Ref NoOHP/30/9
TitleLuke Harding
Date27 June 2003
Extent1 minidisc, 1 cd, 1 file, 1 AIFF file (620.6 MB)
Creator NameHarding; Luke; journalist
DescriptionInterview with Luke Harding, Guardian home and foreign news reporter. Conducted by Leslie Plommer on 27 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 for the Guardian and Observer by Luke Harding relating to Iraq.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1:
Track 1
00.12 Introductions
00.30 Luke Harding usually based in Delhi, India
00.45 Finding out that he would be covering the war
00.50 He was keen to go
01.10 Asked whether he would like to go to Kuwait or Northern Iraq. Went to Kurdistan
01.50 Knew he would be there for a long haul
02.00 Difficulty obtaining Iranian visa
02.55 Others bribed the Ministry of Islamic Guidance to obtain visas
03.10 Flew to Iran on 1 February 2003
03.15 Training before leaving. Carrying kit
03.25 Comparison of war coverage between Afghanistan and Iraq
03.45 Biochemical training course
03.55 Kit he carried to Iran
04.15 Time spent in Eastern Iran
04.40 Crossing into Kurdistan
04.50 Transport crossing the borders
05.40 Guardian journalists arrived before other newspapers
06.08 Waiting for the war
06.30 Early interview not used by Guardian, but featured in Observer
07.39 Arrival of further journalists
08.00 Misunderstanding of role of Northern Iraq in conflict
09.00 Fundamentalist groups in Northern Iraq

10.00 Covering the action. Several fronts including the frontline of the Iraqi army
10.50 Role of the Turkish army
11.20 Functioning day to day. Based on Turkish border
11.55 Use of land cruiser vehicle
12.00 Using translators
12.30 Staying in a Kurdistan hotel
13.00 Feeling that things were progressing slowly constrasted with how it was viewed from outside region
13.45 Journalists taking risk. Visiting frontlines. Led to journalist deaths
14.40 Hearing about a bombing that killed Australian photojournalist Paul Moran. The first journalist to be killed in invasion of Iraq
15.20 Discusses death of Channel 4 journalist Gaby Rado
15.50 Death of BBC cameraman, Kaveh Golestan, after stepping on a landmine in Kifri. Harding had been in Kifri earlier
16.55 Danger of reporting from the frontline
17.45 Finding out about the death of Golestan, who had been a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war
18.10 Effect of deaths on him long term. Realisation that people die in wars
18.40 Second war that he had covered. Had encountered death in Afghanistan war
19.05 Feeling that the Iraq war was more dangerous due to involvement of the American military
19.20 Consistent fear of friendly fire

20.05 American bombardment. Indiscriminate about civilians
21.00 Fear of bombs. Shook ground. Driver's refusal to continue
22.00 Story about another Islamic group whose headquaters were bombed. Under-reported story
23.55 Change in pace of war. Retreat of Iraqi forces
25.00 Fall of Baghdad. Knew that nothing in Kurdistan could compare to Baghdad coverage
26.15 March on Kirkuk
27.04 Looting
27.30 Kirkuk previously captured in the Iran-Iraq war
28.05 Change in mood in Kirkuk. Celebration turned to looting
28.25 Visited oil refinery which had not been secured by American forces
28.50 Encountering a British woman, married to an Iraqi and who had been living there for decades, crying at the demise of Saddam Hussein
29.05 Late arrival of the Americans
29.25 Fall of Mosul. 'A beautiful city'
29.55 Travelling with Richard Pendlebury to Mosul

30.15 Encountering looters at a Mosul hotel
31.20 Feeling that the Americans were not in control. 'Ugly mood' in Mosul
31.45 Looting of museum and archives
32.30 'City tearing itself apart'
32.50 Travelling to Tikrit, still to fall
33.55 Tension in Tikrit
34.35 Return to Tikrit. Arrival of American military
36.00 Driving in no man's land
36.20 Seeing the Americans for the first time. Emotional feeling that the war was over
36.50 Touring Hussein's palaces in Tikrit
37.35 Filing stories during war
38.00 Return to Tikrit after its fall. Change in mood. Firefight between Kurdish leaders and Arabs
39.27 Second firefight encountered. Retreat
39.50 Driver unhappy

40.55 Presence of angry young Arab men. Refusal to allow them to pass
42.30 Considered this to be his worst moment in the war. Belief that the risk was not worth it
44.20 Weather in Iraq
44.35 Picnics
44.55 Access to alcohol in Kurdistan
45.38 Treatment of Iraqi army by Kurds
46.00 History of relations between Iraq and Kurdistan
47.20 Understanding of Kurds that Iraqi soldiers were also victims of Saddam Hussein. Conscription of Iraqi soldiers
48.10 Asking to return home after two and a half months in Iraq
48.30 Driving to Baghdad a week after the fall of Iraq. Carnage of the city. Americans entrenched in Baghdad
49.35 Experiences of journalists in Baghdad. Arrival of journalists from Kuwait

50.00 Likens Baghdad to Saigon in 1973 during the Vietnam War
51.03 Glad to leave at this point
51.15 Speaking to Suzanne Goldernberg who did not want to leave
51.55 Leaving Iraq
52.10 Had not eaten properly for days. Appearance of himself and Michael Walter
52.55 Food and drink when leaving
53.25 Foreign correspondents meeting in the Palestine hotel. Discusses James Meek and others
54.15 Debate between the foreign correspondents about the war
54.55 Constrasting views of foreign correspondents
56.00 His own views of the war and the previous regime
58.10 Complexity of the Iraq war
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 Luke Harding

Show related Persons records.

NA360Middle East
    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2024