Look at how the press pushed the 'bowing' story too, for example.


Come off it. On the one hand we have senior politician meeting a representative of a country, through official channels, and even if we may question the morality (and people do) everyone is clear they're trying to work for the best interests of the UK. On the other we have a notoriously anti-West backbencher meeting commie spies in back rooms. Apples and oranges, my friend.

I haven't read the Daily Mail on this, can you point me towards where they claim knowledge of his Stasi report?

Corbyn met him in the House of Commons, not some underground pub. Again, I am never going to berate a politician for holding a meeting with anyone unless there is any evidence of serious wrongdoing or illegality or even anything untoward happening at that meeting. I have taken the same approach with Trump and Russia and criticize those making cast-iron conclusions of collusion when the evidence to prove it does not exist (so far).

Again, you haven't provided evidence that Corbyn knew he was a spy. You haven't provided evidence that they met more than once. You haven't provided evidence that Corbyn sold secrets or even tried to give secrets. It is all conjecture. If you have any credible evidence I will join you in condemning him and call for him to resign.

Here's the Daily Mail Article describing the Stasi file on Corbyn and criticizing him for not releasing it.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ed-Corbyn.html
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(Original post by DeBruyne18)
Anti-competition laws exist in all sorts of sectors. Would you call the principle of them anti-democratic? Do we want one person owning over half our media? The media has an important role to play in democratic life and it is dangerous when it becomes controlled by such few individuals.

You say the press have little influence but they have a massive influence in pushing the agenda and deciding what gets talked about. Just look at how the press have pushed this 'story' on to the mainstream. Look at how the press pushed the 'bowing' story too, for example.
You cannot seriously claim that the media is an uncompetitive sector, though. There are a number of providers who compete strongly. With the advent of the internet that is even more true. If there is one provider which dominates over all the others, by the way, it is the BBC.

I did not say the press have no influence, but they have influence only because people take their newspapers into their home and choose to trust them. At any moment any person could decide to switch the the Guardian, just by and large they don't, and you hate that.

Do you not also find Corbyn's denunciation of the press more than a little Trumpian?

Corbyn met him in the House of Commons, not some underground pub. Again, I am never going to berate a politician for holding a meeting with anyone unless there is any evidence of serious wrongdoing or illegality or even anything untoward happening at that meeting. I have taken the same approach with Trump and Russia and criticize those making cast-iron conclusions of collusion when the evidence to prove it does not exist (so far).

Again, you haven't provided evidence that Corbyn knew he was a spy. You haven't provided evidence that they met more than once. You haven't provided evidence that Corbyn sold secrets or even tried to give secrets. It is all conjecture. If you have any credible evidence I will join you in condemning him and call for him to resign.
Look, I obviously have no evidence he knew he was a spy and I have never claimed I have. Do I think it looks dodgy as hell? Yes. Do I think he ought to have known better? Also yes. Do I think the newspapers are absolutely right to ask questions about his past? Yes once again.

Here's the Daily Mail Article describing the Stasi file on Corbyn and criticizing him for not releasing it.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ed-Corbyn.html
You have misunderstood the story. The Germans said they could not find records relating specifically to Corbyn, by name. If there were, he would have to sign a release form. These are files which have already been released which refer to a group of which (although he is not mentioned by name) Corbyn was one of the leaders. Different thing. No lies here.

There's been more today too with declassified CIA files where he was mentioned because he was going to visit communist organisations in Cuba and El Salvador which they considered fronts for violent militant groups. Again, no illegality alleged, but just more demonstrations of the character of a man who has spent his whole life supporting every anti-Western cause going.
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(Original post by Rinsed)
You cannot seriously claim that the media is an uncompetitive sector, though. There are a number of providers who compete strongly. With the advent of the internet that is even more true. If there is one provider which dominates over all the others, by the way, it is the BBC.

I did not say the press have no influence, but they have influence only because people take their newspapers into their home and choose to trust them. At any moment any person could decide to switch the the Guardian, just by and large they don't, and you hate that.

Do you not also find Corbyn's denunciation of the press more than a little Trumpian?
I don't like the Guardian at all really actually. I mostly try to read the FT (due to free subscription).

Of course the press is important in a modern day society but we should also be asking questions about those who run the press, just as we should be asking questions about those who run the country or any other service.

It is relevant that many of our papers are owned by a relatively small number of tax-exiled individuals. Because they are pushing their views and they decide which stories to focus on. I also don't agree that it's as simply as people buying papers that they agree with.

I am in favour of laws which stop any individual or individuals owning such huge amounts of our press. In the same way that i'm in favour of competition laws in other sectors. That doesn't make me a totalitarian but rather I want to see our press less dominated by a handful of individuals.

