Flight 149: A Hostage Crisis, a Secret Special Forces Unit, and the Origins of the Gulf War (Hardcover)
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A flight from London, bound for Kuala Lumpur, with 386 passengers and crew, was mysteriously assured it was safe to land and refuel in Kuwait. It wasn't. War had broken out. So why was Flight 149 sent into the clutches of Saddam Hussein?
On Wednesday August 1st, 1990, British Airways flight 149 was on a seemingly routine journey that turned into a month-long international hostage crisis in a war-torn country. As soon as it set down on the Kuwaiti tarmac just as Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi forces invaded, BA149 became an unexpected casualty of a desert war. Or that’s how the story went, until now.
In Flight 149, award-winning investigative journalist Stephen Davis tells a revelatory story, the product of thirty years of dogged investigation that was finally confirmed by a conscience-stricken former MI6 officer. The British and American governments gambled with the lives of passengers on board, in what marked the beginning of a new era of Western entanglement in the Middle East, one that would ensnare the UK and US to this day. As Davis reveals, BA149 was used to smuggle in a covert special operatives unit tasked with gathering intelligence. But once Iraqi forces intercepted the plane on the tarmac and took passengers hostage, their lives were upended forever.
Paced like a true thriller, Flight 149 revisits the First Gulf War and pivotal event of Western hubris. With first-hand testimony from passengers, new insights from covert sources and confessions from secret soldiers, Davis unravels the web of lies and deceit put forth by the US and British government while portraying the lasting consequences of the ill-fated flight.
About the Author
Stephen Davis is a TV commentator, documentary film maker, newspaper editor, foreign editor, US correspondent, war correspondent, award-winning TV news and current affairs producer. has been on the front lines of journalism for three decades as a leading journalism educator, trying to uphold the ideals of the fourth estate and to inspire others to do the same.
Davis has worked for the Sunday Times in both London and Los Angeles and was news editor and foreign editor of The Independent on Sunday. He has been a producer for 60 Minutes and 20/20, a documentary film maker for the BBC and Discovery, and has taught journalism to thousands of students from all over the world. He has won multiple awards for his investigative reporting, including a silver medal at the New York film and television awards, and has designed and run journalism degree programs in London, Sydney and Melbourne.
Now an author and educator, he teaches a course on fake news, disinformation, and misinformation at the prestigious University of Otago in his native New Zealand.