30 May 2005


Patrick Cockburn has a fascinating account of MI5’s surveillance of his father Claud in the Independent today, extracted from his memoir of his childhood, The Broken Boy. The extract makes much of the sheer scale of the spooks’ surveillance – but I wonder whether it really is so surprising. As editor of his newsletter The Week and in various roles on the Daily Worker during the 1930s and 1940s, Cockburn senior was the most prominent Stalinist journalist in the Anglophone world and a close associate of Otto Katz, a notorious fixer for the Soviet Union’s international propaganda network. If there was anyone MI5 had a prima facie case for watching, it was Claud Cockburn.

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