I think what the press are really scared of is being replaced by social media, which is far less right wing than the print media. Indeed the last election shows it is starting to happen already.


Look, I obviously have no evidence he knew he was a spy and I have never claimed I have. Do I think it looks dodgy as hell? Yes. Do I think he ought to have known better? Also yes. Do I think the newspapers are absolutely right to ask questions about his past? Yes once again.

You have misunderstood the story. The Germans said they could not find records relating specifically to Corbyn, by name. If there were, he would have to sign a release form. These are files which have already been released which refer to a group of which (although he is not mentioned by name) Corbyn was one of the leaders. Different thing. No lies here.
I think we've gone round in circles on this point, which is both our faults really. I'll clarify my position:

If there is any evidence that Corbyn knew this guy was a spy and either sold secrets or tried to give secrets away, I will gladly call for him to go. But everything official so far, from the Czech media casts huge doubt on that. But what's clear is that this is a case of the press deciding Corbyn is guilty and working backwards to find the 'evidence' rather than of them actually asking questions to ascertain the truth of the matter.

If you're asking me if I think there's a problem simply with meeting a person he believed was a diplomat from Czechoslovakia, then no, I don't. I have the same approach about Trump and Russia. Show me the evidence of the wrongdoing and I will join in the condemnation. That's about it.

Do you not think the overreaction by some in the Tory party in calling him a traitor and actually accusing him of committing a serious criminal offence without evidence, is rather outrageous and more than anything makes your side look silly?
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(Original post by DeBruyne18)
I don't like the Guardian at all really actually. I mostly try to read the FT (due to free subscription).

Of course the press is important in a modern day society but we should also be asking questions about those who run the press, just as we should be asking questions about those who run the country or any other service.

It is relevant that many of our papers are owned by a relatively small number of tax-exiled individuals. Because they are pushing their views and they decide which stories to focus on. I also don't agree that it's as simply as people buying papers that they agree with.

I am in favour of laws which stop any individual or individuals owning such huge amounts of our press. In the same way that i'm in favour of competition laws in other sectors. That doesn't make me a totalitarian but rather I want to see our press less dominated by a handful of individuals.

I think what the press are really scared of is being replaced by social media, which is far less right wing than the print media. Indeed the last election shows it is starting to happen already.
So would you be in favour of the UK's biggest media empire being broken up, the BBC?

Anti-competition laws affect the situation where a company or group of companies use their significant market power to increase profits. There is no media provider in the UK (other than the BBC) whose market power is particularly great, and profits remain low. A lot of the large newspapers are losing money, hardly the hallmark of an oligopoly. And indeed you point out the threat to traditional media from online, which further highlights the competitiveness of the sector.

I am a big believer that the newspapers reflect their readership. I mean, Murdoch is a Brexit supporter but there is a reason the Sun backed it and the Times didn't. Even with the Mail, the Daily Mail backed Brexit and the MoS was very strongly against it. The owner of the Mail was pro-remain, but Dacre (Daily Mail editor) basically told him to **** off. I really fail to see the evidence that these moguls are efficiently enforcing their opinions on an unwilling populace.

With these Corbyn stories for instance, not everyone is as eye-rolling as you and they are being lapped by a certain chunk of people. They're doing it because it sells copy.

I think we've gone round in circles on this point, which is both our faults really.

I'll clarify my position:

If there is any evidence that Corbyn knew this guy was a spy and either sold secrets or tried to give secrets away, I will gladly call for him to go. But everything official so far, from the Czech media casts huge doubt on that. But what's clear is that this is the case of the press deciding Corbyn is guilty and working backwards to find the 'evidence' rather than of them actually asking questions to ascertain the truth of the matter.

That's about it.

Do you not think the overreaction by some in the Tory party in calling him a traitor and actually accusing him of committing a serious criminal offence without evidence, is rather outrageous and more than anything makes your side look silly?
I will certainly say some Tories have overreacted. We can agree on that. And it's a pity because there is a serious point here and it's just become a complete circus.
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(Original post by Rinsed)
So would you be in favour of the UK's biggest media empire being broken up, the BBC?

Anti-competition laws affect the situation where a company or group of companies use their significant market power to increase profits. There is no media provider in the UK (other than the BBC) whose market power is particularly great, and profits remain low. A lot of the large newspapers are losing money, hardly the hallmark of an oligopoly. And indeed you point out the threat to traditional media from online, which further highlights the competitiveness of the sector.

I am a big believer that the newspapers reflect their readership. I mean, Murdoch is a Brexit supporter but there is a reason the Sun backed it and the Times didn't. Even with the Mail, the Daily Mail backed Brexit and the MoS was very strongly against it. The owner of the Mail was pro-remain, but Dacre (Daily Mail editor) basically told him to **** off. I really fail to see the evidence that these moguls are efficiently enforcing their opinions on an unwilling populace.

