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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #2 - 3 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Revealed: how MI6 sold the Iraq war (Mark Parkinson)
   2. Iraq Funds Corruption Probes (2 articles) (ppg)
   3. IGC "No public trial for Hussein: (ppg)


Message: 1
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 13:23:35 -0000
Subject: Revealed: how MI6 sold the Iraq war

Did they just plant stories about WMD or were stories also planted
about the sanctions, the effects of sanctions, when the UNICEF report
was published etc etc? A big issue for our 'democracy' here in the

December 28, 2003

THE Secret Intelligence Service has run an operation to gain public
support for sanctions and the use of military force in Iraq. The
government yesterday confirmed that MI6 had organised Operation Mass
Appeal, a campaign to plant stories in the media about Saddam
Hussein=92s weapons of mass destruction.

The revelation will create embarrassing questions for Tony Blair in
the run-up to the publication of the report by Lord Hutton into the
circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, the government
weapons expert.

A senior official admitted that MI6 had been at the heart of a
campaign launched in the late 1990s to spread information about
Saddam=92s development of nerve agents and other weapons, but denied
that it had planted misinformation. =93There were things about Saddam=92s
regime and his weapons that the public needed to know,=94 said the

The admission followed claims by Scott Ritter, who led 14 inspection
missions in Iraq, that MI6 had recruited him in 1997 to help with the
propaganda effort. He described meetings where the senior officer and
at least two other MI6 staff had discussed ways to manipulate
intelligence material.

=93The aim was to convince the public that Iraq was a far greater
threat than it actually was,=94 Ritter said last week.

He said there was evidence that MI6 continued to use similar
propaganda tactics up to the invasion of Iraq earlier this year.
=93Stories ran in the media about secret underground facilities in Iraq
and ongoing programmes (to produce weapons of mass destruction),=94
said Ritter. =93They were sourced to western intelligence and all of
them were garbage.=94

Kelly, himself a former United Nations weapons inspector and
colleague of Ritter, might also have been used by MI6 to pass
information to the media. =93Kelly was a known and government-approved
conduit with the media,=94 said Ritter.

Hutton=92s report is expected to deliver a verdict next month on
whether intelligence was misused in order to promote the case for
going to war.

Hutton heard evidence that Kelly was authorised by the Foreign Office
to speak to journalists on Iraq. Kelly was in close touch with the
=93Rockingham cell=94, a group of weapons experts that received MI6

Blair justified his backing for sanctions and for the invasion of
Iraq on the grounds that intelligence reports showed Saddam was
working to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The use
of MI6 as a =93back channel=94 for promoting the government=92s policies on
Iraq was never discovered during the Hutton inquiry and is likely to
cause considerable disquiet among MPs.

A key figure in Operation Mass Appeal was Sir Derek Plumbly, then
director of the Middle East department at the Foreign Office and now
Britain=92s ambassador to Egypt. Plumbly worked closely with MI6 to
help to promote Britain=92s Middle East policy.

The campaign was judged to be having a successful effect on public
opinion. MI6 passed on intelligence that Iraq was hiding weapons of
mass destruction and rebuilding its arsenal.

Poland, India and South Africa were initially chosen as targets for
the campaign because they were non-aligned UN countries not
supporting the British and US position on sanctions. At the time, in
1997, Poland was also a member of the UN security council.

Ritter was a willing accomplice to the alleged propaganda effort when
first approached by MI6=92s station chief in New York. He obtained
approval to co-operate from Richard Butler, then executive chairman
of the UN Special Commission on Iraq Disarmament.

Ritter met MI6 to discuss Operation Mass Appeal at a lunch in London
in June 1998 at which two men and a woman from MI6 were present. The
Sunday Times is prevented by the Official Secrets Act from publishing
their names.

Ritter had previously met the MI6 officer at Vauxhall Cross, the
service=92s London headquarters. He asked Ritter for information on
Iraq that could be planted in newspapers in India, Poland and South
Africa from where it would =93feed back=94 to Britain and America.

Ritter opposed the Iraq war but this is the first time that he has
named members of British intelligence as being involved in a
propaganda campaign. He said he had decided to =93name names=94 because
he was frustrated at =93an official cover-up=94 and the =93misuse of

=93What MI6 was determined to do by the selective use of intelligence
was to give the impression that Saddam still had WMDs or was making
them and thereby legitimise sanctions and military action against
Iraq,=94 he said.

