The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] News, 05-12/02/03 (4)

News, 05-12/02/03 (4)


*  Leaked Report Rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda Link
*  Blair defends al-Qaeda claim
*  Britain's report on Iraq lifted from published materials
*  Real authors of Iraq dossier blast Blair
*  First casualties in the propaganda firefight
*  The Propaganda War  Iraq
*  Inquiry into the 'tainted' No 10 dossier on Iraq


*  Online Iraq game hits the button
*  Ex SAS man fights for tale of raid


*  Iraq: Scientist Agrees to U.N. Interview
*  Iraq's point man on weapons is considered a chemical mastermind
*  Blix Holds Out Hope for Iraq Cooperation
*  Blix unhappy with Iraqi list of scientists
*  Iraq says it will allow inspections by air


BBC, 5th February

There are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda
network,  according to an official British intelligence report seen by BBC

The classified document, written by defense intelligence staff three weeks
ago, says there has been contact between the two in the past.

But it assessed that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust
and  incompatible ideologies.

That conclusion flatly contradicts one of the main charges laid against
Iraqi  leader Saddam Hussein by the United States and Britain - that he has
cultivated contacts with the group blamed for the 11 September attacks.

The report emerges even as Washington was calling Saddam a liar for denying,
in a television interview with former Labour MP and minister Tony Benn, that
he had any links to al-Qaeda.

It also comes on the day US Secretary of State Colin Powell goes to the
United Nations Security Council to make the case that Iraq has failed to
live  up to the demands of the world community.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is also ratcheting up the rhetoric in the
ongoing crisis over Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction, saying the
prospect of a peaceful outcome was "diminishing" by the day.

He said he could not believe the Iraqi regime would be "this stupid" not to

The defense intelligence staff document, seen by BBC defense correspondent
Andrew Gilligan, is classified Top Secret and was sent to UK Prime Minister
Tony Blair and other senior members of the government.

It says al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden views Iraq's ruling Ba'ath party as
running contrary to his religion, calling it an "apostate regime".

"His aims are in ideological conflict with present day Iraq," it says.

Gilligan says that in recent days intelligence sources have told the BBC
there is growing disquiet at the way their work is being politicized to
support the case for war on Iraq.

He said: "This almost unprecedented leak may be a shot across the
politicians' bows."

Mr Straw insisted that intelligence had shown that the Iraqi regime appeared
to be allowing a permissive environment "in which al-Qaeda is able to

"Certainly we have some evidence of links between al-Qaeda and various
people  in Iraq," he told BBC Radio 4's Today program.

But he conceded: "What we don't know, and the prime minister and I have made
it very clear, is the extent of those links.

"What we also know, however, is that the Iraqi regime have been up to their
necks in the pursuit of terrorism generally."

He added: "The use of force to enforce the will of the UN, now, I'm afraid,
is more probable, but it is not inevitable and the choice essentially is one
for Saddam Hussein and his regime."


BBC, 5th February

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has insisted there are links between the Iraqi
regime and al Qaeda, but admitted that he did not know how deep these go.

Mr Blair sought to defend his previous claims of contact between the two as
a  British intelligence report, seen by BBC News, indicated that there were
"no  current links" between them.

The classified document, written three weeks ago, says there has been
contact  between the two in the past, but that the relationship had
foundered due to  mistrust and incompatible ideologies

That conclusion contradicts one of the charges laid against Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein by the United States and Britain - that he has cultivated
contacts with the group blamed for the 11 September attacks.

Mr Blair, who will meet UN weapons inspection chief Hans Blix on Thursday,
told MPs there were "unquestionably" links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

"But how far the links go is a matter for speculation," he said.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said the government's case for war
against Iraq would "undoubtedly be weakened, if not fatally undermined by
talking up links between al Qaeda and Iraq which are not there".

But Mr Blair insisted: "It would be unfair to say we have talked up these
links. We do not make our case against Saddam and Iraq on the basis of links
with al-Qaeda ...

"I do not think it's fair to suggest that we are trying to push this in some
way as a cover for any lack of argument on weapons of mass destruction.

"I believe our case on weapons of mass destruction is very, very clear

Earlier, Downing Street appeared to play down its past assertion that Saddam
Hussein's regime was "sheltering" al-Qaeda "operatives".

A spokesman said Tony Blair's statements on the issue reflected the advice
he's received from the Joint Intelligence Committee, and argued "we've not
pushed the envelope out over this - we've been measured".

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also sought to back up Mr Blair's line by
insisting that intelligence had shown the Iraqi regime appeared to be
allowing a "permissive environment" "in which al-Qaeda is able to operate".

