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Channel Nine urged to grovel and say sorry to get 60 Minutes team home -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: A former senior Australian diplomat has told AM the key to Channel Nine getting its employees out of Lebanon is to apologise profusely.

Bruce Haigh served Australia in a number of Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

He says Channel Nine's best hope of getting any sympathy from the Lebanese Government is to admit it's made a mistake and say sorry.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Bruce Haigh is a former Australian diplomat with extensive experience in the Middle East.

If Channel Nine was to ask for his advice how to get its 60 Minutes team out of Lebanon, his advice would be simple.

BRUCE HAIGH: You need to grovel.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: And that's what he suspects the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop would also say.

BRUCE HAIGH: You need to go and make an abject apology to the Lebanese Government and you need to say, "Look, we made a huge error, a bad error of judgement and we really apologise for what's occurred."

Nothing short of that will get these people out.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Serious questions are being raised about the company that attempted the botched recovery, Child Abduction Recovery International or CARI.

It's run by former Australian soldier Adam Whittington and is regarded in the child recovery industry as being reckless.

COL CHAPMAN: The first mistake was hiring CARI.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: That's the opinion of Col Chapman, who heads Child Recovery Australia.

Mr Chapman initially advised Sally Faulkner about a recovery operation before she decided to go with CARI. He says his fees were too high.

Col Chapman says several of CARI's operations have ended up in disaster with those involved being arrested and jailed.

COL CHAPMAN: CARI has been arrested in three countries, jailed in two countries, and along with CARI being jailed, in three instances the parents have been jailed as well. The mother or father accompanying them have ended up in jail. They're known for violent and aggressive recoveries and that's just not my opinion, that's factual, been to jail, been arrested, been convicted, and here again.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Col Chapman denies his criticism of CARI is based on any form of professional rivalry. He says the respected companies in the sector often work closely together and regard each other highly.

But he says CARI's behaviour in Lebanon was arrogant and amateurish.

He now thinks the 60 Minutes team will be fined and let go as will Sally Faulkner.

COL CHAPMAN: They've been a bit arrogant in their behaviour over in Lebanon. They have. And I don't think anyone would disagree with me. What were they thinking?

But now that they've been charged, they're before the court, and the same over here, you can't be fined or punished until you're before the court. So Lebanon's the same.

Let's charge them, let's let the courts work it out. Now my opinion as I've said all along, big fine, they're out of there. Sally - slap on the wrist, small fine. CARI - staying in jail for an extended period of time. The only thing that's going to change that is a chequebook, and a big one.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: For him, the question is now who paid for the operation, which reportedly cost well over $100,000.

COL CHAPMAN: Sally was broke. She couldn't afford to pay for this so who paid for it? Who authorised it? And who contracted them?

MICHAEL EDWARDS: A spokesman for the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says discussions are being maintained with the Lebanese Government about the case.