Recent reports suggest America has all but abandoned hopes of finding
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that David Kay, head of the
Iraq Survey Group, has resigned earlier than expected, frustrated
that his resources have been diverted to tracking down insurgents.

Nicholas Rufford The Sunday Times

Mark Parkinson


Message: 2
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: Iraq Funds Corruption Probes (2 articles)
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 13:30:47 -0500

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

U.S. Implicated In Iraq Reconstruction Scam
     By Agence France-Presse

     Monday 29 December 2003

    Iraq's interim trade ministry is investigating alleged corruption of up=
 to $US40 million by members of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authorit=
y and senior ministry officials.

     Trade minister Ali Allawi says he discovered a month ago that a contra=
ct for wooden doors worth about $US80 million had been manipulated.

     "I think a third of it was stolen," he said, specifically estimating t=
hat "probably around 30, 40 million" disappeared.

     Mr Allawi said the allegations mainly involve "contract manipulation a=
nd ... contract prioritisation" which he has asked a prosecutor to investig=

     "There is strong evidence ... of the implication of certain individual=
s, senior management who have since been asked to leave, together with, unf=
ortunately, figures in the CPA," said Mr Allawi, who returned from his job =
as a London investment banker to take up his post in September.

     He said a few "key individuals" were under investigation.

     "If the evidence is confirmed then obviously I'll bring charges," he s=

     The CPA could not immediately comment on the case.

     Mr Allawi said Paul Bremer, who heads the CPA, has asked each ministry=
 to appoint an inspector general.

     "So this investigation might be passed on to him or her," the minister=

     It is not the first time post-war contracts in Iraq have come under sc=

     The Middle East Economic Survey predicted earlier that it was increasi=
ngly unlikely Iraq's new mobile telephone service would be in place by year=
's end because of a Pentagon investigation into allegations of corruption i=
n the awarding of the three licences.

     Iraq's interim telecommunications minister, Haydar al-Abadi, said the =
corruption allegations were "a naked lie" exposed by the fact that he signe=
d the licences last week and the companies were testing their networks.

     He said neither the Pentagon nor any other agency had asked his minist=
ry questions about the mobile phone deals.

     "There is no such inquiry," he said.

     In October, the British charity Christian Aid alleged $US4 billion in =
oil revenues and other Iraqi funds earmarked for the country's reconstructi=
on had disappeared into "opaque" bank accounts administered by the CPA.

     Mr Bremer rejected those allegations and said all funds were being spe=
nt or transferred in a "completely transparent" way.

     Mr Allawi said the latest allegations ran counter to the mentality he =
was trying to instill within his department.

     "We are trying as much as possible to instill a culture of resisting c=
orruption," he said.

     The ministry is organising a public forum to create a non-governmental=
 organisation that would combat the problem.

     Once the watchdog has elected its own secretariat, the ministry will w=
ithdraw from the body, Mr Allawi said.


Pentagon Freezes Iraq Funds Amid Corruption Probes
     By Stephen J. Glain
     The Boston Globe

Tuesday 30 December 2003

     WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has frozen new funds approved for Iraqi rec=
onstruction amid growing allegations of corruption and cronyism associated =
with the rebuilding process.

     Companies eager for a stake in the $18.6 billion in fresh postwar fund=
s that Congress approved in November have been told not to expect requests =
for proposals from the Defense Department, the first step in the kind of am=
bitious redevelopment slated for the war-torn country. The freeze will almo=
st certainly mean the United States will not issue new contracts until well=
 after the initial Feb. 1 target date.

     "We're on hold and we'll be on hold until we hear differently," Admira=
l David Nash, the director of the Pentagon's Iraq Program Management Office=
, yesterday told the Engineering News-Record, a construction trade journal.=
 He gave no further details.

     The Pentagon also announced last week it would postpone until early Ja=
nuary a conference for companies interested in rebuilding Iraq, according t=
o Robyn Powell of the National Defense Industrial Association, which coordi=
nates meetings between industry and the military.

