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2006-05-25

Special Memorial Day Preview...Fmr. British Navy Spokesman Lieutenant Commander Steve Tatham on Losing Arab Hearts and Minds

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We bring you a sneak preview of this upcoming Memorial Day on Democracy Now: An exclusive interview with British Lieutenant Commander Steve Tatham, the former head of the British Royal Navy’s Media Operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf during the Iraq war and author of "Losing Arab Hearts and Minds: The Coalition, Al Jazeera and Muslim Public Opinion." [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, we bring you an exclusive interview with British Lieutenant Commander Steve Tatham, former head of the British Royal Navy’s Media Operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf during the Iraq invasion. He’s author of Losing Arab Hearts and Minds.

STEVE TATHAM: There’s a press briefing with American forces where all of the media are invited to attend. It’s a sitrep on the operational situation, but as Al Jazeera go in to that briefing, they’re stopped by a US officer and said, "No, sorry, not you guys. You’re a channel with a reputation." Now, perhaps it’s my British sense of fair-mindedness, but it does seem paradoxical that we’re inviting the rest of the world’s media in, and we’re not too concerned about them, but the Arab media can’t come in, because we’re concerned about their reputation or about what became the new four-letter word, their "bias," one way or the other, and that struck me as entirely counterproductive to trying to win this war of ideas and explain who we were.

AMY GOODMAN: British Lieutenant Commander Steve Tatham, the former spokesperson for the British Navy during the Iraq war. We’ll spend the hour with him on Memorial Day, on Monday.

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