The defence intelligence staff's report emerges even as Washington was
calling Saddam a liar for denying, in a television interview with former
Labour MP and minister Tony Benn, that he had any links to al-Qaeda.

It also comes on the day US Secretary of State Colin Powell goes to the
United Nations Security Council to make the case that Iraq has failed to
live  up to the demands of the world community.

Mr Straw is also ratcheting up the rhetoric in the ongoing crisis saying the
use of force to reinforce the will of the UN to get Saddam to disarm was now
"more probable".

He said he could not believe the Iraqi regime would be "this stupid" not to

The defence intelligence staff document, seen by BBC defence correspondent
Andrew Gilligan, is classified Top Secret, but the prime minister insisted:
"I did not see it - it was not part of the reports given to me."

The brief says al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden views Iraq's ruling Ba'ath
party as running contrary to his religion, calling it an "apostate regime".

"His aims are in ideological conflict with present day Iraq," it says.

Mr Gilligan says that in recent days intelligence sources have told the BBC
there is growing disquiet at the way their work is being politicised to
support the case for war on Iraq.

He said: "This almost unprecedented leak may be a shot across the
politicians' bows."

by Sarah Lyall
Houston Chronicle, from New York Times, 7th February

LONDON -- The British government acknowledged Friday that large sections of
its most recent report on Iraq, praised by Secretary of State Colin Powell
as "a fine paper" in his speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, had been
lifted from magazines and academic journals.

But while acknowledging that the 19-page report was indeed a "pull-together
of a variety of sources," a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair defended
it as "solid" and "accurate."

The document, "Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and
Intimidation," was posted on No. 10 Downing Street's Web site on Monday. It
was depicted as an up-to-date and highly unsettling assessment by the
British intelligence services of Iraq's security apparatus and its efforts
to hide its activities from weapons inspectors and to resist international
efforts to force it to disarm.

But much of the material actually came, sometimes verbatim, from several
nonsecret published articles, according to critics of the government's
policy who have studied the documents. These include an article published in
the Middle East Review of International Affairs in September 2002, as well
as three articles from Jane's Intelligence Review, two of them published in
the summer of 1997 and one in November 2002.

In some cases, the critics said, parts of the articles -- or of summaries
posted on the Web -- were paraphrased in the report. In other cases, they
were plagiarized -- to the extent that even spelling and punctuation errors
in the originals were reproduced in the government document.

Blair's government did not deny that any of this. But its spokesman insisted
Friday that the government believed "the text as published to be accurate"
and that the document had been published because "we wanted to show people
not only the kind of regime we were dealing with, but also how Saddam
Hussein had pursued a policy of deliberate deception."

But critics said that not only did the document appear to have been largely
cut and pasted together, but also that the articles it relied on were based
on information that is, by now, obsolete.

For instance, the second section of the three-part report, which is
described on the Downing Street Web site as providing "up-to-date details of
Iraq's network of intelligence and security," was drawn in large part from
an article about Iraqi intelligence activities in Kuwait in 1990 and 1991.

The article appeared in the Middle East Review of International Affairs last
September. Its author was Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student at the
Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

Marashi told Channel 4 News, which first reported the plagiarism charges,
that his research had been drawn primarily from two huge sets of documents:
"One taken from Kurdish rebels in the north of Iraq -- around 4 million
documents -- as well as 300,000 documents left by Iraqi security services in

He also said that while he had no reason to doubt the veracity of anything
he had written and believed the government report to be accurate, no one had
asked permission or informed him that they planned to use his work.

Critics of the British and American policy toward Iraq said the report
showed how little concrete evidence the two governments actually have
against Iraq.

"Both governments seem so desperate to create a pretext to attack Iraq that
they are willing to say anything," said Nathaniel Hurd, a consultant for
various organizations on the United Nations' relations with Iraq and a
critic of the Bush administration's position. "This U.K. dossier, which
deceptively uses outdated material and plagiarizes, is just the latest
example of official dishonesty."

Opposition politicians here attacked the report as the deceptive work of a
bumbling government clutching at straws as it tries to make a case for war.

"This is the intelligence equivalent of being caught stealing the spoons,"
said Menzies Campbell, the foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal
Democrats. "The dossier may not amount to much, but this is a considerable
embarrassment for a government trying still to make a case for war.";

by Gary Jones And Alexandra Williams In Los Angeles
Daily Mirror, 8th February

JOURNALIST Sean Boyne and student Ibrahim al-Marashi have attacked Tony
Blair for using their reports to call for war against Iraq.

