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imperialism & war

"Sorry" Says UK Mirror, Abuse Photos A Hoax, Editor Sacked

sorry.. we were hoaxed

may 15, 2004
VOICE OF THE MIRROR: Iraqi PoW abuse pictures handed to us WERE fake

Hoaxes: Minister Adam Ingram

IT is now clear that the photographs the Mirror published of British soldiers abusing an Iraqi prisoner were fakes.

The evidence against them is not strong enough to convict in a court but that is not the burden of proof the Daily Mirror demands of itself.

Our mission is to tell the truth.

That is something this newspaper has been doing for more than 100 years and will always strive to do. If ever we fail, we are letting down the people who mean most to us. Our readers.

So to you today we apologise for publishing pictures which we now believe were not genuine.

We also say sorry to the Queen's Lancashire Regiment and our Army in Iraq for publishing those pictures.

The Daily Mirror printed the photographs in good faith. We absolutely believed they were what we were told they were, otherwise we would never have printed them.

They provided pictorial evidence of a shocking story of abuse, given to us by two soldiers from the QLR.

Since then, four others have told similar stories. Not only has no evidence been produced to disprove what they said, but the thrust of their allegations has been confirmed by the Red Cross and Amnesty International. But that does not excuse the publication of those photographs. We were the victims of a hoax. And that led to us hoaxing our readers.

Many people - especially those who serve in the Queen's Lancashire Regiment - will delight in the Mirror's apology over the hoax pictures.

Others will regret that serious allegations of abuse by members of the British Army in Iraq have been diminished by the furore over the pictures. The Mirror's admission that the photographs were not genuine must not allow the Ministry of Defence to avoid dealing with the real issue.

The Prime Minister, Defence Secretary and Armed Forces Minister have claimed that our photos were hoaxes. They have been vindicated.

But they have also insisted that there was no abuse which has not been dealt with and that is simply not true.

Just as the Government turned its considerable firepower on the BBC when Dr David Kelly died, so it has done the same to the Mirror over the allegations of abuse.

It is not an honourable way to behave and is leading to growing disenchantment among the British people.

The one thing on which all sides agree, and from which the Mirror has never deviated, is admiration for our armed forces and the remarkable job they are once again doing. They are the envy of the world and their reputation for courage and honour is unrivalled.

A few rotten apples will not sully their good name as long as they are rooted out. That is what the Mirror hoped to achieve with these stories.

The hoax photographs are a sad episode in our long and distinguished history. It is now behind us.

We look forward to a future in which we continue to serve our readers in truth and honesty.

homepage: homepage: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/tm_objectid=14242612%26method=full%26siteid=50143%26headline=sorry---we-were-hoaxed-name_page.html


you forgot this part


By Gary Jones

THE Daily Mirror did what it felt was right yesterday - and admitted it was hoaxed over the Iraqi abuse pictures.

That was in stark contrast to those who brought about the invasion of Iraq and deaths of thousands of innocent civilians.

On the false premise that weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, the UK and the United States went to war.

Bogus dossiers were produced and lies told to the UN to convince the world it was legally right to invade a sovereign country.

Today, the Mirror's WMD-ometer still shows that after 381 days nothing has been found to have justified the war.

President Bush and Tony Blair still have their jobs. Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon clings by his fingernails to his job as does his sidekick Adam Ingram.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who testified before the UN to the existence of WMD, is still in power.

And arch warmonger US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who despite shocking images of torture and atrocities committed in his name by his troops, refuses to stand down.

The Mirror trusted the word of two soldiers, who produced telling testimony that abuses of Iraqi prisoners had been carried out by some members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

These allegations were carefully scrutinised before they were published, and our decision to print the claims was only made after checks.

There is still fury on the Labour backbenches that until last week no minister from Tony Blair down had read the devastating Red Cross report from last February on prisoner abuse.

Since our story was published two weeks ago, Amnesty International and the Red Cross have revealed concerns about similar abuses that had been outlined to the Government, which chose to keep them under wraps. The Mirror still stands by its claims about those abuses - but today we admit, on the photos, we were hoaxed. It hurts this paper and its staff to say we were duped, but that was the case.

