Ref NoOHP/30/8
TitleSuzanne Goldenberg
Date25 June 2003
Extent2 minidisc, 2 cds, 1 file, 5 AIFF files (1 GB)
Creator NameGoldenberg; Suzanne; journalist
DescriptionInterview with Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian foreign correspondent. Conducted by Leslie Plommer on 25 June 2003. This interview is part of a series of interviews with Guardian staff who covered the Iraq War of March-April 2003. Also includes a data sheet containing biographical details about the subject and information about the recording including photocopies of articles by Goldenberg relating to Iraq War coverage which featured in the Guardian.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1:
Track 1
00.00 Introductions
00.15 Based in Baghdad throughout the Iraq conflict for the Guardian
00.35 Being invited to cover the war. Based in Washington DC as Washington correspondent for the Guardian
01.20 Belief that it would be a short trip of maybe two weeks on a rotation
01.48 Applying for a visa
02.50 Sent in January 2003 after potential trigger for war
03.10 Did not expect to be based there for three months
03.35 Had worked with Sean Smith previously
03.50 Reaction of her partner, Tony
04.10 Training from the Guardian. Standard war training course. Chemical and biological warfare training
04.40 Decision to not to have vaccines
05.15 Experience as correspondent in Israel

Track 2
00.05 Continued discussion of previous experiences covering conflict in Israel
00.30 Role of Afghanistan in conflict. Had previously won awards for reporting in this conflict
01.18 Flew to Baghdad via Oman
01.35 Discussion of Rory McCarthy, foreign correspondent based in Pakistan who covered Iraq War for the Guardian
02.25 Memories of the airport and flights
03.00 Remembers meeting her and Sean's Iraqi minder, Sa'ad Al-Samara
04.00 Staying at a Baghdad hotel
05.05 Her working day in Iraq
05.50 Mood of the Iraqi people. Continuation of normal life
06.10 Seeking permissions and information from the Iraqi ministries
07.40 Driving in Iraq
07.55 Interviews
08.10 Use of translators
08.35 Use of satellite phones
08.50 Filing copy with the Guardian offices remotely
09.30 Temporary office in Baghdad

10.04 Carrying money in Iraq
11.40 Roles of driver and minder. Relationship to the regime
13.00 Inherited driver and minder from Rory McCarthy
13.30 Remembers guide Sa'ad
14.25 Told by driver Hayder that he was spying on them for the security services
15.10 Tension between Sunni muslim minder and Shiite muslim driver
15.30 Role of visas
16.20 Carrying sweets to give to people
17.00 Handing out dates. Considered to be a symbol of sexual potency in Iraqi culture
17.30 Complimentary roles of Sean and her in gaining permissions
17.55 Taking officials to dinner including the head of press. Guardian goodie bags.
19.30 No exchange of money. Importance of making a good impression

20.18 Discussion of personality of press official. Dinners he held

Track 3
00.25 Access to news developments
00.47 Changes in people's moods
01.50 Incident with restaurant host. Told what to say in interview. Laughter when they met again
02.27 Did not know if Iraqis were telling truth when interviewed
03.00 Male attitudes to war encountered
03.30 Expression of fear by people as conflict developed
03.45 Use of code words. 'Fear of change'
04.25 Seeing value in stability
04.55 Admission that Saddam Hussein would leave leadership - 'the change'
05.30 Images of fear. Increased use
05.50 People stocking up. Use of double rations
06.10 Could see mood change
07.10 Fleeing leadership
08.00 Resistance to invasion
08.20 Bombing in Baghdad. Asked about her own reaction. Saw 'shock and awe'

10.14 Speaking to people who were shaken by bombing
11.20 Her response to being interviewed about the Iraq War coverage
12.45 Discussion of the war with other war correspondents. Disagreeing with others. Importance of where and who you were embedded with

