The first comprehensive history of the UK government overseas intelligence service, MI6, by an acknowledged expert and author of the highly acclaimed Smear!
Epitomised in the public imagination by James Bond, MI6’s svelte and glamorous image has been peeled away by Dorril’s searching investigations to reveal a less savoury truth. Here is the story of MI6’s recruitment operation after WW2 of former Nazis; anticommunist guerrilla campaigns in the Ukraine and the Baltic States; Operation Stalin which led to mass arrests and executions ordered by Stalin; the European terrorist network ‘Gladio’; tunnels built in Vienna and Berlin known as operation ‘Gold and Silver’ ;and many other little-known operations. The dealings of George Blake, Oleg Penkowsky, Kim Philby and Maurice Oldfield, among others, are also fully explained, as are the many tensions that have existed and to some extent still exist between MI6 and its sister intelligence organisations especially in contentious territories such as Ireland. Post Cold War, Dorril discusses what role, if any, MI6 will have in the future.
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MI6 is one of Britain’s most elusive organisations. Its head, Richard Dearlove, is virtually unknown – a contemporary photograph has never appeared in the press. Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service clamps down on any dissident reports of its activities and despite the architectural prominence of its London headquarters at Vauxhall Cross, its operations and structures remain veiled from scrutiny. Even its true budget is a secret.
To write about MI6 risks harassment and prosecution, as former members and current commentators know to their cost. It is impossible, under the laws presently shielding MI6 and its sister service, MI5, to write about its daily activities: there is no right to know what is undertaken abroad today in the name of Britain’s security. But MI6 has a history, and that reveals a great deal.
Stephen Dorril is a meticulous observer and chronicler of the security services, and in this portrait he offers the fullest possible vision of MI6’s motives, character and, crucially, what it has done and where it has been most influential. At the beginning of the Cold War, Britain was a global power literally dividing up the world. By 1992 influence abroad had been lost in the Middle East, most of Africa and large swathes of Asia, and even in Europe Britain seemed exiled and isolated. What had MI6 been doing? MI6’s post-war activities were grounded in pre-war attitudes and practices, at home in the clubs of Pall Mall and St James but little suited to a retreating post-imperial power. Britain’s management of the Cold War was in the itching hands of a mixture of frustrated former members of the wartime SOE, desperate for active military engagements, anxious reactionaries who saw more to fear from Clement Attlee’s Labour Party than from any red menace abroad, and a few socialist devotees for whom communism was the future and spying the career of choice.
Here for the first time is an operational history of MI6’s activities and attitudes in action. It is at times stirring, at other times full of bathos or low farce. Symbolic of the entire period is the lengthy and expensive operation to dig a tunnel under East Berlin to intercept Soviet information. The tunnel took years to dig, and was known to the East Germans before it became operational. When it finally went live it intercepted such a vast amount of data that it took decoders in the UK three years to sift through all the information – by which time those items that were not faked were out of date.
MI6 is a vital, essential arm of the state. It is Britain’s player at the chessboard of international intelligence-gathering. Dorril’s is a searching story of the characters and situations in which the games have been played, from the back streets of Aden to the Brandenburg Gate, the mountains of Albania to the shores of the Black Sea. This is a discreet history of half a century of international political intriguing, spying and thuggery – all in the name of intelligence.About the Author:
Stephen Dorril has worked on Lobster, the journal devoted to the activities of the intelligence agencies. He is the author of Smear and a book about MI5, The Silent Conspiracy, and with Anthony Summers, Honey Trap, about the Profumo affair.
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Descripción Sage Publications Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M1857020936