The passengers of flight BA149, which left Heathrow Airport on August 1, 1990 were not at ease. Saddam Hussein threatened to invade Kuwait. The world’s media also reported that there was an increase in troops near the Iraqi border.

British Airways personnel assured them that there wasn’t any reason to be alarmed. The British Airways crew assured them that, if any trouble arose, they would divert the flight to Kuwait City. They were relieved to receive spontaneous applause.

They were then plunged into an unimaginable nightmare just a few hours later. Both passengers and crew — more than 380 people of many nationalities, including 11 children — were taken hostage by Iraqi forces who had invaded the country while the plane was in flight.

In 1990 Saddam Hussein (pictured) had been threatening to invade Kuwait and the world's media were reporting a troop build-up near the Iraqi border

In 1990 Saddam Hussein (pictured) had been threatening to invade Kuwait and the world’s media were reporting a troop build-up near the Iraqi border

As ‘human shields’, the hostages were subject to horrific horrors over the following five months. They witnessed murders, mock executions, and more.

Numerous women were raped, and some others had their sexual abuses. Three Iraqis detained people have now taken their own lives. Several others have been treated for psychiatric problems.

The Government now admits that the Flight attendants were in serious danger after 30 years of denial.

Kuwaiti fighter jets attacked Kuwait’s airport just minutes after the plane landed. The city was already occupied by tanks from the Republican Guard.

Liz Truss is the Foreign Secretary and has written a statement confirming that there was a mislead in Parliament about the events at BA149.

The British Ambassador in Kuwait has warned the Foreign Office of the invasion. However, BA wasn’t told.

This means that the British Government was aware of what was occurring and permitted innocent civilians to flee into war zones.

Their suffering is horrific. They were forced to board buses by Iraqi conscripts, who held them hostage at gunpoint.

After a stewardess returned to a bus for checking under the seats to ensure that no belongings were left behind, she noticed a movement behind and saw a smiling Iraqi Soldier with an AK-47 assault weapon on his shoulder. The stewardess was raped.

Barry Manners (one of the British hostages) was attacked and threatened with death. He was held by a guard who pulled the trigger. He was able to survive, but will always be emotionally scarred.

For 31 years, I have tried to reconstruct what happened at BA149. When the passengers and crew were taken hostage, I was working on a newspaper in London and, along with everyone else, we were reporting the apparent misfortune of this group, who had left London — many simply intending to transit through Kuwait to other parts of the world — and unwittingly flown into a war.

Then, a contact from the intelligence services called me. He said that there was something wrong with this and suggested I investigate.

The BA149 jet in Kuwait. Both passengers and crew were taken hostage by Iraqi forces who had invaded the country while the plane was in flight

The BA149 jet in Kuwait. Crew and both passengers were made hostages by Iraqi forces, who invaded Kuwait while the plane was still in flight.

I didn’t know it then but the investigation would — literally — take half my life.

Is it possible that a government could have prevented the flight from being diverted if they had the capability to do so? I believe it was because there was a group of Special Forces soldiers among the passengers — something the Government still refuses to admit.

Another lie about the fate British Airways flight 149’s fate conceals a larger fraud. Saddam Hussein was able to deliver the passengers and crew from BA Flight 149 to cover a mission that Margaret Thatcher authorized to allow a military team in the country to track the movements of Iraqi troops.

The new information confirms that Mrs Thatcher lies to Parliament. She said on September 6, 1990: “The British Airways flight landed. Its passengers disembarked. And the crew gave over the next crew. After this, they went to their respective hotels. It all happened before the invasion.

Then, she turned her attention to her backbenchers and stressed the point: “The invasion came later.”

Although the Foreign Office expressed its deep sympathies for the people caught up in the drama, what they want most is truth.

It was horrible enough for them to find themselves in this situation, but to deny you the right to learn why and to have your experiences made public is unacceptable.

Covid is used as an excuse by the government for not making available files that were 30 years old and should have been published a year earlier.