With these Corbyn stories for instance, not everyone is as eye-rolling as you and they are being lapped by a certain chunk of people. They're doing it because it sells copy.



I will certainly say some Tories have overreacted. We can agree on that. And it's a pity because there is a serious point here and it's just become a complete circus.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a7790166.html

This is actually quite interesting, voting intentions by newspaper readership. Some 30% of Sun readers vote Labour and 39% of Financial Times readers vote Labour.
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(Original post by DeBruyne18)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a7790166.html

This is actually quite interesting, voting intentions by newspaper readership. Some 30% of Sun readers vote Labour and 39% of Financial Times readers vote Labour.
I've seen that. Who the hell are these 15% of Mail readers who vote Labour? My guess is husbands who let their wives deal with the newspaper bill.

But really, to me, that's another thing that chips away at the idea that readers are these easily-manipulated sheeple types.
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I've seen that. Who the hell are these 15% of Mail readers who vote Labour? My guess is husbands who let their wives deal with the newspaper bill.

But really, to me, that's another thing that chips away at the idea that readers are these easily-manipulated sheeple types.
Who knows! It does have a good sports section to be fair.

With regards to the issue of the press, I'm not really sure what I think to be honest. Obviously I know we need a 'free' press but at the same time I think it's important to get away from this romantic view of the press as being there to hold those in power to account and support the little guy.

We do need to recognise that by and large the press is owned by people who are far more interested in pushing their own narrative (whether left, right or centre) than they are in providing any sort of public service or function.

I'm not sure what should be done, or whether something should be done at all. Though in principle i'm not opposed to ensuring individuals are not able to own more than a certain amount of the media.
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a Labour leader meeting a spy from a totalitarian, communist country for some friendly chats may suggest, to some people, that his opinions veered beyond cuddly CND nonsense?
According to the spy, they discussed independence movements and in particular South Africa. Corbyn at the time was very active in the anti-apartheid movement. Czechoslovakia was also strongly anti-apartheid. Thatcher at the time wanted a whites only South Africa, supported the fascist dictator Pinochet and had a secret and illegal shoot to kill policy in Northern Ireland that involved using protestant paramilitaries to kill catholics. In that context, Corbyn talking to a representative of the Czech government is not really surprising.

(Original post by Rinsed)
If people choose to buy papers owned by Murdoch or the Barclay brothers then that is an essential democratic right which any true liberal should stand up for.
80% of the UK press is owned by right-wing millionaire tax exiles. That's not competition. There are already laws to prevent owners interfering in editorial decisions but they are not being applied. The News International hacking case showed how closely Murdoch dictated the news agenda. Elsewhere you cite the BBC, but they are under quite strong government control and have a legal requirement to remain impartial. Newspapers don't have this law and know that if they print lies that don't libel an individual they can just put a small correction at the bottom of page 7.
Some of these lies have been outrageous. Take for example the story about Corbyn dancing to the cenotaph on Remembrance day, when it turned out that person he was walking with had been photoshopped out of the pictures. Or the Sun headline about the EU supporting hundreds of thousands of health tourists travelling to the Uk to use the NHS, when in fact the EU had not done any such thing, and there was no evidence that the health tourism they wrote about had even happened. These are not errors. They are deliberate lies. They are also affect the way that people vote. There will always be newspaper bias, and newspapers must have the freedom to print whatever truths they want. It was the Telegraph that exposed the MP expenses scandal which rightfully put a Labour MP in jail. However, if there was a law which stated that any example of fake news had to have a correction the same size as the original article it would soon make the editors think twice about printing lies.

There was an academic study done in 2016 looking at media reporting of Corbyn https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/new...ply&p=76238020
Here is one conclusion
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(Original post by Lit teacher)
According to the spy, they discussed independence movements and in particular South Africa. Corbyn at the time was very active in the anti-apartheid movement. Czechoslovakia was also strongly anti-apartheid. Thatcher at the time wanted a whites only South Africa, supported the fascist dictator Pinochet and had a secret and illegal shoot to kill policy in Northern Ireland that involved using protestant paramilitaries to kill catholics. In that context, Corbyn talking to a representative of the Czech government is not really surprising.
I think that's a very biased portrait of Thatcher but, whatever, my new principle is not to engage on whatabaoutery, which is just a bad line of argument intended to distract from the issue at hand.

