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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to email@example.com Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Critique of Hutton report (k hanly) 2. Assyrians Call for End to Kurdish Terror Raids in Karkuk, Mosul (Mark Parkinson) 3. Guardian on bribery allegations (Daniel O'Huiginn) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <email@example.com> Subject: Critique of Hutton report Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 11:50:11 -0600 http://www.antiwar.com/spectator/spec33.html The great whitewash Rod Liddle says that Lord Hutton gave the government the benefit of the doubt, sometimes to the point of appearing either hopelessly naive or a visitor from a kinder, gentler planet So what were you all waiting for? You surely could not have been expecting an inquiry, headed by an eminent law lord, to deliver an indictment of the government? They don't do that, law lords. Certainly they haven't in my lifetime. And it hasn't happened now, with Lord Hutton. But even by the standards of his equally well appointed and eminent predecessors - Lord Franks, Sir Richard Scott, Sir Anthony Hammond, Lord Denning, all of whom found it necessary to exculpate the political establishment when push came to shove - Lord Hutton has flung the whitewash around with a copiousness, a completeness, which must have surprised even the inhabitants of Downing Street. The only thing we can learn from the Hutton report is that next time we yearn and clamour for an inquiry into some piece of governmental chicanery, we should avoid at all costs importuning a senior member of the legal community to write it. Instead we should get someone a little more sentient, a little more observant, a little less inclined to accept without question the protestations of innocence of the ruling political elite. A plumber, for example. Or maybe the members of Atomic Kitten. Be a bit cheaper, too. The Hutton inquiry established in the public mind - beyond all question - the government's disingenuousness and deceit over the gravity of the threat posed by Iraq to the West. And then the Hutton report passed over, or ignored, or rather airily dismissed all of this stuff. Lord Hutton was merely following precedent here: the same sort of thing happened, if you remember, with the Scott inquiry into the selling of weapons to Iraq and, even more brazenly, Lord Franks's inquiry into the government's failure to prevent the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. The ability of law lords and the like to hear a mass of evidence and, having done so, to draw precisely the opposite conclusion to that reached by the rest of the country is almost as entertaining as their penchant of law lords for pronouncing simple words in a bizarre or anachronistic manner. Weapons of maaaarse destruction indeed, Lord Hutton? So let us help his lordship. Let us remind him of the salient facts established by his own inquiry but by which he seemed unimpressed, or maybe just bored. Firstly, the BBC was not merely justified in but should be congratulated upon broadcasting a story that was important, significant and in the public interest. There are some, around here, who consider it the most important political story of the last 20 years or so. Secondly, that the story was not merely fundamentally correct as it stood on 29 May, but has since been endlessly corroborated. The story was this: a senior member of the intelligence community had deep misgivings about the way in which the government was using the information he and his colleagues had gathered - and that, what's more, it was Alastair Campbell or his office that was primarily responsible for 'sexing up' the September dossier which so wilfully exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq. We should concede here - as the BBC conceded - that the wording of one of Andrew Gilligan's 18 interviews on 29 May went a shade too far. The allegation that the government knew that the claim that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction could be deployed in 45 minutes was false and could not be corroborated. You and I might suspect that it's true, but we can't prove it - and so Andrew Gilligan should not have made the allegation. He has already admitted this point. But we might also acknowledge that this particular rogue interview, at seven minutes past six in the morning, did not form the basis of the original complaints from Mr Campbell. It is doubtful that he even heard it. The complaint, then, was that a) Gilligan had only one source and b) his source was insufficiently senior. We now know precisely how 'important and credible' Dr Kelly was, and we have more recently heard his views repeated by other members of the intelligence services. Lord Hutton decided, for reasons which entirely elude me, that the September dossier was not 'sexed up'. Let's examine what we know, as a fact, about this. Firstly, the 45-minute claim evolved from 'a mere possibility to a certain judgment' (Andrew Caldecott QC) in the September dossier; the late rewrite of the document was suggested by Jonathan Powell, the Downing Street chief of staff. This change had the effect of presenting Saddam Hussein as an offensive rather than a defensive threat (and we have discovered more recently that he was not even that). As Caldecott