This is because I think the Government did it to remove the pain from what’s next. Operation Sandcastle was published, which investigates the suffering of hostages who came on BA149 as well as those UK citizens who lived in Kuwait. They were then rounded up.

Stewardess Helen Peters. As they were held as 'human shields' the hostages witnessed horrors, including murders and mock executions

Stewardess Helen Peters. The hostages were used as “human shields” and witnessed horrific acts of violence, such as mock executions and murders.

One year later, Royal Military Police interviewed more than 300 hostages to compile an account of their experience. Although it was kept secret for thirty years, this dossier is likely to come out at the beginning or end of 2012.

Truss might have admitted this week to be trying to distract from the actual event. The central mystery though, is whether the flight was — as an ever-increasing body of evidence suggests — carrying miltary personnel.

Truss holds the Government line for a long time.

She stated that there was speculation about the incident and the flight had been used to transport members of the UK Special Forces.

The files support the statement of the former Minister for Europe in April 2007, that the Government “at the time didn’t attempt in any manner to exploit flight by any means whatsoever”.

Barry Manners from Kent told me that he was shocked at Truss’s statements.

“It’s all a liar. It’s amazing that they continue to say this. No, the apology has not been accepted by me. I think it’s a joke.

The extent of his haunting memories from 30 years ago was evident last week when he fell and needed to be admitted to the hospital.

Manners was among many passengers to notice a group fit young men board Flight BA149, which was delayed two hours at the very last moment. One passenger wondered if the men were part of a team.

Kuwait was the first stop. The cabin doors opened, and the same group were greeted by an officer from Britain. He then took the passengers to their destination.

Recent information from trusted military sources has revealed that there was a UK presence in the control center that night to help ensure BA149 landed.

It was much easier to conceal the truth in 1990. In 1990, there were no smartphones to capture what was going on and no social media platforms to counter official accounts.

John and Jennifer Chappell, two of the 11 children on the flight. Now, after more than 30 years of denial, the Government has admitted it knew the passengers were in danger before the flight touched down

John and Jennifer Chappell are two of the eleven children aboard the flight. The Government now admits that the Flight attendants were in serious danger after 30 years of denial

In 300 interviews, I spoke to hundreds of BA149 prisoners over the past years for Operation Trojan Horse. It was my summer book.

Although they may appear to be in good health, many become emotional and begin crying when they talk about Kuwait.

The men were transported to over 70 locations in Iraq and Kuwait. Some of these sites included chemical research facilities and nuclear weapons plants. Saddam decided that they would be used as human shields against Allied air attacks.

Many of the conditions in which they lived were poor and there was little food. One group was kept in a container below the dam’s sluice gates.

Daphne Halkyard was with Henry on board the aircraft. She told me that captivity had become a way for her and her family to live. . . We were scared of being bombarded by the Allies. Fear of sickness was a concern.

“We were afraid that we would be lynched. The stakes were high. That was the truth.

Henry and Daphne are both now gone. Other people have experienced long-term mental health issues or need psychiatric treatments. 

There were suicides, and there have also been attempted suicides. In the British Medical Journal, two articles have been published that highlighted the suffering of victims. The public is not aware of this agony.

Barry Manners (pictured) one of the British hostages, was beaten up and threatened with execution: a guard held a gun to his head and pulled the trigger

Barry Manners, one of the British hostages (pictured), was beat up and threatened by execution. A guard held a gun and pulled the trigger.

Nearly half of the people who were affected lost their job, homes or careers.

Tory and Labour governments are unwilling to tell the truth about the fate of the prisoners in Iraqi hands.

Operation Sandcastle has been kept secret, supposedly because of a pledge of confidentiality given to the interviewees, though every person I have talked to — without exception — wants the truth to come out.

Note placed in House of Commons library following MP Ann Clwyd’s report to Geoff Hoon about breaching the parliamentary code of open government. The note details eyewitness accounts of one death, eight attributable deaths and up to 70 mock executions.

The victim of one incident was a BA steward, who was scheduled to fly with BA149 from Madras to Kuala Lumpur.

