Alston Attacks ABC Coverage Of Iraq War

The Howard government’s Minister for Communications, Senator Richard Alston, has alleged bias in the ABC’s coverage of the war in Iraq.

Senator Alston has released an analysis detailing 68 instances of alleged bias in the AM program.

Text of media statement by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston.

ANALYSIS OF THE AM PROGRAM’S IRAQ COVERAGE

Alston

(from the commencement of the conflict to the fall of Baghdad)

Day 1 AM – Friday, 21 March 2003 – 08:22:30

Example of a beat-up

1. LINDA MOTTRAM: International aid agencies are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe as the war unfolds. They fear that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis could soon be streaming out of Iraq……

MARK WILLACY: Well Linda, we’ve got groups like the UN and the Red Cross warning of a humanitarian crisis as they put it, in Iraq, mainly because of a shortage of food there, and the possibility of hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to leave in a hurry…….. and there’s talk of possibly hundreds of thousands….

But the Red Cross here in Amman is warning of a potential catastrophe.

After all this, what was the Red Cross actually reported as saying?

“…..the infrastructure of this country could be vulnerable if it can open doors for more refugees”.

No catastrophe, not even a crisis. Only one aid agency, not hundreds of
thousands of refugees, not even possibly.

10:14:06

Example of, at least, exaggeration.

2. LINDA MOTTRAM: “Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets across the Middle East….”

The supporting evidence?

PETER CAVE: “Protests against the American-led war on Iraq drew large crowds onto the streets of Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the Gaza Strip.”

PETER CAVE: “In the Gaza Strip, however, thousands turned out…….”

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3. LINDA MOTTRAM: “…..and in Egypt the Arab League warned that it fears the US could turn its attention to other Arab countries once it’s finished with Iraq.”

ARAB LEAGUE CHIEF: “What is important is to preserve the Iraqi state intact…….”

The reported comments of the Arab League chief bear no relation to the introduction.

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4. PETER CAVE: “Turkey’s parliament today grudgingly (no evidence provided) passed legislation allowing allied planes to use Turkish airspace.”

Day 2 AM – Saturday 22 March, 2003 – 08:02:24

Gratuitous Barbs.

5. LINDA MOTTRAM: Well in Washington, the Bush Administration has been briefing journalists on the latest developments in Iraq, quickly taking the opportunity to make advances in the propaganda war to match those they say they’re making on the ground, but also having to acknowledge two combat casualties.

On what evidence is a US media briefing characterised as a negative, dubious and grudging propaganda exercise?

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6. JOHN SHOVELAN: “White House Spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said the President hadn’t watched the opening of the air offensive on television, an indication of just how sensitive he is to launching a massive bombing campaign in an area so heavily populated”.

It is one thing to report the President’s viewing pattern for which there may have been a number of reasons. It is another thing altogether to draw an unequivocally negative conclusion which implies, at least, embarrassment on the President’s part.

Implied Gaffe.

7. JOHN SHOVELAN: “Indeed today the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, I am not sure he meant to say it, but he said that the progress had been swift, swifter than it would have been if chemical weapons had of (sic) been used.”

Once again, this interpretation strongly implies a verbal slip. John Shovelan seems to have assumed the JCOS was talking about what would have happened if the Americans had used chemical weapons. Why should he so assume when the logic of the statement is quite to the contrary?

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8. JOHN SHOVELAN: “The Bush Administration concedes (why not “says” or “believes”?) that the voice in the tape….. is that of Saddam Hussein.”

Day 4 AM – Monday, 24 March, 2003 – 08:04:34

9. LINDA MOTTRAM: “…..the issue of the American dead and captured ….has that disturbed the American public, in particular about the progress of this war?”

On what basis should a reporter be asked a leading question designed to
elicit a sweeping anti-war comment? Indeed on what basis should the amorphous “American public” be expected to have second thoughts about progress, especially after only a few days of hostilities?

08:17:34

10. LINDA MOTTRAM: “With the reports of more American losses overnight in fighting in places like Nasiriyah, is that having any impact on morale where you are?”

On what basis could it be suggested that very modest and predictable losses could undermine morale? In contrast, it would be very difficult at any stage of the conflict to find any suggestion in the ABC AM coverage that American morale was boosted by overall rapid progress.

