Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, June 17, 2004
NEWSPAPERS AREN'T DEAD, but Henny Herald shows suicidal tendencies today.

Her front page today is dominated by 'Defence Reporter' Tom Allard's laboured defence of his pathetic attempt to beat up another Tampa story from the Abu Ghraib abuses.

The weasel words clot this front-page editorial.
A stream of regular reports to Canberra detailed concerns, including from the United Nations, about US forces mistreating and abusing Iraqi prisoners as far back as June last year... Documents tabled with Senator Hill's speech revealed there were 25 reports sent to Defence headquarters in Canberra mentioning concerns about abuse and mistreatment and visits to prisons linked to the Red Cross. ... As revealed by the Herald, Australian military lawyers knew at least as early as October last year of Red Cross concerns ...
Nothing in the report dents the statement by Defence Minister Hill that
Australian forces were in no way involved in perpetrating the acts of abuse. He also stood by earlier statements that the Government only knew of the allegations when they became public in January, and of their full extent when pictures emerged in April.
What the Herald doesn't say, but the Australian does, is this: Australian military lawyers were reporting concerns about human rights abuses in Iraqi prisons to their military superiors in Australia eight months before government ministers had any knowledge.

When the Herald makes a front-page apology to Major O'Kane, exonerated yesterday by General Karpinski, we can consider taking this ex-newspaper seriously.