Mr Boyne, who works for military magazine Jane's Intelligence Review, said
he was shocked his work had been used in the Government's dossier.

Articles he wrote in 1997 were plagiarised for a 19-page intelligence
document entitled Iraq: Its Infrastructure Of Concealment, Deception And
Intimidation to add weight to the PM's warmongering.

He said: "I don't like to think that anything I wrote has been used for an
argument for war. I am concerned because I am against the war."

The other main source was a thesis by post-graduate student, Ibrahim
al-Marashi, the US born son of Iraqis, who lives in California. His research
was partly based on documents seized in the 1991 Gulf War.

He said: "This is wholesale deception. How can the British public trust the
Government if it is up to these sort of tricks? People will treat any other
information they publish with a lot of scepticism from now on."

After the dossier's origins were revealed, Mr Blair was accused by his own
MPs of theft and lies. The fiasco has deeply damaged his attempts to win
backing for military action.

It emerged the PA to Mr Blair's spin chief Alastair Campbell was involved in
drawing up the dossier which was published last month.

Alison Blackshaw and a Government press officer were both named on the
dossier when it was first put on the Government's website. But the names
were later removed.

The bulk of the Government's document is directly copied, without
acknowledgement, from Ibrahim's 5,000-word thesis - Iraq's Security and
Intelligence Network - published last September.

He did not even know the dossier existed until Glen Rangwala, a
Cambridge-based Iraq analyst, spotted the plagarism and called him.

Ibrahim, whose parents fled to the US from Iraq in 1968, said the Government
not only blatantly lifted much of his work, including typing and grammatical
errors. Mr al-Marashi and Mr Boyne said their figures had been altered in
the Government document.

Former Labour Defence Minister MP Peter Kilfoyle said: "It just adds to the
general impression that what we have been treated to is a farrago of

"I am shocked that on such thin evidence that we should be trying to
convince the British people that this is a war worth fighting."

And Labour MP Glenda Jackson said: "It is another example of how the
Government is attempting to mislead the country and Parliament.

"And of course to mislead is a Parliamentary euphemism for lying."

The PM's official spokesman rejected Ms Jackson's claims but admitted it had
been a mistake not to acknowledge Mr al-Marashi's thesis in the dossier.

He added: "The fact we used some of his work doesn't throw into question the
accuracy of the document as a whole. This document is solid."

Asked whether Downing Street was embarrassed about the affair, the spokesman
said: "We all have lessons to learn."

The dossier had been praised by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in his
speech to the UN Security Council. Mr Boyne added: "Maybe I should invoice
Colin Powell.",12239,892145,00.html

by Gaby Hinsliff, Martin Bright, Peter Beaumont and Ed Vulliamy
The Observer, 9th February

Late last Tuesday night, a three-page email started circulating among a
select group of friends concerned about the impact of sanctions on Iraq.

Full of academic outrage, it explained how the so-called 'secret spy
dossier' published last week by the Government as a crucial plank in the
argument for why the West should go to war was largely cribbed from an
American postgraduate's doctoral thesis - grammatical mistakes and all -
based on evidence 12 years out of date.

And, to cap it all, the finished document appeared to have been cobbled
together not by Middle East experts, but by the secretary of Alastair
Campbell, the Government's chief spin doctor, and some gofers.

It is no surprise, then, that when the email from Glen Rangwala - a
28-year-old Cambridge politics lecturer who stumbled across the plagiarism
when he was sent a copy of the dossier by researchers in Sweden - reached
two teenage Cambridge students they decided it deserved a wider audience.

One, 19-year-old Daniel O'Huiginn, forwarded the email to journalists.

In the propaganda wars that are now as crucial as any military build-up in
the Gulf, Tony Blair last week fell victim to friendly fire.

There has been significant collateral damage - and at the worst possible
time. A crucial vote in the UN Security Council is pending. Colin Powell,
the US Secretary of State, praised the document as a 'fine paper' and has
been embarrassed by association.The anti-war campaign has been handed a
large stick with which to beat the Government.

As Downing Street mounts an investigation into how it went wrong, questions
are being asked by a public that is still sceptical of the case for war on
Iraq. Does this mean that the Government is starved of decent intelligence?
If our security services are coming up with good material, why are we not
being shown it? If our information is untrustworthy, what about that
gathered by the Americans? Who - what - can we believe?

The debacle stems from Downing Street's desire to combat charges that the
reason why UN inspectors hunting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had
found no 'smoking gun' was because there was nothing to find.

Discussions between the Prime Minister's head of strategic communications,
Alastair Campbell, his foreign policy adviser, Sir David Manning, senior
officials in MI5 and MI6 and the new head of homeland security, Sir David
Omand, resulted in a decision to repeat a wheeze from last autumn:
publishing a dossier of 'intelligence-based evidence'.