Day 5 AM – Tuesday, 25 March, 2003 – 08:00:40

Repeated willingness to jump to negative conclusions

11. LINDA MOTTRAM: “The Coalition forces in Iraq continue to battle the perception that all is not going to plan.”

This is a sweeping and very negative conclusion. The only justification
provided on AM seems to be that several Apache helicopters were badly shot up – surely a minor and totally predictable episode which could not possibly be turned into “not all is going to plan”.

12. John Shovelan immediately proceeded to say that “Saddam Hussein loyalists are working behind the scenes fighting using guerrilla tactics and this is really unsettling the Pentagon“.

And the evidence?

JOHN SHOVELAN: “They were talking yesterday about it and again today”!

13. After Major General Stanley McChrystal had said that: “the Fedayeen may be preventing a number of regular soldiers from surrendering”, Linda Mottram immediately concluded: “so they do sound quite unnerved by this, John

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14. She followed this up with another gratuitous observation: “even the Americans now are conceding, (this war) has a fair way to go”.

15. After a further unremarkable dialogue between American spokespersons Linda Mottram couldn’t help volunteering “the Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke, who, John, really did seem to dive in there to save Major General McChrystal, didn’t she, because he did not seem very comfortable with these questions at all“.

16. Having unilaterally decided on the flimsiest basis that one spokesperson was uncomfortable, Linda Mottram then sought to taint or at least raise doubts about the entire Administration: “is any of that discomfort translating to the upper echelons in the US, to Bush or to any of the other senior officials?”

08:08:40

17. LINDA MOTTRAM: “Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair has also been addressing some of the question marks (unspecified) that currently hover over the Coalition’s campaign in Iraq”.

Given that the Blair remarks broadcast on AM showed that he was assessing progress and outlining some of the Coalition’s achievements, why was Linda Mottram so intent on injecting a negative tone into a positive item?

08:15:40

18. Despite Peter Cave explaining on air that there was a split at an Arab League Summit (stating that Kuwait had voted against a strong majority call to halt the war, while Qatar left early and Saudi Arabia also apparently didn’t support the call ) Linda Mottram managed to ignore the significant dissenters and instead sought to treat a majority outcome as unanimous: “so is there now a unified position?”.

19. She then went even further by mocking the Coalition’s war commitment and suggesting that it had fundamentally backfired: “is it the case of the Coalition having gone to war, has in fact pulled all this together?”

08:20:40

20. Kofi Annan’s direct statement thatI’ve heard a report from Red Cross that the people in Basra may be facing a humanitarian disaster” was prefaced by Linda Mottram with an unequivocal: “the UN is warning of a humanitarian crisis”.

Day 6 AM – Wednesday, 26 March, 2003 08:04:21

21. Mark Willacy reported that: “So there is a history of rebellion in Basra and there was surprise among Coalition military planners that an uprising hadn’t occurred until this moment, that it hadn’t occurred earlier in this campaign.”

Whilst this could have been due to a number of reasons, particularly fear of the Fedayeen, Linda Mottram immediately selected the anti American card: “presumably because of cynicism about what the Coalition might or might not do.”

08:21:21

22. Having established that the weather overnight might have been slowing both sides down, Linda Mottram turned this into a particular psychological problem for the Coalition: “and what about the issue of morale and being able to have that sense of moving forward constantly?”

Day 7 AM – Thursday 27 March, 2003 – 08:00:19

23. Next day a direct hit on a market/shops in Baghdad was introduced by Linda Mottram as: “A test for Coalition claims about the accuracy of their weapons and a bloody one, as images of carnage in suburban Baghdad fuel difficult new questions for the Coalition”.

No evidence of any “difficult new questions for the Coalition”
was provided.

08:08:23

24. When a US spokesman denied deliberately targeting a market place and suggested Iraq might have been to blame Linda Mottram editorialised: “it sounds very much like they are spinning this quite strongly out of some degree of concern.”

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This was followed by another huge leap, especially given the US was contesting liability.

25. LINDA MOTTRAM: “do you think this might cause a rethink about the strategy in this war…….?”

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26. And finally, referring to Victoria Clarke reading out a list of crimes committed against international law by Saddam Hussein, a dismissive: “it is obviously a very vigorous public relations offensive at this time.”

08:26:23

27. Instead of accepting that Tony Blair was proceeding to Washington in a genuine attempt to try to carve out a clear post war plan for Iraq, Linda Mottram instead sought to ridicule this objective: “and is he really seriously expecting to be able to go to those post war issues because we are barely not even a week into the war and it’s already encountering obstacles, surely that’s more likely to dominate?”

