Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Rotterdam of mixed Dutch-Egyptian parentage, Blake was active in the anti-Nazi Dutch resistance and eventually worked for SOE. After World War II he was recruited by MI6 and worked on establishing agent networks in Soviet occupied Eastern Europe. He was later sent to Korea, and was in Seoul when it was overrun by the North Koreans. During three years as a prisoner of the North Koreans, he became converted to communism - suggested by some as a result of "brainwashing", although he insists his conversion was voluntary. After his release by the North Koreans, he was sent by MI6 to work as a double agent in Berlin, where he was actually a "triple agent"; he betrayed details of hundreds of MI6 agents to the Soviets.
In 1959 he was exposed by Polish defector Michael Goleniewski . In 1961 after an in camera trial, he was sentenced to 42 years imprisonment, which was said by newspapers to represent one year for each of the agents killed when he betrayed them. This remains longest sentence ever handed down by a British court. However just five years later he escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison with the help of Pat Pottle, Michael Randle and Sean Bourke, three members of the Committee of 100 whom he had met there.
Blake fled to the USSR. He divorced his wife, with whom he had three children, and started a new life. In 1990 he published his autobiography No Other Choice. The book's British publisher had paid him about £60,000 before the government intervened to stop him profiting from sales.
As of 2004, he is still living in Moscow, Russia on a KGB pension, and remains a committed communist. Blake denied being a traitor, insisting that he had never felt British: "To betray, you first have to belong. I never belonged."
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