“Rogue” US reporter Jerry Hagstrom – the agriculture journalist for Congress Daily
who was the first journalist to publish the inflated AWB Iraqi wheat
contracts and the first to break the kickbacks story in the US –
doesn’t make the cut with Australia in Washington any more.

Hagstrom
was refused entry to a press conference given by Agriculture Minister
Peter McGuaran in Washington last week – he was told it was
specifically for Australian journos. Then he says he was booted off
embassy grounds to wait outside on the street for the meeting to
convene. The embassy claims it was all a muck-up.

“The
incident does follow a pattern of how differently the embassy has
treated me since I started covering the AWB story”, Hagstrom said via
email from the US.

He says that since he broke the story back
in 2003 he’s been frozen out of Australian diplomatic circles. Prior to
his AWB reporting, Hagstrom says he used to lunch regularly with
embassy officials, informing them on the state of the US agriculture
industry.

“I was also on the embassy social list and invited to
parties, art openings and film showings. After I wrote the first AWB
story, I never got another invitation.”

Peter Fray

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