said, 'This was not cosmetic. It was substance.' Further, Hutton decided that the government was entirely justified in meddling with the September dossier, because the dossier was for public consumption. Clearly his lordship has no greater opinion of the unwashed British public than he has, more specifically, of journalists. He did not go into detail about the nature of the changes made to that dossier at the behest of Alastair Campbell - who, in a break with tradition, was allowed to chair meetings of the intelligence staff. We might direct his lordship's attention to the way in which the very title of the document was changed. Originally it was entitled 'Iraq's Programmes for Weapons of Mass Destruction', which had the whiff of accuracy about it. Later it became 'Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction' - as if they already had them and were about to use them; which is, of course, what the government wished us to believe. At every possible point, Lord Hutton gave the government the benefit of the doubt, sometimes to the extent of appearing either hopelessly naive or maybe a visitor from a gentler, kinder planet where chicanery never takes place. Listen to this, for example: 'The desire of the Prime Minister to have a strong dossier may have subconsciously influenced John Scarlett and the joint intelligence committee to produce a strongly worded document.' Subconsciously! The suggestion here that the PM's need for a 'strong' (or, to use another description, 'blatantly inaccurate') document was not made explicit to the hapless Scarlett and the JIC almost beggars belief. Indeed, the politicisation of the security services has been one of the darkest aspects of this whole affair. There was not, according to Hutton, a plan to identify Dr Kelly to the media - despite the fact that Hutton agreed that Tony Blair had chaired meetings about the naming of Dr David Kelly. What did he think was discussed at these meetings? And, similarly, at every juncture, Lord Hutton stuck the boot into the BBC and, while he was about it, Dr David Kelly. For Hutton, Kelly's previous eminence and chance of a knighthood were destroyed by his regrettable decision to talk to journalists, and - the implication is - he got what he deserved. Which is a strong message to be sent out to any other public servants who feel appalled at the way politicians use or abuse their services. At the BBC, it looks as if there will be resignations. The chairman of the BBC, Gavyn Davies, may well feel that his position is untenable following such trenchant criticism from his lordship. Davies is no great friend of mine, believe me - but on this issue he was steadfast and principled. And that principle grew from a sense of outrage at the way in which Alastair Campbell attacked and attacked the corporation on the broadest possible front, vilifying its output, its broadcasters and its ethos. Davies behaved with a great deal of dignity and no little strength. I dare say we can all brace ourselves for another pointless political row as to who should be allowed to take his place. My guess is there may not be too many takers right now. And finally, back to those weapons of mass destruction. Tony Blair apparently thinks that they will still be found. He's about the only person left standing who does believe such a thing. Even Bush and Rumsfeld have given up the ghost on that one. Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector, says that Iraq hasn't had WMD for ten years. In fact, every inspector dispatched to Iraq says that there are no weapons of mass destruction. That was the essence of Gilligan's story: the PM and the PM's office felt that they could not go to war except on the issue of Saddam's preparedness to attack the West. And having decided upon this, they then went about ensuring that the public believed that Saddam was prepared and equipped to attack the West despite the considerable evidence to the contrary. In other words, he led us to war on a false pretence. Only Lord Hutton seems unable to see this. I think, as a country, we've had enough of law lords --__--__-- Message: 2 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004 19:55:12 -0000 Subject: Assyrians Call for End to Kurdish Terror Raids in Karkuk, Mosul Has the situation improved? http://aina.org/releases/2003/karkukmosul.htm Karkuk (Syriac name: Karka d'Bait Sluk) was founded as an Assyrian city millennia ago. It sacrificed hundreds of thousands of martyrs. The precipitous disintegration of Iraqi armed forces towards the end of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" led to a provocative advance of Kurdish forces into the cities of Mosul and Karkuk. The ensuing looting and terror raids against the majority non-Kurdish residents of those cities have led to increased ethnic tension. American forces that were supposed to secure the urban areas in order to prevent just such terror raids by Kurds did not arrive until Kurdish bands looted and ransacked the cities unhindered. The ensuing Iraqi and international outrage over the lack of security in these areas in northern Iraq as well as elsewhere led to recent renewed efforts by the US to reign in Kurdish terror squads. First, in a setback to Kurdish aspirations to proclaim the Assyrian founded city of Karkuk (AINA 5-16-2000) as a "Kurdish Capital," a local governing