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Dear all, I had initially decided not to send the message below, but actually it relates to Colin's message about un-backed up claims that do our cause more harm than good, so I will send it after all. It is a response to Hadi's message about having 'located the transcripts' of the April Glaspie/ SH meeting: I am often perturbed by the tendency on this list for some people to pay rather less attention than they might to the provenance of sources. The document referred to by Hadi is not straightforwardly a 'transcript' of the meeting, as he appears to suggest. Above the NY times article hosted at the site mentioned by Hadi is the following caveat: Here are excerpts from a document described by Iraqi Government officials as a transcript of the meeting, which also included the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz. A copy was provided to The New York Times by ABC News, which translated from the Arabic. The State Department has declined to comment on its accuracy. I am not saying that the meeting transcript is necessarily a complete fabrication. BUT consider the following. The transcript has gone through the following stages between the original meeting and us reading it on the website: 1. Iraqi government, 2. arabic-english translator(s), 3.New York Times, 4.ABC News, 5.Web host www.chss.montclair.edu. Each of these parties had an impact on the final text. Thus: 1. the Iraqi government wants to prove that they had been given the green light to invade. Do they edit the transcript to make this seem more plausible? The fact that Hadi describes the transcript as 'relatively complete' is a key issue here. Editing is not a neutral process: what is missing and who did the editing? 2.The translator has considerable leeway regarding how to translate ambiguous sounding text. Who was the translator associated with? What was their interest? 3. The ABC News group have interest in a scoop. 4. www.chss.montclair.edu have an interest in you picking up certain key points in the text - they have helpfully underlined them for you and put them into large red text. 5. The state department decline to comment on the accuracy of the text. Therefore the text of the meeting is a highly contested document. It can't simply be referred to as 'the transcript' as if was somehow a neutral transcript of what happened, agreed on by all concerned. In assessing ANY source and its accuracy, it is essential to ask certain questions - to be found in any GCSE history textbook: who wrote it? what was their interest in writing it? who was their intended audience? is it the original author you are reading, or is someone quoting them? etc etc This applies not just to reading the pronouncements of the British government, but also (and especially) to reading sources written or disseminated by people who hold kindred views to you. Sorry if this is patronising and simplistic to most (I'm sure it will be) but too many times on this list there are hints of people not asking themselves these questions. Just because something is written by a campaigning group or by a journalist with a kindred spirit does not mean it is true - the same standards of critical judgement need to be applied WHATEVER the source - whether the British government, the Iraqi government, CASI, or Omar El-Taher. As Colin suggests, unquestioningly accepting facts from dubious sources that are not backed up by serious research plays into the hands of our critics. Abi On Tue, 15 Jan 2002, HA wrote: > Dear list members, I could not find a full transcript of the SH and > April Glaspie meeting, but I have now got hold of a relatively > complete transcript of the key parts of the conversation from the 'THE > NEW YORK TIMES' dated Sun, Sept 23, 1990. If anyone else is interested > in having a copy, it can be found at: > http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/glaspie.html Regards Hadi > > -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.