Defence Minister Geoff Hoon’s criticism of Robert Fisk’s report that it was a US bomb that blew up Baghdad market has enraged the Indie and not surprisingly Fisk himself.

Fisk recalls how there were attempts to silence his reports of Saddam’s atrocities during the Iran-Iraq war as the Tory government and the FO didn’t want Saddam to get a bad press in his battle with Tehran, he adds: “And now I’m not supposed to report the slaughter of the innocent by American or RAF pilots because the British Government has changed sides.It’s a tactic worthy of only one man I can think of, a master of playing victim when he is in the act of killing, a man who thinks nothing of smearing the innocent to propagate his own version of history. I’m talking about Saddam Hussein. Geoff Hoon has learnt a lot from him. “

Like many bloggers I’ve never had much time for Fisk since his silly comments about “understanding” Afghan’s who attacked western journalists and I share little of his world view on recent conflicts- but I have to say his version of the market story (as seen from the streets of Baghdad where he has provided some outstanding reports) does sound much more credibe than Hoon’s suggestion that the Iraqis bombed themselves. It is not that such an action would be beyond the Saddam regime (it wouldn’t be) just that it seems highly unlikely and Fisk does rather seem to have found the smoking gun.