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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #23 - 3 msgs

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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" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Critique of Hutton report
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 11:50:11 -0600

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

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

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

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

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

I think, as a country, we've had enough of law lords


Message: 2
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
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?

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

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


Message: 3
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 09:11:35 +0000 (GMT)
From: Daniel O'Huiginn <>
Subject: Guardian on bribery allegations

[from Muhamed]

Enclosed is a related news report from Baghdad in:,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

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

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

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

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