History 2

The History Thieves: Secrets, Lies and the Shaping of a by Ian Cobain

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By Ian Cobain

In 1889, the 1st legit secrets and techniques Act used to be handed, growing offences of 'disclosure of knowledge' and 'breach of legit trust'. It constrained and monitored what the general public may well, and will, learn. because then a tradition of secrecy has flourished. As successive governments were selective approximately what they decide to percentage with the general public, we have now been left with a distorted and incomplete realizing not just of the workings of the country yet of our nation's tradition and its previous. during this very important new e-book, Ian Cobain bargains a clean appraisal of a few of the main moments in British historical past because the finish of WWII, together with: the measures taken to hide the lifestyles of Bletchley Park and its successor, GCHQ, for 3 many years; the unreported wars fought through the Sixties and Seventies; the hidden hyperlinks with terrorist cells in the course of the issues; the occasionally opaque workings of the legal justice process; the state's peacetime surveillance concepts; and the handy loopholes within the Freedom of data Act. Drawing on formerly unseen fabric and rigorous learn, The heritage Thieves unearths how a posh bureaucratic desktop has grown up round the British country, permitting governments to circumvent responsibility and their secrets and techniques to be buried.

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Sample text

This conflagration became known – to those in the know – as Operation Legacy, and it was intended to erase all trace of the darker deeds of Britain’s colonial enterprise. Thousands more files were spirited away from the colonies and hidden for decades in a high-security intelligence facility in the south-east of England. The British state of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century was attempting to protect the reputation of the British state of generations earlier, concealing and manipulating history – sculpting an official narrative – in a manner more associated with a dictatorship than with a mature and confident democracy.

This was a moment when the British Empire was feeling surprisingly vulnerable, and many of those on Oxford Street would have regarded an invasion by the Hun as a real and terrifying possibility. No doubt it would have been something of a relief to see that some of the men in uniform were handing out leaflets bearing the words The Invasion of 1910 – the title of a new novel that was being serialised in that morning’s Daily Mail. This may just have been a way of whipping up public interest, but it was a stunt – and a novel – that spoke directly to a mood of fear that was starting to grip Edwardian Britain.

During the first decade of the century alone, around 300 invasion novels were published in Britain, including the most famous of them all, The Riddle of the Sands. Written by another Boer War veteran, Erskine Childers, and published in 1903, The Riddle of the Sands is a yarn about two gentlemen yachtsmen, Carruthers of the Foreign Office and his friend Davies, stumbling across a German invasion plot while sailing along Germany’s Baltic coast. Its epilogue warned that Britain faced an enemy with ‘a peculiar genius for organisation’, that its navy was understrength, and that ‘we have no North Sea naval base, no North Sea Fleet, no North Sea policy’.

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