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Wednesday, 6 December, 2000, 08:07 GMT
MoD fails to stop SAS book
UK soldiers in Gulf War
The book will focus on a Gulf War mission
The Ministry of Defence has failed to block a new book by a former SAS member detailing a botched mission against Iraq during the Gulf War.

The book will be published in New Zealand, where the former soldier, Mike Coburn, was born.

He was part of an SAS patrol dropped into the clutches of Iraqi forces during a bungled mission behind enemy lines.

It is thought the latest ruling by the High Court in Auckland could open the way for the former head of MI5, Stella Rimington, to publish her memoirs.

Mr Coburn and three other soldiers were captured and tortured before being released when the Gulf War ended.

Dame Stella Rimington
Dame Stella has finished "personal" memoirs
The operation spawned several books and films, but Mr Coburn said they did not reflect the truth.

He said his book, Soldier Five, was a more accurate account of events.

Mr Coburn's former superiors flew from London to give evidence behind closed doors.

They said the former SAS man had broken a confidentiality contract.

But the judge ruled in Mr Coburn's favour, saying the MoD was trying to use its power to restrict his right to freedom of speech.

The MoD now has 14 days to do decide whether to appeal against the decision.

Earlier this year, Dame Stella Rimington, head of MI5 from 1992 to 1996, announced she had written "personal" memoirs about her time in the secret service.

The government has denied that it wants to block its publication, but said a draft copy would be checked to ensure national security had not been compromised.

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See also:

22 Jun 99 | UK
Behind the MI5 myth
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The culture of secrecy
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Shadowy sister of the SAS
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