But lets say for a moment that all that were true, there is no doubt that Thatcher was intent on furthering British interests. Corbyn was a Soviet-sympathising radical who supported every anti-British cause going. This is the context in which him hanging out with communist agents is not surprising. And even if Thatcher did do morally dubious things that does not absolve Corbyn. One would think the lefty messiah should be able to be held to a higher standard, no?

80% of the UK press is owned by right-wing millionaire tax exiles. That's not competition. There are already laws to prevent owners interfering in editorial decisions but they are not being applied. The News International hacking case showed how closely Murdoch dictated the news agenda. Elsewhere you cite the BBC, but they are under quite strong government control and have a legal requirement to remain impartial. Newspapers don't have this law and know that if they print lies that don't libel an individual they can just put a small correction at the bottom of page 7.
Some of these lies have been outrageous. Take for example the story about Corbyn dancing to the cenotaph on Remembrance day, when it turned out that person he was walking with had been photoshopped out of the pictures. Or the Sun headline about the EU supporting hundreds of thousands of health tourists travelling to the Uk to use the NHS, when in fact the EU had not done any such thing, and there was no evidence that the health tourism they wrote about had even happened. These are not errors. They are deliberate lies. They are also affect the way that people vote.There will always be newspaper bias, and newspapers must have the freedom to print whatever truths they want. It was the Telegraph that exposed the MP expenses scandal which rightfully put a Labour MP in jail. However, if there was a law which stated that any example of fake news had to have a correction the same size as the original article it would soon make the editors think twice about printing lies.

There was an academic study done in 2016 looking at media reporting of Corbyn https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/new...ply&p=76238020
Here is one conclusion
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There are multiple examples where editors have gone against the wishes of their owners on major policy stances. The Times backed remain when Murdoch supported Brexit, the Daily Mail backed leave despite the owner allegedly putting pressure on Dacre to back remain.

This country already has amongst the strongest libel laws in the world (arguably too strong). Newspapers cannot just do what they want with impunity. I think it would be dreadful if, as Leveson suggests, we end up in a situation where some quango gets final say over what newspapers should and shouldn't be able to say. You bring up MPs expenses, which is an excellent example of investigative reporting which could easily have been brushed under the carpet if editors had been worried about the political and regulatory heat they might cop.

Papers which print falsehoods damage their reputation, and it seems to many on the left are mainly indignant that people continue to trust the Mail and Sun in such large numbers. I mean, the Mirror prints some rubbish too, but somehow that never generates the same outrage.
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(Original post by Rinsed)
I think that's a very biased portrait of Thatcher... there is no doubt that Thatcher was intent on furthering British interests.
There is massive doubt that Thatcher was intent on furthering British interests. How is it in our interests to support a fascist dictator in Chile, any more than it would have been to support a Communist state in Czechoslovakia? It clearly wasn't in our long-term interests to support apartheid in South Africa, or the shooting of IRA suspects in Ireland.
(Original post by Rinsed)
Corbyn was a Soviet-sympathising radical who supported every anti-British cause going... that does not absolve Corbyn.
If Corbyn had a part in bringing peace in Northern Ireland (and John Major can take a large part of the credit for this) how is that anti-British? Is it anti-British to stop British troops being killed in the streets? How is opposing apartheid anti-British? It was a position supported by the majority of British citizens and enabled the UK to salvage some moral integrity. You say it does not absolve Corbyn. Absolve Corbyn of what? Openly discussing apartheid with someone who turned out to be a Czech agent, and explaining his dislike of the Tory party? That's all he's been found guilty of. Hardly a crime, and certainly not something that requires forgiveness.

(Original post by Rinsed)
There are multiple examples where editors have gone against the wishes of their owners on major policy stances. The Times backed remain when Murdoch supported Brexit, the Daily Mail backed leave despite the owner allegedly putting pressure on Dacre to back remain.
For an in-depth study of Brexit reporting, try here http://oxfordstudent.com/2016/05/29/...o-brexit-bias/
"45% of national newspaper articles were pro-Brexit in the two months after 20 February, while 27% have been in favour of remaining in the EU. A further 19% were mixed and 9% took no position...The Times was “relatively evenly balanced … with a slight preponderance of pro-Leave articles”. "UK politicians were quoted 36% of the time in articles on the referendum, but the mix was far from balanced. 69% of them were Conservative, and only 14% were from Labour"

The UK does have strong libel laws, which are sometimes abused, but they do not apply to organisations. This means that outright lies can be printed against an organisation such as the EU with the only consequence being the need to print a tiny correction later on. Here's the one for their front page article I mentioned earlier. It was printed on the bottom corner of page 2.

"OUR 21 October headline “Brussels: UK’s 600,000 benefit tourists is no problem” was not accurate. There is no evidence of 600,000 “benefit tourists” in the UK. Neither has the European Commission said this would be no problem."
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