     "I don't know why the conference has been canceled again," Powell told=

     The Pentagon's decision to delay Iraqi reconstruction is another setba=
ck for a process already hobbled by political insecurity and, increasingly,=
 concerns over corruption and misconduct. The success of the U.S.-led bid t=
o remake Iraq politically depends largely on efforts to reverse the country=
's chronic unemployment by repairing it economically. But lawmakers in Wash=
ington and businesspeople in Iraq say the bidding process lacks transparenc=
y and favors a growing class of monopolists and oligarchs that could overwh=
elm the country's infant regulatory framework.

     "Everyone is focusing on the capture of Saddam Hussein," said Laith Ku=
bba, a former Iraqi dissident who divides his time between Washington, Lond=
on, and Iraq. "But with Saddam gone the most important thing is the country=
's political and economic transformation, and that is being held hostage by=
 vested interests."

     Bids for 26 contracts were to be submitted by Jan. 5. But that date ha=
s been postponed indefinitely.

     Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Dec. 18 that it would investigate a =
controversial contract for an Iraqi cellphone grid, the second such probe i=
nto Iraq-related reconstruction.

     For weeks, Iraqi businesspeople and officials had been calling for an =
investigation into the three telephone contracts worth hundreds of millions=
 of dollars that the U.S.-led coalition awarded in October to three Arab co=
nsortia. Work on the networks, considered crucial to the rebuilding of Iraq=
, should have been well underway by now and service set to be up and runnin=
g by spring. Construction has not yet begun.

     The cellphone probe followed by one week a Pentagon investigation into=
 whether Brown & Root Services overcharged by $61 million for fuel it broug=
ht into Iraq from Kuwait. Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton Co., th=
e oil giant Vice President Dick Cheney once chaired, is doing a variety of =
petroleum-related work in Iraq under a no-bid contract the government issue=
d in March. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

     The investigations highlight the need, according to lawmakers and busi=
nesspeople, for a credible watchdog authority to keep an eye on how money f=
or reconstruction, dominated by Halliburton and engineering giant Bechtel G=
roup, is spent.

     The Washington office of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S.=
-led organization in charge of the Iraqi occupation, did not return calls f=
or comment.

     Since it was ruled under the Ottoman Empire more than a century ago, t=
he Iraqi economy has been dominated by a dozen or so merchant families. The=
se clans, active in everything from farming to finance, survived the Hussei=
n regime with their fortunes more or less intact. With Iraqi business still=
 desperate for cash, the big merchant families are bankrolling smaller comp=
anies bidding for rebuilding work in exchange for a share of profits.

     "All of this is going on under the surface," attorney Timothy Mills, w=
ho was active in the rehabilitation of former east bloc economies, said in =
congressional testimony last month after returning from Iraq. "We don't see=
 it and the U.S. government doesn't see it. All they see is the price."

     The U.S. government and the International Finance Corp., the lending a=
rm of the World Bank, say they have made available hundreds of millions of =
dollars for small to mid-sized businesses in Iraq. In addition to new sourc=
es of capital, Iraqi businesspeople say they want enhanced oversight and re=
gulation over the subcontracting process to prevent larger players from til=
ting the awards in their favor.

     "Otherwise, the next round of bidding is going to be more corrupt than=
 the first," said an Iraqi consultant to U.S. telecommunications companies =
with offices in Baghdad and Washington. "The clans have always done this, b=
ut now it's a hundred times worse."


Message: 3
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: IGC "No public trial for Hussein:
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 15:53:59 -0500

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Two articles of possible interest - pg

1.   An excellent summary of reasons behind  the "decision" of the IGC to n=
ot try Hussein publicly:

Christian Science Monitor
December 31, 2003, updated
"The Pitfalls of trying Hussein"


      2.  With regard to future international trials, attention to the very=
 important legal precedent set by General Wesley Clark last week.   eg,
      Wesley Clark Testifies Against Milosevic in War Crimes Trial That Cou=
ld Serve As Model For Saddam=92s Prosecution

      * "In an unprecedented agreement between the court and the United Sta=
tes, Washington will be allowed to review Clark's testimony before it is ma=
de public. The U.S. will have two days to apply for parts of the testimony =
to be removed from the public record if it considers them harmful to US nat=
ional interests..."

      *Transcript of Interview

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