Reportage

The Philby Tape

New video of Kim Philby found by the BBC…

spy-philbyThe BBC have managed to unearth a ‘new’ video of British master spy and traitor, Kim Philby. Said to have been found in official Stasi files in Berlin it shows Philby giving an hour long lecture to East German spies in 1981, seven years before his death in the Soviet Union.

‘The Philby Tape’ is being aired tonight on BBC Radio 4 at 20.00 BST and will broadcast the hour long lecture. Whether or not the BBC will show the full video as well as the audio at some point is unclear, the video footage is grainy and the audio badly synchronised but I suppose that only adds to the mystique which still surrounds him.

Personally, it is hard to think of the lecture as nothing more than a chance for a washed-up, alcoholic, unemployed spy to boast about his well documented exploits to a group of star struck Stasi officers brainwashed into believing he was still of some importance. Here we find an old man who has retained his British upper class accent addressing his audience as ‘Dear Comrades’. It all seems so delusional and pointless. During the lecture he describes how, being from the higher echelons of society it helped not only his career but also his chances of being captured. He actually does his own exploits little service by bragging about the ease in which he smuggled out documents for his Soviet contact to photograph.

Whilst it is a scoop of sorts for the BBC I for one shall not be listening to the full audio. I am tired of Philby and his portrayal by the media. So much has been made of how he conned ‘us’ for so long, the romance of the Cambridge spies and his escape and so very little about his callous contempt for the many, many people who were put to death as a direct result of his treachery.

He was an upper class, foolish idealist who belonged to a group of similar activists which seemed to barely notice or care about the savagery of Stalin and the oppressive nature of Communism on its people. Philby is a squalid reminder of a dirty ‘game’ played by opposing sides of a ridiculous conflict which caused the deaths of far too many innocent lives. Frankly, I am bored of him and his so-called legacy.

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