Track 4
00.08 Trips made during war coverage. Visiting Basra and Mosul, as well as day trips to Tikrit and Babylon
00.30 Complications when organising trips. Permission needed to travel
01.00 Writing applications to travel
01.20 Not accompanied on travel by regular minder. Trouble with minder and extortion. Minder told to only work for Guardian by authorities. Minder suspicious of Goldenberg and Smith
02.10 Accompanied by former ships captain who acted as a minder for their trip. Her suspicions over him
02.55 Flew in Basra through no-fly zone
03.00 Paying for seats on flight
03.20 Had to carry letter from governor and be accompanied by additional minder supplied. Joined by another French journalist
04.10 Time in demilitarised state where the United Nations were based where they could see into Kuwait
05.15 Watching local labourers in Basra waiting to be hired
05.50 Eating dinner in Basra with their trip minder
07.30 Learnt to not ask questions which could incriminate people
07.50 Seeing fear in those she interviewed
08.25 Speaking to man at fish market. Story about being beaten for not carrying pass
09.30 Visiting Mosul, a Kurdish city in Northern Iraq

10.30 Seeing rebellion increase in peoples attitudes
12.14 Remembers families she met. Affect of conflict on families
13.05 Inevitability of war. People in state of denial
14.50 Those who stayed, those who couldn't afford to leave
15.25 Contact with Arab press. Shared Palestine hotel suite with female reporter from Lebanese television station
16.35 Difference in approach by Arab press. Did not believe stories about kidnapping
18.30 Arab press passing on information that they themselves could not broadcast
19.40 Arab press and their relation to the regime

20.59 Beginning of bombardment. Change in reporting
21.40 First encountering the American military
22.25 Seeing men fleeing the regime on foot
22.54 Looting on a small scale
23.45 Seeing the looting of guns. First feeling of being scared
24.25 Constraints on movement
24.35 First encountering an American tank
25.50 Offering American troops beer
26.40 Relief that it was over. Reaction of Sean Smith
27.00 Exhaustion
27.30 Arrival of Americans at hotel
27.42 Pulling down of Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad. Iraqis asked soldiers for permission
29.20 Day of horrific casualties. Doctors overwhelmed. Nurses crying

Disc 2:
Track 1
00.20 Iraq War Guardian debriefing
01.00 Her final piece on the Iraq War, on a farewell to Baghdad. Charting the move to recklessness in Baghdad
01.40 Discussion of the period between the bombardment and the fall of Baghdad
02.30 Control of the bridges and control of the city
04.00 Visiting Saddam Hussein's former palace
04.20 Most gruesome sight encountered. Burnt out cars including bus filled with carbonised corpses on bridge
05.10 Walking to the palace. Bodies lining the palace being buried in grounds
06.10 Return to palace by car. Hearing gunshots
07.00 Looting
07.25 Monument to Iran-Iraq War
07.45 Gaining permission to cross into areas
08.00 Seeing corpses. Carnage on the streets
09.40 Need to bury bodies

10.05 Discussion of American conduct in civilian areas. Response of Iraqis
11.30 Continuation of civilian life in warzone. Access to fresh food
12.15 People arriving from Jordan
13.05 Temporary feeling that she had seen enough
14.00 Affect on her writing. Most personal piece she had written
14.20 Losing capacity to emphathise
14.45 Would not want to exclusively cover conflicts. Yet would return again
15.25 Contributing to people's understanding of conflict. Working in the field
16.05 Like of extreme situations
16.35 Final question. Revival of normal services in Baghdad
17.30 Writing her leaving piece. Too early to judge situation. Need to set opinions aside
18.50 Lack of interest by officials in returning power to Iraqi people
19.30 Restoration of Iraq

20.00 Greater economic hardship for Iraqis than during war
20.35 When to judge success of invasion
20.50 Setting benchmarks to judge success
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsAccess to recording via GNM Digital Repository
Related Materialminidisc box P0381, cd box P0334, file box D0632
FormatElectronic record
CD recording
Minidisc recording
Printed document
CopyrightGuardian News & Media Ltd and Suzanne Goldenberg

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