28. Having been told by Matt Peacock that important issues were at stake she then sought to trivialise it as a perception tactic: “it’s really critical for Tony Blair in terms of opinion at home to be seen to be acting on this post war stuff quite quickly”.

At least Matt Peacock attempted to put some balance into the equation by responding: “well it is, but it is also critical in Tony Blair’s view for the future of the world”.

08:28:23

29. A John Shovelan report asserting that: “at the Pentagon there’s suspicions that the US military is not releasing casualty details as quickly as it could” and that “the American population has, for the first time, become acutely aware of the risks and costs of this war,” was translated by Linda Mottram into this introduction: “the American population is beginning to digest the possibility that there could be a heavy loss of American life in the war with Iraq” followed by a cynical assessment: “and so the Bush White House is recalibrating its message”.

Day 8 AM – Friday 28 March, 2003 – 08:00:35

30. Next morning it was back to ridiculing the US and British and the American leaders for “obviously unjustified” over optimism: “they’re refusing to deviate from their firm belief in Coalition victory, brushing aside what’s become the constant background noise of the war, the concern that it will drag out well beyond initial expectations.”

08:11:35

31. The fact that Brigadier General Vincent Brooks showed a video of children welcoming US forces in Southern Iraq and emphasising its authenticity, was turned by Linda Mottram into a potentially huge psychological setback: “Coalition commanders (are) finding that the public relations war may have slipped from their grasp.”

08:18:52

32. Despite regular put downs of the approach and motives of senior administration officials Linda Mottram had no such doubts about the Iraq leader: “Saddam Hussein has been shown on television in Iraq overnight, meeting with officials of his ruling Baa’th Party and he is sounding as determined and confident of victory as is the Coalition, despite the military odds against him.”

No “refusing to deviate” or “brushing aside” concerns
here.

08:25:52

33. Linda Mottram commenced this item by asserting: “the granting of lucrative war contracts to companies with links to the Bush administration is becoming a political embarrassment to the White House, and it’s handing ammunition to its war opponents”.

However it soon became clear that the issue had been raised by the Iraqi
ambassador to the UN (hardly an obvious source of embarrassment for the White House) who had made some unsubstantiated and probably wrong claims about contracts entered into six years ago.

34. As a result, Linda Mottram was reduced to saying that: “companies linked to US vice president Dick Cheney were working in Iraq as recently as three years ago”.

Day 9 AM – Saturday 29 March, 2003 – 08:08:00

35. LINDA MOTTRAM: “Well, it’s still the case that Coalition forces are encountering the kind of resistance from Iraq troops that had, it’s now clear, not been anticipated by Washington or London”.

How could she possibly know?

36. LINDA MOTTRAM: “As well, sustained shelling and guerilla attacks by Iraqi forces have caused confusion among US forces, sapping morale and continuing to slow the Coalition’s advance across the Euphrates River.”

Given that sustained shelling and guerilla attacks would be the very predictable stuff of battle, on what evidence or basis were such sweeping negative statements made?

Answer: A single US marine who said he hadn’t been expecting the attack and “when you see your buddy get hit, it definitely tends to bring morale down right away”.

But he immediately made it clear that any such setback was strictly temporary: “but then there is the other side of the coin, well, I’m going to give it back now. It’s my turn”.

Day 11 AM – Monday 31 March, 2003 – 08:00:19

37. ELEANOR HALL: “Tommy Franks has today angrily denied reports that ground forces have been ordered to halt their advance on Baghdad”.

The evidence?

Tommy Franks: “We’re in fact on plan, and where we stand today is not only acceptable in my view, it is truly remarkable. ………one never knows how long a war will take. We don’t know”.

08:04:19

38. ELEANOR HALL: “Donald Rumsfeld is also on the defensive today, not only about the progress of the war……..”.

No evidence was produced.

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39. Nevertheless, John Shovelan couldn’t help putting the boot in: “…….and the brash US Defense Secretary has found himself a target of some of his senior officers”.

08:22:19

40. The previous day in London, Robin Cook had written in a London tabloid: “I’ve had my fill of this bloody and unnecessary war, I want our troops home, and I want them home before more of them are killed”. He later changed his position to not wanting them home immediately, but only after the war had been won.

