Mehdi Ben Barka, a spy in the pay of the Czechoslovakians? “An attack on the memory” of the leader of the left, according to his son

Ddeclassified archives, brought up to date last weekend in an article by The Observer – the Sunday edition of the British newspaper The Guardian -, would show that Mehdi Ben Barka, kidnapped and murdered in 1965, would have been a spy “opportunistic” in the pay of the Czechoslovak secret services. This article takes up a study by the researcher from Charles University in Prague, Jan Koura, published in November 2020 in the journal Intelligence and National Security, as noted LeDesk.

Based on recently declassified documents, the Czech professor claims that Mehdi Ben Barka, one of the leaders of the Third World movement, had a close relationship with Czechoslovak intelligence (the StB), and was paid for its services. If he reproduces in detail an article by a Czech journalist published by the weekly The Express in 2007, the new article by The Observer did not fail to react the left parties in Morocco, the USFP in the lead.

Attack on the memory of Mehdi Ben Barka

The reaction of the Ben Barka family, too, was not long in coming. In a press release signed by Bachir Ben Barka, including As is holds a copy, the son of the former left-wing leader sees these revelations “an attack on the memory of Mehdi Ben Barka, one of the important leaders of the Third World, symbol of resistance to colonialism and the fight against neo-colonialism, Zionism and imperialism”. One attack among many others which “are spreading insidiously in recent years”.

“Rather than attacking his ideas and his militant background, his enemies, adversaries and detractors try to pass him off as ‘some’ spy in the pay of this or that intelligence service”

Bachir Ben Barka

Because this is not the first time that the memory and the figure of Mehdi Ben Barka have been attacked, believes his son and spokesperson for the Bachir Ben Barka family. “Rather than attacking his ideas and his militant background, his enemies, his adversaries and his detractors try to pass him off as ‘some’ spy in the pay of this or that intelligence service, today the StB Czechoslovakia, yesterday the Israeli Mossad, why not tomorrow the CIA or even the Moroccan Cab1?”, He regrets in this press release entitled“ Like weeds, slander grows back continually ”.

If she says to herself “deeply shocked and indignant by these ‘pseudo-revelations’ fabricated voluntarily, without any hindsight or analysis of the situations, of the historical and political context …”, The family of Mehdi Ben Barka maintains that the objective is to“undermine the memory of Mehdi Ben Barka, distort the meaning of his political action and his thought, in favor of the peoples’ struggle against colonialism, imperialism and Zionism, for their political and social emancipation and for the democracy”.

An indisputable past

Basically, Bachir Ben Barka regrets that the researcher has lost sight of “he (declassified documents, editor’s note) it is about ‘raw material’ produced by an intelligence service, perhaps redacted or incomplete, in any case subject to caution”. And to wonder: “So in the absence of material evidence, should we take the authors of these articles at their word when they make such ridiculous claims about the leader of the Afro-Asian movement, the progressive activist with an indisputable past?? ”

“So in the absence of material evidence, should the authors of these articles be taken at their word?”

Bachir Ben Barka

For the son of the left leader, Jan Koura, taken over by The Observer, a “completely neglected the geopolitical environment of the period concerned”. Bachir Ben Barka thus presents Prague as the seat of progressive international organizations, an obligatory passage for political leaders of international organizations such as the Afro-Asian Peoples’ Solidarity Organization (OSPAA), of which he was a member of the secretariat, to join some African capitals. , Asians and Cuba.

From a purely practical point of view, their travel and stay tickets were paid for either directly by the treasuries of these organizations, or subcontracted by the local solidarity committees (for example the Czechoslovak committee) which served as relays. to the international financial aid of the socialist camp (…) Aid was also provided through Czechoslovakia, in order to support the political action of the progressive forces (material, training of militants, scholarships, etc.)”, Justifies Bachir Ben Barka.

Terminology problem

In its press release, the Ben Barka family also raises “A terminology problem ”:“From the point of view of the StB – the only one presented in the article by Jan Koura and taken up byThe Observer – Mehdi Ben Barka is presented either as a source or as an agent. The nuance is important. One can be an involuntary source without, however, becoming an agent. It all depends on the point of view from which one places oneself. None of the documents consulted by Koura removes the doubt.“And to specify:”In the only document relating to his alleged ‘recruitment’, dated 1963, Mehdi Ben Barka’s first name becomes ‘Mohamed’”.

In the eyes of Bachir Ben Barka, his father’s analyzes of the situation in Morocco, Africa and the Third World in general were important. “There was no reason why he should not pass it on to a diplomat or politician from a ‘friendly country’. He was in his role of political leader and did not deprive himself of it. He had regular working meetings with heads of state like Nasser from Egypt, Ben Bella from Algeria or N’Krumah from Ghana and others… ”

Still according to the same source, Mehdi Ben Barka “did not need the intermediary of a second secretary of the Czechoslovak embassy in Paris or to go through Prague to interact with Soviet officials. These contacts already existed when he was president of the Moroccan National Consultative Assembly, after Morocco’s independence.”.

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