A morality tale for the 21st century, Official Secrets tells the true story of British Intelligence whistle-blower Katharine Gun who, during the immediate run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, leaked a top secret NSA memo exposing a joint US-UK illegal spying operation against members of the UN Security Council. The memo proposed blackmailing smaller, undecided member states into voting for war. At great personal and professional risk, journalist Martin Bright published the leaked document in The Observer newspaper in London, and the story made headlines around the world. Members of the Security Council were outraged and any chance of a UN resolution in favour of war collapsed. But within days, Bush declared he no longer needed UN backing and invaded anyway. As Iraq descended into chaos, Katharine was arrested and charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act. Martin faced potential charges too. Their legal battles exposed the highest levels of government in both London and Washington ...
During the time that the U.S. was pushing for war with Iraq it was widely reported in the U.S. press that the British had experience dealing with the Iraqi informant who was providing the Americans with the intelligence they were relying on. The British affirmed that none of the information he provided to them over a period of several years had turned out to be true. After being rejected by the British, the informant began selling information direct to the Americans. Reportedly, the man had received close to $100,000 in cash over the previous few years for his reports to the British and Americans; information that provided a strong motive for generating false intelligence. After the invasion and occupation it was proven that all of his information was indeed false. See more »
When Catherine was arrested she was taken to a local police station in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, which was staffed by police wearing Metropolitan Police uniforms (ie from London). The local police are Gloucestershire Constabulary. See more »
Clerk of the Court:
Katharine Teresa Gun, you are charged with an offence contrary to section 1, subsection 1, of the Official Secrets Act of 1989, in that you did knowingly and intentionally disclose top-secret intelligence information contrary to the said act. How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?
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This film is based on a true story of a woman working for the British government who leaked a document to the press so that the Iraqui war might not happen. In case you've forgotten, that war was started under the false premise that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" and they were planning to use them with anti-western forces top launch attacks. Both allegations were blatant lies, trumped up by the Bush administration, but at the time, many people believed them and in fact, the US and the Brits went to war with hundreds of thousands of casualties.
The film is slow paced but the acting is excellent, especially from Ralph Fiennes who seems to utterly disappear into his roles. It's a case study of someone being willing to stand up for what she believes regardless of the consequences. There are precious few people like this, so every film that chronicles their struggle deserves to be seen.
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