The Bombing of Guernica, a small Basque town, by the Nazi Condor Legion, serving with Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War, on April 26, 1937, has become, perhaps, with the help of Picasso's painting "Guernica", the best known and authenticated incident in that tragic conflict. But is Philip Knightley, author of the recently published "The First Casualty" on the work of war correspondents, right when he says that the town was bombed for tactical military reasons, and that the attack has since been translated into a propaganda myth ? Without benefit of hindsight, the Spanish and German governments never thought of this explanation at the time. Ribbentrop in London urged the German Government to persuade Franco to repudiate reports of the attack, which he did: "Guernica... was destroyed by fire and gasoline by the Basques themselves." What had happened was that the first concerted air attack on a civilian population had been made, however it was explained. In "The Day Guernica Died" Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts suggest that the attack on the town may have been an accident. It was meant to destroy the Renteria bridge but hit the town instead. The scale was small by later standards: 27 bombers and 16 fighters bombed and strafed the town for three and a half hours, and killed, according to the author's estimate, less than 500 people. Thomas and Morgan-Witts have worked hard, often against official obstruction, to interview survivors of the Guernica raid and members of the Condor Legion. Their most considerable find was the diary of wolfram von richthofen, the Legion's commander, which his widow allowed them to use. His reflections on the use of airpower to break morale interestingly foreshadow later German policy. Gordon Thomas Gordon Thomas (born 1933) is a Welsh author who has written more than fifty books.
Thomas was born in Wales, in a cemetery keeper's cottage where his grandmother lived. He had his first story published at nine years old in a Boy's Own Paper competition. With his father in the RAF, he traveled widely and was educated at the Cairo High School, the Maritz Brothers (in Port Elizabeth, South Africa) and, lastly, at Bedford Modern School. His first book, completed at the age of seventeen, is the story of a British spy in Russia during World War II, titled Descent Into Danger. He refused the offer of a job at a university in order to accompany a traveling fair for a year: he used those experiences for his novel, Bed of Nails. Since then his books have been published worldwide. He has been a foreign correspondent beginning with the Suez Crisis and ending with the first Gulf War. He was a BBC writer/producer for three flagship BBC programmes: Man Alive, Tomorrow's World and Horizon. Source
He is a regular contributor to Facta, the respected monthly Japanese news magazine, and he lectures widely on the secret world of intelligence. He also provides expert analysis on intelligence for US and European television and radio programs.His book Gideon's Spies: Mossad's Secret Warriors became a major documentary for Channel Four that he wrote and narrated: The Spy Machine. It followed three years of research during which he was given unprecedented access to Mossad’s main personnel. The documentary was co-produced by Open Media and Israfilm.
Gideon's Spies: Mossad's Secret Warriors has so far been published in 16 languages. A source for this book was Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli intelligence agent, and legendary Israeli spy Rafi Eitan. According to Charles Foster in Contemporary Review: "Writers who know their place are few and far between: fortunately Mr Thomas is one of them. By keeping to his place as a tremendous storyteller without a preacher's pretensions, he has put his book amongst the important chronicles of the state of Israel. Text from Goodreads. Max Morgan-Witts
Gordon Thomas (born February 21, 1933 in Wales, died March 3, 2017 in Bath1) is a Welsh investigative journalist, and the author of many successful bookstores, including Secret History of Mossad or The Secret Weapons of the CIA and in 2008 History of the British secret services.
He has published 47 books translated worldwide and sold more than 50 million copies. The majority of his works deal with secret services. He is also the co-author, along with Max Morgan-Witts, of several historical investigations, such as The Last Hours of Guernica, as well as several spying novels.
According to Sylvain Cypel du Monde, the facts described by the author sometimes lack evidence and references. A recent example (November 2004) is the claim that bin Laden had fled to China and that the Chinese government was negotiating with the US government the arrest and surrender of the Saudi.
However, many French intelligence specialists cite the author in their books as an essential reference. Its sources are active or retired officers of various services including Mossad, CIA, MI5 and MI6. Criticism of torture and chemical weapons experimentation by the CIA, Thomas was considered favorable to the Mossad in the book he devoted to him. However, his second book on the recent activities of the Israeli agency, Mossad, the new challenges, gives a more critical vision, highlighting in particular the inadequacies of the Israeli service during the last war in Lebanon in 2006.
In his latest book, the author tells the story of the British Secret Service, MI5 and MI6, he has been working with since the 1960s.
He lived in Ireland in 2006 according to AFP. He died on March 3, 2017 in Bath, UK.
His books have been decried in critics written by people familiar with the world of intelligence. For example, in his book on British secret services, he repeatedly confuses MI5 and MI6. He does not discuss several important events such as the Venlo incident or the treatment of Oleg Penkovsky3. He quotes a conversation between Stewart Menzies and Allen Dulles at the Yalta conference, neither of whom attended, and he says he interviewed William Casey during his retirement, while Casey fell seriously ill in January 1987 when he was still director of the CIA and was hospitalized until his death in May.
A CIA critic concludes that "first, no other book on intelligence has so many mistakes. Second, the facts that are correct are not new. Thirdly, although the author claims to have been "acclaimed for his sources", there are no quotation notes from sources.
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