Army chiefs set to prove the 'Mirror' photos a hoax

Military chiefs are preparing to expose as fakes photographs published in the
Daily Mirror purporting to show the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers, defence sources say. They say the military will be ready to present its case "in the near future".

Military chiefs are preparing to expose as fakes photographs published in the Daily Mirror purporting to show the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers, defence sources say. They say the military will be ready to present its case "in the near future".

The move signals a change of stance by the Army which had previously said that it may never be possible to establish whether the pictures, supposedly taken in southern Iraq, were genuine or staged.

Senior military officials have also attempted to downplay the controversy over the photographs, saying what mattered were the allegations of beatings and humiliation behind them rather than the debate over their authenticity.

But investigations into allegations behind the photographs have failed to progress because the Royal Military Police have not established the identities of Soldiers "A" and "B" in the Mirror story and have found no trace of an Iraqi making a complaint of the assaults portrayed.

Defence sources say they hope that once the photographs are publicly proved to be false, the Mirror will feel they are no longer under an obligation to protect the identities of the two soldiers.

The Special Investigation Branch (SIB) of the Royal Military Police (RMP) is now believed to have established that the pictures were staged on the back of a Bedford Mark 4 lorry, possibly at a Territorial Army barracks near Manchester. Forensic examination of the photographs is said to show that they are incompatible with the supposed attack.

However, the RMP is said to have dismissed some of the other supposed evidence published in rival newspapers to prove the Mirror pictures were staged. In particular, the SIB is said to have found it impossible to discern from the images whether the rifles on show were A1 SA80s, which were not used in Iraq. British troops were armed with the A2 version.

Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, told the Commons on Monday that the images looked increasingly like a hoax. Yesterday, Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former director of communications, declared that Piers Morgan, the Mirror editor, should resign if the photographs proved not to be genuine.

"This idea that something illustrates a broader point and is therefore justified - when you think of the huge damage it has done around the world and particularly the Middle East - is completely unjustified," he said.

Mr Campbell told a committee of MPs holding an inquiry into government communications that he believed the Mirror story was an example of the "fusion of news and comment" by some newspapers.

He assumed that soldiers had brought their story to the Mirror for financial gain, did not have the pictures initially and they then materalised. "If those pictures are genuine it is reasonable to present them in the way they were presented. If, on the other hand, they were not genuine and staged for political or commercial reasons, then that is unacceptable," he told the Public Administration Select Committee.

He said that if newspaper editors decided to be a political players they should face up to some of the rules of the political game. Asked about Mr Morgan's position, he said: "If it transpires that these pictures are fake, staged, a hoax - then I don't honestly see how his position is tenable."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Advisor

£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A chance to work for an extreme...

Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Events Business) - Manchester - Urgent!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea