- LONDON (AP) -- Much of a widely seen British TV documentary on the Colombian
drug trade was faked, a British newspaper alleges. Parts of the documentary
appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes."
- In a series of articles this week, the
Guardian newspaper said a Carlton Television film on the Cali drug cartel
contained a series of misrepresentations. Among them: A drug courier purportedly
shown swallowing packets of heroin had no drugs in his stomach when he
arrived in Britain, and he was stopped at Customs and deported rather than
getting through to London as the film said.
- The documentary also claimed a man with
only low-level connections to the drug world was the No. 3 chief in the
cartel, and showed a blindfolded film crew being led to an interview that
actually happened in producer Marc de Beaufort's hotel room, according
to the newspaper.
- And the courier's flight, far from being
a drug-smuggling mission arranged by the Cali cartel, was made on a ticket
bought by the producer, The Guardian said.
- De Beaufort denied the allegations and
said he welcomed investigations under way by Carlton Television and Britain's
Independent Television Commission.
- "I have repeatedly invited them
(The Guardian) to interview me and view all the film's rushes," he
was quoted as saying in Thursday's Guardian.
- The newspaper said a film researcher
had written Carlton about the alleged fraud before the documentary aired.
"60 Minutes" showed segments of the documentary in June and interviewed
de Beaufort, the paper said.
- On Friday, it quoted "60 Minutes"
executive producer Don Hewitt as saying, "Any time any reputable news
organization gives its readers or viewers details that later turn out not
to be true, they are obligated to tell the truth."