Saturday, July 11, 2009

Inside British Intelligence

I'm reading a big fat hardback book at the moment, which means I am reading it slowly, since it is too heavy to carry on the bus to work without wrecking my handbag, and reading it at night makes my wrist ache.

I saw this feature in today's Guardian, and thought 'I bet Richard Norton Taylor has already finished his copy'. The book is 'Inside British Intelligence' by Gordon Thomas and covers 100 years of M15 and M16. It is quite pacily written but, four chapters in, I've already spotted some daft mistakes in which make me rather suspicious of just how accurate it is. Like thinking Finsbury Park Mosque is 'in Regent's Park, London', ( p.50) and that Anjem Choudary was one of 'several former students arrested for plotting to blow up transatlantic airliners' (p.53); no, he wasn't and isn't. Hmmmm. reports that M15 and M16 were not happy about the book being published in the UK - it was first published in the U.S) and it is very much an 'unauthorised biography' rather than an official history (a 'with the co-operation of...' tome is to be published this October, apparently, and will no doubt be dull as ditchwater.)

I'll put a full review up when I've finished. I've been meaning to do a round up of short reviews of loads of books I have been reading recently, but as J has just pointed out we are meant to be spending the weekend changing the study into a bedroom, I had better log off and start filling up boxes.

Have a good weekend.


Blogger Andy Ramblings said...

You too have a good week-end :)

July 11, 2009 5:21 pm  
Blogger Ellie Malet said...

I can't think who else to ask this question of but since you are from north London, as I used to be, perhaps you can tell me that, if the 30 bus that was blown up had Hackney on the front, wouldn't it have been driving towards King's Cross rather than away from it?? A minor point, perhaps, but one that has puzzled me for a long time. Thanks if you feel like considering this.
Ellie Malet

July 14, 2009 7:35 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Ellie

The 30 bus route eastwards was along Euston Rd heading for Kings Cross, but it was diverted along Upper Woburn Place, as were other buses, and other traffic, so that the emergency services could reach King's Cross and Russell Square areas where the bomb had exploded before 9am. It is believed Hussein caught a number 91 bus from outside Kings Cross to Euston, then got off and got on the Number 30 heading back towards Kings Cross.

I'm not sure if the 30 bus he caught did actually had 'Hackney' on the front, in the pictures after the explosion, the front is damaged and the route display panel is damaged? Certainly Hackney is semi-visible - but so are other destinations - the front route display panel is hanging off and the explosion has damaged it quite badly.

*there is probably another word for it other than 'route display panel' but I don't know the technical term

Here is a picture so you can see what I mean

July 14, 2009 7:58 pm  
Blogger DAVE BONES said...

ha ha Have you thought of ripping the book in half?

July 15, 2009 12:30 am  
Blogger Philip said...

Pedantry Warning It's MI5 and MI6, not M15 and M16. They're sardonically-named Military Intelligence departments, not GI rifles.

Word Verification: sheation, a spring, summer, autumn or winter which is very drunk.

July 15, 2009 11:21 am  
Blogger Paul said...

Funfact: Gore Vidal was once interviewed on ITV, by Russell Harty (I think); speaking about the evils of the intelligence and security networks, Vidal referred constantly to 'M Fifteen,' which rather blunted his argument.

Word verification: Clednes, the lost seaside town of Yorkshire legend, where the chip shops are always frying tonight and the postcards are always smutty.

July 20, 2009 2:19 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

I *always* write M1 not MI. It has become an annoying tic, even though I know it is wrong. Like my inability to spell propaganda.

One day I will learn.

Mr Thomas' book is a pacey-ish thing, but it is absolutely full of inaccuracies. Pages and pages of them, many absolute howlers. And his cited sources - Tomlinson, Machon, even David 'Dolores the Messiah' Shayler - don't exactly inspire one with confidence.

There is a huge market for this sort of thing though, as I now realise. Not many girls seem to read this stuff though.

July 20, 2009 4:21 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

hi rachel,
its hard to believe how fast summer 2009 is moving along. where did all the time go?

hard to believe that its been four years since the tragic events of 7/7.there was essentially no coverage here in ny. we are also coming up on the 8th anniversary of 9-11 and so many have either forgotten or want to forget.

am keeping an eye on my dad as he is having some health issues. have started re-doing my bathroom which is more complex than i thought.

I also bought the dvd for "v for vendetta" at the local borders store for $6 and change. they are phasing out DVD sales-why I have no clue.

Take care and be well.

Seth :)

July 22, 2009 5:25 pm  
Blogger MadJack said...

From what I read it looked like yet more conspiracy theorist wet dreams, especially as the primary sources seem to be the loony/discredited. Then my opinion was reinforced by this

totally agree with it

July 28, 2009 10:01 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

I can completely sympathise with the heavy book thing. I have a beautiful bag that I carry and I have been also carrying a Tesco bag everywhere to hosue my huge hardback book that i can't put down. Not convinced of the look.

Would love to see your reviews when you get a chance to put them up.

Kate x

September 05, 2009 10:12 pm  

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