The Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram, is expected to say later that the Daily Mirror's photographs of British troops apparently abusing Iraqi prisoners are fake.
If that's the case -- and the pictures can be proved beyond reasonable doubt to be hoaxes -- the Mirror's editor Piers Morgan should quit.
Of course it's in the government's interests to smear the Daily Mirror, which has been one of Fleet Street's most vocal opponents of the Iraq War. But just as the military must accept full responsibility for genuine incidents of abuse, so the media must take the fall if photos it presents as genuine turn out to have been staged -- even if the story accompanying them was true.
What Roy Greenslade calls "The Gilligan Defence" -- "some of the details were wrong, m'lud, but it was, in essence, true" -- just isn't good enough when a story has such high-stakes consequences, particularly in the Arab World.