Whilst many media around the world characterised Cook’s performance as a volte-face (eg Lateline 3/4/03: “It was a position Robin Cook then clumsily backed away from under intense political and public pressure”) AM chose to make absolutely no assessment, let alone criticism, merely describing Mr Cook’s change of heart as a clarification – Matt Peacock: “later Mr Cook clarified his position”.

He went on to effectively take Robin Cook’s side: “Nonetheless, Mr Cook added the people who promised that the war would be quick and easy now owed the public an explanation. Why the resistance was greater than they planned for? And they owed British troops an explanation of how they were going to take Baghdad without further casualties”.

Just in case Mr Cook’s original position looked as thought it needed bolstering: “Other former ministers though, maintain the position that the troops should come home now, with former Defence Minister Doug Henderson urging a truce” and then being invited to explain why “opposition to this war has been badly misjudged”.

Day 12 AM – Tuesday 1 April, 2003 – 08:20:32

41. ELEANOR HALL: “……the Bush administration….is nevertheless trying to counter reports from inside the US that its war plan is flawed”.

The evidence?

LEIGH SALES (from Washington): “a cartoon in one of America’s newspapers perfectly captures the pressure facing the Bush administration over the war’s progress. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld is sitting behind the wheel of a car….full of children all chanting at him ‘is it Vietnam yet, is it Vietnam yet?

“The Pentagon’s rebutting that type of commentary and criticism that the war hasn’t gone according to plan”.

This “report” hardly constitutes commentary and criticism – more like immature and irrelevant abuse.

Day 13 AM – Wednesday 2 April, 2003 – 08:04:53

42. LINDA MOTTRAM: “….Saddam Hussein was delivering another defiant message, directed in part at the Coalition’s force ranged against him, but also directed at rallying the Iraqi people. The speech, with a promise of Iraqi victory, had also a call for Iraqis to rise up in support of the Iraqi regime. It was read on Iraqi television, not by Saddam Hussein himself, but rather by his Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahhaf”.

In marked contrast to the scepticism often accompanying US administration officials the picture painted here was more like that of a brave leader rallying his troops. There was no analysis in the introduction of why he had not personally delivered the speech, no suggestion that he might be dead, injured or in hiding, all of which would have seriously undermined the otherwise sympathetic assessment, which was in fact repeated in the next item.

08:08:53

43. LINDA MOTTRAM: “So that speech by Saddam Hussein, delivered by his Information Minister, again rallying Iraqi to Saddam Hussein’s cause, including there the appeal to the lands of Islam, a tug of war between the two sides in these hostilities for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people”.

Comical Ali certainly hadn’t yet achieved cult status here.

Such commentary gives no hint of cynicism or desperation on the part of
Saddam Hussein, instead portraying his action as a serious and genuine attempt to influence a finely balanced contest.

Day 14 AM – Thursday 3 April, 2003 – 08:04:16

44. On a day when the Coalition made dramatic gains, including the capture of Kut, the routing of the Baghdad division of the Republican Guard and the Coalition forces being inside the red zone and within 30 kilometres of Baghdad, Linda Mottram managed to characterise such achievements as little more than a welcome reprieve.

LINDA MOTTRAM: “The latest developments in Iraq have given America’s military planners some respite from the intense scrutiny of its war plan”.

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45. This was immediately followed by a quite unreasonable expectation for which no justification was provided: “There is, though, still no timetable for the entry of Coalition forces into Baghdad proper”

08:08:16

46. RAFAEL EPSTEIN: “The Pentagon says they have destroyed up to 50 per cent of two divisions of the Republican Guard. That rate of attrition was the aim in 1991, 40 days of bombing delivered attrition of only 25 per cent. In Kosovo, NATO said they destroyed around 35 per cent of Serbian heavy armour. In fact they hit just over 10 per cent.”

The unmistakably clear implication that the Pentagon should not be believed was followed by Retired Air Marshall Ray Funnell asking himself a series of hypothetical questions before completely dismissing its significance: “I really don’t know how you can factor that sort of thing into your calculations”.

For once Linda Mottram did not need to provide any interpretation: “Retired Air Marshal Ray Funnell speaking to Rafael Epstein”.

As a result, an American self-assessment of potentially far-reaching significance and deserving of serious military analysis was instead ridiculed into nothingness.

Day 15 AM – Friday 4 April, 2003 – 08:08:55

47. LINDA MOTTRAM: “Well, as the US-lead forces squeeze in on Baghdad , what lingers is the fear that the Coalition will now get drawn into the street by street fighting in the capital……..”.