These pictures were printed in good faith along with important allegations that others have confirmed.

Yesterday, media commentator Roy Greenslade said: "What the Mirror achieved is teasing out from the Government all sorts of facts we did not know like the Red Cross and Amnesty reports and allegations about the QLR. People were not questioning the pictures on the morning of publication." Following the furore over our allegations, and the Government's insistence that the photos are fakes, the Mirror rightly and properly puts its hands up to say sorry.

SORRY to the British people for misleading them over the photos.

SORRY to the decent, vast majority of soldiers in Iraq doing their best in trying circumstances, who have been hurt by the false images.

But categorically NOT SORRY for telling the truth that acts of cruelty were committed by a tiny number of British troops. Since the drums first beat for war in Iraq the Mirror has led the way in reflecting the public's unease. We questioned every facet of the desire for war.

Our stance reflected an unprecedented outpouring of opposition around the world. Two million people marched on the streets of London under the Stop the War banner.

Millions more marched through cities across the world in disgust at the rush to war without the backing of the UN.

In August 2002, 91 per cent of Mirror readers opposed the war plans in one of our biggest ever phone polls. Last March, we handed Tony Blair a "No To War" petition of 229,000 signatures.

Movie stars, sports heroes, celebrities and politicians were among those who signed. They included Martin Scorsese, Dustin Hoffman, former US president Jimmy Carter, George Michael, Pierce Brosnan, Jade Jagger, Elton John, Heather Mills and Ewan McGregor.

In Britain the spectre of a Labour government backing right-wing Republicans in the White House was an outrage to many.

The Government's WMD dossier did not just cause problems for Mr Blair. In Washington Powell was humiliated after he went on TV and read out intelligence from our Government claiming there were mobile biological weapons labs in Iraq.

That claim proved false but the Government still refuses to acknowledge its mistake.

As Mr Blair visited British troops in Basra after the war was over the BBC aired its infamous broadcast casting doubt on the WMD 45-minute claim. BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan refused to reveal his source was weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

No 10 went on the warpath but it was weeks later that Alastair Campbell narrowed down his point of attack to a sentence in Mr Gilligan's live 6.07am bulletin. That proved to be a mistake and Mr Gilligan said sorry. Dr Kelly killed himself.

The Hutton Inquiry proved much about the BBC story was right and the Government had made mistakes.

But Mr Blair, Mr Hoon and Mr Campbell did not say sorry. Instead, BBC chiefs Gavyn Davies and Greg Dyke quit. Mr Blair refuses to accept the reasons for war were flawed. Many believe the Government should come clean over sending troops into battle on the false pretext that Iraq had WMD.

There is still anger ministers have not apologised for what many see as a hoax on the British people and on Parliament.

Last September Mr Blair and Mr Campbell decided to draw up the dossier which claimed Iraq had missiles capable of delivering weapons in 45 minutes. UN chief weapons inspector Dr Hans Blix was denied more time to hunt them.

Since the post-war search for the weapons began 1,400 inspectors have been unable to unearth a shred of evidence they existed.

Hundreds of servicemen and women have died along with an estimated 17,000s Iraqis.

And still Mr Blair refuses to apologise for the dossier which ended with us joining a US-led war - against international opinion.

Last night allegations from Soldier C about abuses which we published were repeated on ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald. He told how his colleagues beat Iraqis "for fun".

Now the Daily Mirror has apologised, how long will it take before others own up to their mistakes? We will continue to question and probe. Our readers would accept nothing less.

Dr Kelly killed himself (?) 16.May.2004 10:14


Oh really?
Not quite. Another Bioweapon's expert dies under unusual circumstances.

-Kelly's body was likely moved from where he died to the site where two search volunteers with a search dog found it. The body was propped up against a tree according to the testimony of both volunteers. The volunteers reported the find to police headquarters, Thames Valley Police (TVP) and then left the scene. On their way back to their car, they met three "police" officers, one of them named Detective Constable Graham Peter Coe.-