The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Dear all, Having posted my non-academic thoughts, I found this and agree absolutely with the points made - though Hadi did say he knew not the accuracy of the posting - but by posting it, gave other researchers new avenues to explore. However, it is intersting that the State Department - no stranger to spin - wouldn't comment either way. One would have thought they would have been lightning quick to rubbish it had there not been some serious impediment - and at a time of mega-propoganda by all sides. just thoughts Best, f. > > 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. > -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.