Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is Kamal Ahmed off the hook now?

Nick Davies, author of Flat Earth News, has commented on Roy Greenslade's Guardian blog, attempting to set the record straight on the Observer/Guardian "feud" business.

The first thing to be noted is this: "The hacks who have said that the book accuses Kamal Ahmed of helping to write or edit the dodgy dossier are simply wrong. The book doesn't say that." He also writes: "I went back and told him [Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor] I'd done a chapter on the Observer's coverage of the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, which is a fascinating and worrying story."

Davies' book is not out until February so we'll have to take him at his word for now. However, I note that Ahmed himself has said that Davies asked him about his contribution to the Iraq dossier - and he denied any. It shouldn't surprise us then that the book does not accuse Ahmed in the purported absence of any counter-evidence. It could simply be the case that Davies was unable to pursue this line. Surely the accusation wasn't just dreamt up? Why do so many Observer news hacks think Ahmed did have something to do with the dossier? I am intrigued by Davies' assertion that the Observer's Iraq coverage is a "fascinating and worrying story." Why worrying? Did the Observer get too close to the government over Iraq? What delights await? I think this is known in the trade as a teaser. And teased I am.

Davies adds: "I don't know exactly why Kamal and Roger have resigned. The book may have been a factor ..." Why should it be if Alton and Ahmed have nothing to worry about?

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