Quand on parle des femmes agents secrets, les noms de Mata Hari ou de Christine Keeler viennent à l’esprit. Pourtant ces dernières n’ont pas été de vraies espionnes : elles ont seulement servi d’appât sexuel dans de grandes affaires d’espionnage. La réalité des « agents secrètes » est tout autre. Dominique Prieur de la DGSE, Stella Rimington, la chef du MI5 britannique, ou Marita Lorenz, l’espionne de Fidel Castro, ont toutes mené des carrières plus discrètes, mais aussi plus passionnantes. Durant des années, Wilhelm Dietl, l’un des experts allemands du renseignement, a rencontré d’anciennes espionnes, parfois encore actives, et leur a demandé de raconter leur vie. Ces différents témoignages convergent sur un point : que ce soit par instinct, par ruse ou par connaissance du terrain, les nouvelles Jane Bond remportent souvent plus de succès que leurs collègues masculins. L’auteur nous ouvre les portes du monde caché de ces femmes travaillant au sein de la DGSE, de la CIA, du MI5, du KGB, du Mossad ou de la Stasi. Il nous révèle leurs discrètes victoires mais aussi leurs échecs, leurs histoires d’amour teintées d’amertume et les odieuses trahisons dont elles sont parfois victimes. Le voile de mystère qui flottait sur ces mythes féminins est désormais levé.
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The New Nobility
In The New Nobility, two courageous Russian investigative journalists open up the closed and murky world of the Russian Federal Security Service. While Vladimir Putin has been president and prime minister of Russia, the Kremlin has deployed the security services to intimidate the political opposition, reassert the power of the state, and carry out assassinations overseas. At the same time, its agents and spies were put beyond public accountability and blessed with the prestige, benefits, and legitimacy lost since the Soviet collapse. The security services have played a central— and often mysterious—role at key turning points in Russia during these tumultuous years: from the Moscow apartment house bombings and theater siege, to the war in Chechnya and the Beslan massacre. The security services are not all-powerful; they have made clumsy and sometimes catastrophic blunders. But what is clear is that after the chaotic 1990s, when they were sidelined, they have made a remarkable return to power, abetted by their most famous alumnus, Putin.
The Defence of the Realm
To mark the centenary of its foundation, the British Security Service, MI5, opened its archives to an independent historian. The Defence of the Realm, the book which results, is an unprecedented publication, It reveals the precise role of the Service in twentieth-century British history, from its foundation by Captain Kell of the British Army in October 1909 to root out 'the spies of the Kaiser' up to its present role in countering Islamic terrorism. It describes the distinctive ethos of MI5, how the organization has been managed, its relationship with the government, where it has triumphed and where it has failed. In all of this, no restriction has been placed on the judgements made by the author. The book also casts new light on many events and periods in British history, showing for example that though well-placed sources MI5 was probably the pre-war department with the best understanding of Hitler's objectives, and had a remarkable willingness to speak truth to power; how it was so astonishingly successful in turning German agents during the Second World War; and that it had much greater roles than has hitherto been realized during the end of the Empire and in responding to the recurrent fears of successive governments (both Conservative and Labour) and or Cold War Communist subversion. It has new information about the Profumo affair and its aftermath, about the 'Magnificent Five' and about a range of formerly unconfirmed Soviet contacts. It reveals that though MI5 had a file on Harold Wilson it did not plot against him, and it describes what really happened during the failed IRA attack in Gibraltar in March 1988.