He was taken into custody with some British prisoner. He could also see that there was a trench nearby, which had been left unlocked.

These men were supposed to be killed and dumped in the area as soon as the Allies arrived.

He was later transferred to another base, where he was repeatedly molested. They warned the captives that if they tried to flee, they would be killed.

“I could not stand it. I just wanted to be shot. He said that sometimes I felt like I wanted to run outside and finish the job.

There was no reason for the UK government to not have anticipated the invasion. Records I have obtained from the CIA — based on testimony and quotes from senior officials — clearly show they issued a formal warning of war on July 25 and upgraded it to a warning of attack on August 1.

A note placed in the House of Commons library after MP Ann Clwyd (pictured) reported a subsequent Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, to the parliamentary ombudsman for breaching the 'open government' code by not publishing the report, says it details eyewitness accounts of murder and sexual assault

After MP Ann Clwyd’s death (pictured), a note was placed in the House of Commons’ library. It reports Geoff Hoon, a Defence Secretary, to the parliamentary Ombudsman. He is accused of violating the “open government” code.

Publicly, they have stated that the invading force was predicted and sent out an alert nine hours before BA149 left Heathrow.

These warnings were ignored by the Government when British Airways was allowed to fly to Kuwait.

My long investigation into the fate of the flight — which includes interviews with soldiers and spies who planned and took part in the mission, and access to secret documents — reveals that a hand-picked team of soldiers had received special orders from the Government.

Many of these men were members of an operation group with many different names. It was later known as The Inc.

This team is intended for black operations and draws primarily from SAS and SBS. Nine-man teams arrived aboard BA149 on August 2, 1990 and left the airport just as Iraqi soldiers were entering the city.

One two-man team went south — to the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia border — and delivered valuable intelligence on Iraqi troop movements. Washington and London were both concerned Saddam’s army could invade Saudi Arabia, giving Washington control of almost all the world’s crude oil.

The team reported that for now, the Iraqis were adopting defensive positions rather than offensive ones at the border.

One of the members of this group fell ill and had to be taken by helicopter to safety to the USS Antietam. This destroyer is located in the Gulf.

British military sources denied that rescue took place, but the Captain of Antietam confirmed it to me. He is now retired, and serves as a vicar in San Diego’s Catholic Church.

The other teams worked undercover in and around Kuwait City, delivering crucial intelligence that helped the Allies in the successful military campaign — Desert Storm — that evicted the Iraqis from Kuwait in January and February 1991. 

Documents that were released together with the Truss Statement appear to accidently confirm the presence of defence personnel, which is also contrary to three decades-old denials.

'There was also speculation at the time and since that the flight was used to carry members of UK Special Forces,' Liz Truss said in her statement

Liz Truss explained in her statement, “There was also speculation at that time and since then the flight was used for members of UK Special Forces.”

This document was prepared as a briefing paper for the 2007 parliamentary debate about BA149. It took place 17 years later. This refers to the ‘defence Section’ staff aboard.

BA149 survivors refuse to accept Government spin.

Helen Peters from South Devon was so traumatized by her experience, she fled England and sought refuge in New Zealand to get away the terror.

A group of Iraqis were attempting to take a bunch of people into an unfinished room. One woman thought that she might be shot after being forced into the small room.

I was recently told by her that she believed the Government had not been truthful and demanded an entire apology.

“Unfortunately, the Kuwaiti authorities have not acknowledged all of the reasons why BA149 arrived in Kuwait,”

Rowan Halyards, Rowan’s daughter is also disgusted at the revelations. It is a sickening thought to consider the lives of Rowan Halyards’ parents, and how decent, honorable, and kind they were.

“And they flew through the night to what was known as a war zone.”

They are determined to pursue justice for the ruined lives they have lived.

It is clear that British Airways and Government lawyers are reading through the Truss statements and other documents to determine if they will attempt to sue British Airways and the Government for harming passengers and crew.

The human shields and their supporters are still determined to get a full and frank apology — with nothing left out. 

Operation Trojan Horse by Stephen Davis is published by John Blake, £20.