There are moves to have ex-politicians banned from sitting on the board of the ABC, in an attempt to de-politicise and maintain the independence and integrity of Australia’s public broadcaster.
But the ABC has some internal unfinished business it needs to take care of: an issue it has deliberately swept under the carpet for the past five years in the hope that the public will forget the life and death of controversial ABC TV cameraman Paul Moran.
Last year the ABC rejected a Freedom of Information request for access to the personnel file of the late Paul Moran, a cameraman accused of having links to the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
Moran, 39, was killed on March 22, 2003 by a car bomb while covering the war in Northern Iraq for ABC TV. He was an Adelaide-raised freelance cameraman who worked on and off for the ABC as well as US public relations firm Rendon, which had ties to the CIA and the Bush Administration.
Walkely Award winning Australian journalist, Mr Colin James, of the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper, was the first to break the story about Moran’s shadowy past when he attended Moran’s wake in Adelaide.
He talked to relatives who revealed that Moran had a James Bond other life.
“For a freelance cameraman, Moran sure had some incredible access to US State Department officials in Washington,” Mr James said. “How many freelancers get to play games of social tennis with US diplomats?”
Moran had worked for Rendon for over a decade in places like the Middle East and Kosovo, pushing US government spin while doing freelance work for the ABC TV as a combat cameraman.
On November 17, 2005 prominent American journalist, academic and former US Navy intelligence analyst James Bamford wrote in the influential American magazine Rolling Stone a detailed account of Moran’s work with Rendon and its link to the CIA and its selling of the Iraq War to the US public.
The controversy surrounding Moran stems from his exclusive story about an Iraqi defector who had knowledge about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program. A Rendon colleague gave him the scoop which turned out to be false, but was a pretext for the US invasion of Iraq, according to Bamford.
The Australian cameraman also helped to set up a television station for the Iraqi National Congress (INC). The INC was established by the US as an opposition group to the Saddam Hussein regime.
In January 2003 I was hired as a photographer for Canadian war reporter Scott Taylor (www.espritdecorps.ca) and we tracked down Mr Gaan Latis, who was recruited by the INC to become a member of a US trained exile army à la Bay of Pigs.
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