The whistleblower of Dimona
In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a technician at Israel's highly secret nuclear arms research centre at Dimona, disclosed highly classified details about Israel's nuclear arms program to the London Sunday Times. As a result, Vanunu was kidnapped from London and taken back to Israel where, after a closed door trial, he was sentenced to eighteen years imprisonment for espionage and treason. Cohen discusses, among other questions, whether Israel should have the bomb, whether Vanunu was justified in his whistle blowing, and what the responsibilities of the Sunday Times are toward its informer. The book traces Vanunu's personal history and probes the lack of internal security at Dimona, which made it possible for Vanunu to provide the Sunday Times with such information. The book provides the first extensive publication of the deliberations at Vanunu's trial held behind closed doors. It is drawn from thousands of pages of court transcripts made available to the author. These include sensational testimony by senior Israeli ministers and officials intimately involved with the Dimona project. Cohen examines the consequences of the Vanunu Affair for Israel's intelligence community, the Israel-Arab balance of power, and the nuclear development of Iraq and Iran. Cohen also makes use of the most recent information available, integrating the records of the Vanunu trial that, until late 1999, had not been released by the Israeli courts.
Confronting Backlash States
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Code Name Pauline
Pearl Witherington Cornioley, one of the most celebrated female World War II resistance fighters, shares her remarkable story in this firsthand account of her experience as a special agent for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Told through a series of reminiscences—from a difficult childhood spent in the shadow of World War I and her family’s harrowing escape from France as the Germans approached in 1940 to her recruitment and training as a special agent and the logistics of parachuting into a remote rural area of occupied France and hiding in a wheat field from enemy fire—each chapter also includes helpful opening remarks to provide context and background on the SOE and the French Resistance. With an annotated list of key figures, an appendix of original unedited interview extracts—including Pearl’s fiancé Henri’s story—and fascinating photographs and documents from Pearl’s personal collection, this memoir will captivate World War II buffs of any age.
This is the riveting story of Noor Inayat Khan, a descendant of an Indian Prince Tipu Sultan (the Tiger of Mysore), who became a British secret agent for SOE during World War II. Shrabani Basu tells the moving story of Noor's life, from her birth in Moscow - where her father was a Sufi preacher - to her capture by the Germans. Noor was one of only three women SOE agents awarded the George Cross and, under torture, revealed nothing, not even her own real name. Kept in solitary confinement, her hands and feet chained together, Noor was starved and beaten, but the Germans could not break her spirit. Then months after she was captured, she was taken to Dachau concentration camp and, on 13th September 194, she was shot. Her last word was 'Liberté'.
A Life In Secrets
During World War Two the Special Operation Executive's French Section sent more than 400 agents into Occupied France -- at least 100 never returned and were reported 'Missing Believed Dead' after the war. Twelve of these were women who died in German concentration camps -- some were tortured, some were shot, and some died in the gas chambers. Vera Atkins had helped prepare these women for their missions, and when the war was over she went out to Germany to find out what happened to them and the other agents lost behind enemy lines. But while the woman who carried out this extraordinary mission appeared quintessentially English, she was nothing of the sort. Vera Atkins, who never married, covered her life in mystery so that even her closest family knew almost nothing of her past. In A LIFE IN SECRETS Sarah Helm has stripped away Vera's many veils and -- with unprecedented access to official and private papers, and the cooperation of Vera's relatives -- vividly reconstructed an extraordinary life.
The Secret Ministry of Ag Fish
‘My mother thought I was working for the Ministry of Ag. and Fish.’ So begins Noreen Riols’ compelling memoir of her time as a member of Churchill’s ‘secret army’, the Special Operations Executive. It was 1943, just before her eighteenth birthday, Noreen received her call-up papers, and was faced with either working in a munitions factory or joining the Wrens. A typically fashion-conscious young woman, even in wartime, Noreen opted for the Wrens - they had better hats. But when one of her interviewers realized she spoke fluent French, she was directed to a government building on Baker Street. It was SOE headquarters, where she was immediately recruited into F-Section, led by Colonel Maurice Buckmaster. From then until the end of the war, Noreen worked with Buckmaster and her fellow operatives to support the French Resistance fighting for the Allied cause. Sworn to secrecy, Noreen told no one that she spent her days meeting agents returning from behind enemy lines, acting as a decoy, passing on messages in tea rooms and picking up codes in crossword puzzles. Vivid, witty, insightful and often moving, this is the story of one young woman’s secret war, offering readers an authentic and compelling insight into what really went on in Churchill’s ‘secret army’ from one of its last surviving members.