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Re: [casi] Intelligence? the British dossier on Iraq's security infrastructure

Dear Glen

This is actually dynamite - I reckon that Newsnight or
Channel 4 news or someone like that could do a MAJOR story
on this. Really, this could be important! Have you thought
about trying this? Why not email
(newsnight ed obviously) and a bunch of others

Best wishes


On 05 Feb 2003 15:53:37 +0000 Glen Rangwala
<> wrote:

> A sideways comment:
> In preparation for Powell's presentation at 15:30 GMT today, I had a look
> at the third British government's "dossier" released last Thursday, "Iraq -
> Its Infrastructure Of Concealment, Deception And Intimidation" (30 January
> 2003). The document is at:
> (references below to page numbers relate to the downloadable Word version).
> The document claims to draw "upon a number of sources, including
> intelligence material" (p.1, first sentence).
> Now this is a bit misleading.
> More precisely, the bulk of the 19-page document (pp.6-16) is directly
> copied without acknowledgement from an article in last September's Middle
> East Review of International Affairs entitled "Iraq's Security and
> Intelligence Network: A Guide and Analysis".
> The author of the piece is Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student at
> the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He has confirmed to me
> that his permission was not sought; in fact, he didn't even know about the
> British document until I mentioned it to him.
> It's quite striking that even Marashi's typographical errors and anomolous
> uses of grammar are incorporated into the Downing Street document. For
> example, on p.13, the British dossier incorporates a misplaced comma:
> "Saddam appointed, Sabir 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri as head"..
> Likewise, Marashi's piece also states:
> "Saddam appointed, Sabir 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri as head"..
> The other sources that are extensively plagiarised in the document are two
> authors from Jane's Intelligence Review:
> Ken Gause (an international security analyst from Alexandria, Virginia),
> "Can the Iraqi Security Apparatus save Saddam" (November 2002), pp.8-13.
> Sean Boyne, "Inside Iraq?s Security Network", in 2 parts during 1997.
> None of the sources are acknowledged, leading the reader to believe that
> the information is a result of direct investigative work, rather than
> simply copied from pre-existing internet sources.
> The fact that the texts of these three authors are copied directly results
> in a proliferation of different transliterations (eg different spellings of
> Ba'th, depending on which author is being copied).
> There are two types of changes incorporated into the British document.
> Firstly, numbers are increased or are rounded up. So, for example, the
> section on "Fedayeen Saddam" (pp.15-16) is directly copied from Boyne,
> almost word for word. The only substantive difference is that Boyne
> estimates the personnel of the organisation to be 18,000-40,000 (Gause
> similarly estimates 10-40,000). The British dossier instead writes "30,000
> to 40,000". A similar bumping up of figures occurs with the description of
> the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
> The second type of change in the British dossier is that it replaces
> particular words to make the claim sound stronger. So, for example, most of
> p.9 on the functions of the Mukhabarat is copied directly from Marashi's
> article, except that when Marashi writes of its role in:
> "monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq"
> this becomes in the British dossier:
> "spying on foreign embassies in Iraq".
> Similarly, on that same page, whilst Marashi writes of the Mukhabarat:
> "aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes"
> - the British dossier renders this as:
> "supporting terrorist organisations in hostile regimes".
> Furher examples from the section on "Fedayeen Saddam" include how a
> reference to how, in Boyne's original text, its personnel are
> "recruited from regions loyal to Saddam", referring to their original
> grouping as "some 10,000-15,000 'bullies and country bumpkins.'"
> becomes in the British government's text a reference to how its personnel
> are:
> "press ganged from regions known to be loyal to Saddam" ... "some
> 10,000-15,000 bullies."
> Clearly, a reference to the "country bumpkins" would not have the
> rhetorical effect that the British government was aiming for.
> Finally, there is one serious substantive mistake in the British text, in
> that it muddles up Boyne's description of General Security (al-Amn al-Amm),
> and places it in its section on p.14 of Military Security (al-Amn
> al-Askari). The result is complete confusion: it starts on p.14 by relating
> how Military Security was created in 1992 (in a piece copied from Marashi),
> then goes onto talk about the movement of its headquarters - in 1990 (in a
> piece copied from Boyne on the activities of General Security). The result
> is that it gets the description of the Military Security Service wholly
> wrong, claiming that its head is Taha al-Ahbabi (whilst really he was head
> of General Security in 1997; Military Security was headed by Thabet
> Khalil).
> Apart from the obvious criticism that the British government has
> plagiarised texts without acknowledgement, passing them off as the work of
> its intelligence services, there are two further serious problems. Firstly,
> it indicates that the UK at least really does not have any independent
> sources of information on Iraq's internal politics - they just draw upon
> publicly available data. Thus any further claims to information based on
> "intelligence data" must be treated with even more scepticism.
> Secondly, the information presented as being an accurate statement of the
> current state of Iraq's security organisations may not be anything of the
> sort. Marashi - the real and unwitting author of much of the document - has
> as his primary source the documents captured in 1991 for the Iraq Research
> and Documentation Project. His own focus is the activities of Iraq's
> intelligence agencies in Kuwait, Aug90-Jan91 - this is the subject of his
> thesis. As a result, the information presented as relevant to how Iraqi
> agencies are currently engaged with Unmovic is 12 years old.
> For reference, here are a few other summary comments on the British
> document.
> Official authors are (in Word > Properties) P. Hamill, J. Pratt, A.
> Blackshaw, and M. Khan.
> p.1 is the summary.
> pp.2-5 are a repetition of Blix's comments to the Security Council on the
> difficulties they were encountering, with further claims about the
> activities of al-Mukhabarat. These are not backed up, eg the claim that car
> crashes are organised to prevent the speedy arrival of inspectors.
> p.6 is a simplified version of Marashi's diagram at:
> p.7 is copied (top) from Gause (on the Presidential Secretariat), and
> (middle and bottom) from Boyne (on the National Security Council).
> p.8 is entirely copied from Boyne (on the National Security Council).
> p.9 is copied from Marashi (on al-Mukhabarat), except for the final
> section, which is insubstantial.
> p.10 is entirely copied from Marashi (on General Security), except for the
> final section, which is insubstantial.
> p.11 is entirely copied from Marashi (on Special Security), except for the
> top section (on General Security), which is insubstantial.
> p.12 is entirely copied from Marashi (on Special Security).
> p.13 is copied from Gause (on Special Protection) and Marashi (Military
> Intelligence).
> p.14 is wrongly copied from Boyne (on Military Security) and from Marashi
> (on the Special Republican Guard).
> p.15 is copied from Gause and Boyne (on al-Hadi project / project 858).
> pp.15-16 is copied from Boyne (on Fedayeen Saddam).
> A final section, on the Tribal Chiefs' Bureau, seems to be copied from a
> different piece by Cordesman.
> Glen.
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Dr. Eric Herring
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