Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Third Man: British Traitor And Spy Kim Philby Fled To Soviet Union 50 Years Ago Today

Neil Tweedie at the British newspaper the Telegraph wrote an interesting piece on the 50th anniversary of the defection of British Traitor and spy Kim Philby to the Soviet Union.

Fifty years ago tonight, as a fierce storm lashed Beirut, a lean, middle-aged man quietly closed the door of his flat, situated on a hill overlooking the city, and made his way down five flights of stairs into the darkness of the Rue Kantari. Checking to ensure he was not being followed, he walked quickly through streets awash with water to the port, and a waiting ship, the Dolmatova. The freighter hauled anchor the minute the man came aboard, heading out into the turbulent Mediterranean. The hammer and sickle flew from her stern; Odessa was her destination. After a quarter of a century in the shadows, Kim Philby was finally on his way to the spiritual home he had visited only in his thoughts.

The defection of Philby to the Soviet Union on January 23 1963 is one of the great dramatic moments of the Cold War. With his departure that night, the humiliation inflicted on Britain’s secret world by the Cambridge Spy Ring was almost complete. Nine years previously, Harold Macmillan, then Foreign Secretary, had stood in the House of Commons to declare that there was no evidence to suggest Philby was the so-called Third Man, who had helped the spies Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to flee to Russia in 1951. But he was.

There was a Fourth Man, too – Anthony Blunt – and a Fifth, John Cairncross, who helped betray the secret of the atomic bomb. But Philby stands out as the archetypal traitor, the subject of admiration in MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, even as he sent agents to their deaths behind the Iron Curtain.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

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