council of 24 people was established that consisted of Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac), Turkman, Arabs, and Kurds in equal numbers. The six Assyrian representatives included Dr. Emil Nasir Azo, Mr. Sabah Nasir Hindi, Mr. Edward Oraham Odisho, Mr. Sargon Lazar Sliwa, Mr. Ashour Yalda, and Mr. Issac Poulus Mansour. In the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh (modern day Mosul), elections on May 5, 2003 yielded Assyrian Christians three representatives out of twenty-four, including Dr. Yousif Hanna Lallu, Rev. Lewis Sako, and Mr. Ghani Salim Sofiya. Although grossly inadequate in terms of what the indigenous Assyrians would consider fair representation in their historic heartland and ancient capital, the development was nonetheless noteworthy and welcome for a population starved of security and government services. As part of the American drive to stabilize the major urban areas, American troops recently began to disarm Kurdish forces and urge their withdrawal. Reports from Reuters on April 26 noted a near Kurdish military confrontation with American forces trying to disarm armed Kurds in Mosul. According to Reuters, "US forces identified three roadblocks in the city manned by =91pesh merga' fighters loyal to the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and moved in hundreds of soldiers to take them over." Apparently, Kurdish fighters attempted to reinforce one of their positions with dozens of fighters until a US Kiowa attack helicopter circled overhead. Reportedly, one US Army Captain told a Kurd paramilitary leader "that if he did not tell his men to pull back =91you will see more firepower than you would dare dream about.'" Lieutenant Colonel Chris Holden of the US Army added "Our intention is to disarm them. We want the pesh merga to leave and we will continue raising the bar on their compliance until they have left the city." Although developments in Karkuk and Mosul did give some hope for future stability in those areas, Assyrians have remained deeply troubled by the Kurdish paramilitary advance into Assyrian villages and cities especially in the environs around Mosul following the conclusion of the war (AINA 4-19-2003). Caught between competing interests and escalating tensions between Turkey and the Kurds, the US had brokered an agreement whereby the Kurds would advance towards the surrounding villages around Karkuk and Mosul but not enter the cities themselves in exchange for a pledge by Turkey not to invade the oil rich northern Iraqi cities. The resulting Kurdish advance led to the early occupation of such prominent Assyrian towns and villages as Telkepe, Telasqos, Bahzani, Sharafea, Alqosh, Bartella, Karamlis, and Baghdedi among others. Still unconfirmed reports from northern Iraq now note that American forces may have begun asking Kurds to leave Assyrian villages. As an example, Telkepe is now believed to be free of Kurdish occupation. Others such as Alqosh, Karamlis, Bartella, and Baghdedi remain occupied. 54 year old Hazim Petrus Damman murdered on April 10, 2003 by Kurdish terrorists in Karkuk, Iraq. As reported by Human Rights Without Frontiers International and a self-described Assyrian Chaldean family, 54 year old Hazim Petrus Damman was killed on April 10 by a group of Kurdish terrorists in Karkuk. Mr. Damman was a chemical engineer working for the Karkuk oil company. According to the family, one day after "liberation", Mr. Damman was driving home in his company car when "he encountered enemy fire by pesh mergas waiting for him in the hidden background. As they noticed he was shot, they simply dragged his corpse out of the car and drove in his vehicle, leaving him excruciatingly bleeding there."The family was unable to discover Mr. Damman's whereabouts until 10 days later due to the ensuing chaos and anarchy following the occupation by looting Kurds. Mr. Damman's family has claimed that he was most likely targeted as an AssyrianChaldean Christian and oil company employee. To Assyrians still feeling the terror and intimidation of Kurdish occupation in the former UN administered "Safe Haven," the Kurds simply used the security vacuum at the conclusion of the war to further occupy still more Assyrian villages. Anticipating the Kurdish advance, Assyrian military personnel were deployed during the war not so much to defend against retreating Iraqi forces, but rather to protect from marauding Kurdish paramilitary forces. Assyrians continue to bitterly complain that prior to the war, Assyrian political organizations had been actively involved in the opposition to the government. As one Assyrian analyst noted, "the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) had been designated as a legitimate recipient of aid under the Iraqi Liberation Act and the ADM has been one of the core group of eight major opposition groups. Assyrians had fully supported regime change. Why, then do Kurdish thugs have to occupy Assyrian villages already under Assyrian opposition protection? There are absolutely no Kurdish residents in these villages. There is absolutely no reason for them to be there." The growing anger amongst Assyrians is leading to greater calls for Kurdish withdrawal not just from recently occupied villages but the over 250 other villages in northern Iraq held by Kurds. Another Assyrian activist noted "These villages constitute the Assyrian heartland and should form the very nucleus of a future Assyrian local self-administrative area needed to protect Assyrian survival in any future Iraq. For Assyrians to survive and thrive in the new Iraq, such areas need to be preserved as an Assyrian sanctuary- free from threat and intimidation." Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall --__--__-- Message: 3 Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 09:11:35 +0000 (GMT) From: Daniel O'Huiginn <do227@DELETETHIShermes.cam.ac.uk> To: email@example.com Subject: Guardian on bribery allegations [from Muhamed] Enclosed is a related news report from Baghdad in: http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1134636,00.html "Iraqi council demands list of alleged bribes.=20 Leaders eager to examine newspaper claims that Saddam gave oil contracts to sympathetic foreigners. Rory McCarthy in Baghdad, Jon Henley in Paris and Owen Bowcott. Friday January 30, 2004.The Guardian" =20 Iraqi council demands list of alleged bribes Leaders eager to examine newspaper claims that Saddam gave oil contracts to sympathetic foreigners Rory McCarthy in Baghdad, Jon Henley in Paris and Owen Bowcott Friday January 30, 2004 The Guardian Iraq's governing council has ordered officials to produce documents published in a newspaper which allege Saddam Hussein bribed more than 260 prominent foreigners with oil contracts. The US-appointed governing council will meet next week to examine the papers and determine whether they warrant a formal investigation. This week al-Mada, a newspaper established in Baghdad after the war, published a list of more than 260 officials, politicians, journalists and organisations from 50 countries in the west and the Arab world who, it said, had received oil from Saddam in return for supporting his regime. The roll call of those who allegedly benefited from the largesse of the ousted Ba'ath regime includes prime ministers, presidents' sons, churches and businessmen. Some are in neighbouring Middle Eastern states, others live in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Indonesia and Russia. The Russian orthodox church and the Russian Communist party have been named as beneficiaries, as have companies in Switzerland and Italy. The PLO is also alleged to have been a recipient. Al-Mada said the documents - which relate only to the year 1999 - were recovered from Iraq's state oil marketing organisation, a government-run department responsible for selling oil. Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of the governing council, said he believed there were more lists of names still to come out. "They seem to be documents taken out of official files," he said. "We are still studying the list. We haven't yet reached a formal decision on them. We are still investigating." Dr Othman said the governing council had asked to see the documents, which it will review and discuss at a meeting next week. "Also there are authorities in other countries who will be concerned," he said. Jordan and Bulgaria have said they will investigate their citizens who appear on the list. The Bulgarian president, Georgi Parvanov, has reportedly launched an inquiry into claims that the Socialist party received money from Iraq, but described the allegation as "ill-advised black humour". There are 14 Jordanian citizens and companies on the list. Forty-six individuals and companies from Russia are named, as are 14 from Lebanon, 14 from Syria and 11 from France. "We knew of course that Saddam was spending a lot of money bribing people," Dr Othman said. "We didn't know exactly what was going on. Now it looks as if oil was used for bribes." Officials in Iraq's oil ministry have said they are collecting information about the documents. A priority will be to establish their authenticity. "We are now gathering information on these documents and will sue those who stole the money of the Iraqi people," said Abdul-Sahib Salman Qutub, an oil ministry official. "The interest of the Iraqi people is above all. These documents show that the former regime spent lavishly Iraq's wealth. Yesterday a UN spokeswoman defended the work of the UN oil for food programme, run by Benon Sevan, under which Saddam was allowed to sell a limited quantity of oil to buy food and medicine. "We have seen the reports of these unconfirmed allegations," said Marie Okabe, the spokeswoman. "The oil for food programme has been satisfactorily audited many times, both internally and externally." Gilles Munier of a Franco-Iraqi association that promotes French businesses in Iraq admitted to the French newspaper Le Monde this week that his organisation had received gifts of oil but said they were perfectly legal payments under the oil for food programme. "This is how it worked," he said. "Every company, oil or otherwise, that did business in Iraq thanks to an introduction from an individual or an organisation paid that intermediary a commission on the profit margin he made on the transaction. "This was not illegal and it did not deprive the Iraqi people of their dues." India's Congress party dismissed the allegation that the party or its members had taken oil vouchers from Saddam. The report "is not to be taken seriously. It is not factually correct," said Anand Sharma, a party spokesman. End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk