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The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War: Katharine Gun and the Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq Invasion
British secret service officer Katharine Gun's only crime was telling the truth, but she paid a steep price when she exposed a U.S.-U.K. spy operation to secure UN authorization for the Iraq invasion. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, this book tells the story of the young woman Sean Penn describes as "a hero of the human spirit."
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Polipoint Press
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Feb 18, 2016 James rated it it was amazing
Well-rounded, fascinating, and inspiring. The authors go beyond relating the story of Katharine Gun's whistle-blower leak of an NSA message to their counterpart organization in the UK, the GCHQ, asking Britain to collaborate in illegally bugging the delegates of other UN Security Council members to get leverage to manipulate or coerce them into supporting a resolution to back the Iraq invasion in 2003. Gun worked at GCHQ as a Mandarin translator, and was horrified when she saw the message - she ...more
Arm Chair Generals ... those in the US Congress and Executive office anyway, needed to be stopped! I'm glad that Katharine had the guts to say, "Wait a minute ... that's a bald-faced lie." As those were the very same words I was uttering during the whole lead-up to the invasion, although I didn't have the proof sitting in my hands. If I knew then (or knew that I knew) what I know now about the stupidity of the whole fiasco, I would have done the same thing! Although the book is basically built o ...more
I was fascinated by this book. Normally I don't read current events books until they've faded into distant memory; but when Katherine Gun was charged and she in turn accused the US and Blair of conspiring to spy on UN members and pressuring them to align with their goal of war against Iraq, I remember thinking it was going to be a real sh- - storm, and then nothing. I couldn't understand how or why it could be dropped so quickly by the US mainstream media (they're all supposed to be conservative ...more
The account being told here is fascinating and Katharine Gun's story deserved to be told so that she could be recognised for the immensely brave thing she did. However, as much as I enjoyed reading about her, the book was, at times, quite boring. I would have enjoyed I more, I think, if it had focussed more on the narrative of Katharine and less on the wider political narrative.
I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but this wasn't nearly as exciting as I had hoped. It felt more like an article that had been stretched into a book. I understand this was the basis for the movie Official Secrets and I would be interested to see that.