This “fear” was presumably based on:

JONATHAN HARLEY: “amid fears Coalition forces could get drawn into a bitter urban battle…..”.

Although such ominous concerns were twice expressed, no basis was provided on either occasion.

Day 16 AM – Saturday 5 April, 2003 – 08:05:00

48. In Washington Lisa Miller was very exercised about US deviousness, verging on duplicity, over the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein: “Both the White House and the Pentagon have been feeding the speculation about President Hussein’s demise.

“This week they practically baited him (no evidence provided) to prove he was alive.

“Now faced with what appears to be evidence he is, they dismiss its importance.”

08:15:18

49. Following reports of another summit, this time in Northern Ireland between George Bush and Tony Blair, despite the fact that the end of the war was fast approaching, Linda Mottram as she had done some days earlier (see AM 27/3/03) once again effectively scoffed at the idea: “Matt, is it a surprise that Tony Blair is going to, wanting to embrace all of these peace agendas at this time?”

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50. Having been told by Matt Peacock that it did make sense and that Tony Blair was passionately committed to the Northern Ireland process as well as the long awaited Middle East peace plan, Linda Mottram simply looked for the base motive: “Well, what’s Mr Blair’s angle in involving George Bush so prominently at this time”.

Day 18 AM – Monday 7 April, 2003 – 08:08:00

51. LINDA MOTTRAM: “Well in Northern Iraq another American attack on their own has marred the Coalition’s apparent progress”.

Is it seriously suggested that by this time actual and major Coalition
progress had not been established? And why should progress be marred by a friendly fire incident? Indeed, given that US central command has described it only as “a possible friendly fire incident” why was Linda Mottram so adamant?

08:11:00

With a senior Pentagon official ruling out handing over control of an interim Iraqi government to the UN, this was not seen as a highly predictable outcome, let alone a benign development, but rather as a cause for significant international concern.

52. LINDA MOTTRAM: “Well, trans-Atlantic tensions over Iraq are likely to be fuelled anew by the latest from the Pentagon on the US vision for post-war Iraq”.

Day 19 AM – Tuesday 8 April, 2003 – 08:08:48

53. Despite the fact that the report by John Shovelan dealt with unrelated remarks by Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Myers, Linda Mottram’s introduction simply stated, without any supporting material, that: “The battles in Baghdad are seeing a growing number of civilians dead and injured according to the International Red Cross in the city. It says the city’s hospitals are overstretched, with some facilities now short of vital supplies, and doctors exhausted.

“But there are certain to be more casualties yet as the Coalition presses on……”. – clearly implying insensitivity and a lack of humanitarian concern.

Day 20 AM – Wednesday 9 April, 2003 – 08:00:23

54. The death overnight of three journalists led Linda Mottram to make a furious attack on the United States: “…..the chances of independent reporting of the events on the ground have suffered a body blow overnight, and it’s raised new questions about how the Coalition has attempted to shape reporting on this war”.

What was the basis?

Well apparently the following remarks by Brigadier General Vince Brookes: “What we can be certain of, though, is that this Coalition does not target journalists and so anything that has happened as a result of our fire or other fires would always be considered as an accident”.

55. This led Linda Mottram to sign off with: “Brigadier General Vince Brookes with a sense of how the US Military would prefer reporters in Iraq to work And it should be noted that they key buildings that were attacked overnight, the coordinates and locations of those buildings have been given to the Pentagon some time back”.

Given that the remarks in question are logical and given that they contain no indication of how the US Military would prefer reporters in Iraq to work, Linda Mottram seemed clearly determined to read something sinister into the deaths of journalists, whatever the evidence. In fact, her last comment, on its face, seeks to give the impression that targeting of journalists may have been a deliberate Pentagon strategy.

08:11:23

56. Jonathan Harley reported that at least 14 civilians had been killed in the attack on a restaurant where a large number of Iraqi leaders were believed to be meeting. He later said: “The International Committee of the Red Cross says Baghdad’s hospitals are overwhelmed. Of the 27 operating theatres in the city’s main hospital complex, only 6 are working. Medical supplies, especially anaesthetics are dangerously low.

This prompted Linda Mottram to volunteer: “Jonathan Harley reported from Quatar and there are some estimates of casualties in this war that run into the thousands….”.

Once again there was no direct material from the ICRC and no attempt to
source Linda Mottram’s “estimates”.

08:14:23

57. In relation to the deaths of two journalists, the Pentagon was saying that their troops had no choice but to defend themselves while some journalists were disputing this claim. Linda Mottram quickly came down on the anti American side: “The deaths undermine the Pentagon’s claim that it is waging a compassionate war”.

This can only be taken to mean that we should not believe such claims and should instead presumably believe that the United States is deliberately targeting journalists.

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58. This outburst was immediately overtaken by dripping sarcasm from John Shovelan: “Oh the civility of this US military. The daily Pentagon briefing begins with an illustration of its mercy and kindness.”

59. Stanley McChrystal’s showing of a video of a strike on the home of Chemical Ali led John Shovelan to deride it as an illustration of “its clean killing skills”.

60. And when McChrystal talked about a pilot guiding ammunition into the river to avoid killing innocent civilians, this caused John Shovelan to once again deride the very proposition of taking all reasonable steps to minimise damage: “And when the US military goes out of its way to avoid “collateral damage”, a wartime euphemism for killing civilians, it’s sure to get top bill at the brief”.

Apart from the obvious vitriol, “collateral damage” is not simply
another term for killing civilians, but rather a clinical term to distinguish unintended deaths from deliberate strikes. It is certainly not a licence to kill civilians, as John Shovelan implies.

61. And finally, for no apparent reason, John Shovelan again showed his contempt for the US military’s handling of issues: “The Pentagon, with all of its refined propaganda tools, relies on some basic obfuscation and delay when the news frames it in a bad light.”

08:21:23

Once again, an AM report had difficulty in taking Coalition action at face value.

62. Michael Dodd: “And based on the rhetoric used by the President, Mr Blair seems to be having one of his many favours to George Bush returned….”.

Day 21 AM – Thursday 10 April, 2003 – 08:04:26

63. When Geoff Thompson reported that “Marines believe they were being fired upon” when “the fire that seemed to be returning was actually tracer fire from marine weapons in the opposite direction”, Linda Mottram immediately poured cold water upon the marines’ beliefs: “So confusion really, because they claimed they were being fired on, but in fact they weren’t”.

When Geoff Thompson provided a plausible explanation for the confusion,
Linda Mottram then effectively accused the soldiers of dishonesty.

64. LINDA MOTTRAM: “So are you suggesting that these soldiers are trying to cover up for a tragic mistake”.

65. When Geoff Thompson again denied such a proposition, Linda Mottram found it necessary to find yet another critical explanation: “So you’re talking about highly trained American marines who are in a state of nervousness and excitement, who seem unable to determine what exactly is coming at them and who are even more jumpy by civilian headlights from cars in a suburb, hardly an unsurprising encounter?”.

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08:17:26

66. LINDA MOTTRAM: “Despite the rapid progress of the US mission on the ground, there is still one question haunting the Bush Administration, where’s Saddam Hussein?

No evidence is provided to justify the use of such a strong and pejorative term as haunting? While the reporter Leigh Sales indicates there are differing views about the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein, she provides no evidence that suggests that the Bush Administration is haunted by this question.

Day 22 AM – Friday 11 April, 2003 – 08:00:10

67. LINDA MOTTRAM: “For commanders of the Coalition, the task of advancing the invasion of Iraq is becoming increasingly complicated on a number of fronts.

Quite apart from the negative connotations of the term “advancing the invasion”, to claim that the “the task of advancing the invasion of Iraq is becoming increasingly complicated” at a time when the war was effectively over had the effect of turning what was near victory into a very problematic outcome.

Linda Mottram’s claim about the advance becoming increasingly complicated was directly contradicted by Jonathan Harley who commenced his report by stating that: “the speed with which Saddam Hussein’s grip on Baghdad has slipped has pleased even the most pessimistic Coalition commanders, but some things are moving too quickly.”

In fact, Linda Mottram, later in the same program contradicted her own claim that the advance had becoming increasingly complicated and instead sought to create “more fear and loathing” without a skerrick of evidence to justify doing so: “Now that the US has conquered the Iraqi regime, who and where next?”

Day 25 AM – Monday 14 April, 2003 – 08:00:00

68. LINDA MOTTRAM: “But there is still no sign of a coherent plan for dealing with transitional issues like security and internecine conflict in the Iraqi community.”

Once again no evidence is provided to justify such a negative comment.

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