This time it would focus on Saddam's history of deception. But with Hans
Blix, the head of the inspection programme, due to make a crucial report to
the UN in mid-February, time was short.

The publication of the previous dossier, focusing on Saddam's human rights
record and making the case that the dictator was a threat to the West, had
led to several stand-up rows between Omand and Campbell, with the former
accusing the latter of sprinkling too much 'magic dust' over the facts to
spice it up for public consumption. In the end, the more sensationalist
elements were confined to a foreword written by Foreign Secretary Jack
Straw, while the facts were left to speak for themselves.

But when it came to the most recent document, there was no time for such
niceties. Led by Campbell, a team from the Coalition Information Centre -
the group set up by Campbell and his American counterpart during the war on
the Taliban - began collecting published information that touched on useful

The key element was an article by Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student
from Monterrey in California, which seemed to illustrate some of the key
arguments about deception, even though it was based on evidence dating back
to 1991. Two further chunks from articles in Jane's Intelligence Review -
one written by Sean Boyne, an analyst opposed to war on Iraq - were
downloaded straight from a website.

Working against the clock with fairly thin material, insiders admit that
corners were cut. Marahashi's words were changed to exaggerate their
meaning: 'monitoring' foreign embassies became 'spying', while 'opposition
groups' was transformed into 'terrorist organisations'. The cut-and-paste
job was so incompetent that, in combining al-Marashi's work with Boyne's, it
confuses two different organisations.

Had it really been written by the four authors credited on the email - Paul
Hamill, a Foreign Office official; John Pratt, a junior gofer from Number
10's Strategic Communications Unit; Alison Blackshaw, Campbell's PA; and
Mustaza Khan, another official working under Campbell - that might not be

But Campbell himself is said to have edited and cleared the finished
version. Downing Street insists that, for all the red faces, nobody -
including al-Marashi - has challenged the accuracy of what is in the
dossier. Academics disagree. 'The information presented as being an accurate
statement of the current state of Iraq's security organisations may not be
anything of the sort,' Rangwala's email concluded.

And that more damaging accusation reflects a murkier power struggle over the
Government's use - some say abuse - of intelligence material in the
desperate battle to win support for war.

When on Wednesday morning the BBC's Today programme started broadcasting the
contents of a classified defence intelligence briefing warning bluntly that
there was no link between Iraq and al-Qaeda - there had been contacts in the
past but, as a secular state, Iraq was anathema to the fundamentalist terror
group -- ears pricked up all over Whitehall.

An unprecedented leak, it was immediately interpreted as a warning: if Blair
continued to imply, in the teeth of the evidence, that there was some kind
of connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda he would not be able to get away
with it.

It is not that the intelligence services are necessary anti-war.
Intelligence sources told The Observer this weekend that the case for war
was a good one, but complex. 'People want to be shown something cut and
dried,' one source said. 'They want evidence of a big shiny warhead. The
real case is... that, after 11 September, the world changed in such a way
that we can no longer accept risks to our security.

'Here we are dealing with a rogue regime that is potentially one of the
biggest proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. So the question is: do
we let that go on and face a real and terrible risk some time down the road,
or do we insist that Iraq abides by its commitments to disarm? It is a
serious issue... but it is not a great story to sell the British public.'

But this is at the very heart of Blair's problem. Faced with a issue that
even his intelligence advisers have long known is impossible to dramatise,
Number 10 has instead tried to argue its way around opposition to
intervention. And journalists, peace activists and the British voters have
not been blind to these evasions.

Downing Street's efforts to sell the case for war have created a tension
with MI6 that has mirrored that between the White House and Pentagon
civilian staff and the CIA, DIA and FBI across the Atlantic. There the White
House has established a shadow, parallel intelligence network staffed, not
by espionage professionals but by favoured political appointees who are
providing answers far closer to what the administration want to hear.

For months British intelligence officers - like their counterparts in the US
- have been insisting that there is no hard evidence of a link between
Saddam and al-Qaeda, while at every turn their political masters have been
insisting the opposite. They have been briefing that Saddam's weapons
programme has been so disrupted it is almost utterly redundant: meanwhile,
the politicians have insisted that it is still a threat.

But what all do agree on is that Saddam is hiding chemical and biological
weapons or the ability to make them.

One further issue has proved contentious. While US spy agencies have
produced their best material for Powell, in Britain there has been
resistance from MI6, which has been unwilling to allow material from human
intelligence sources to be used in the propaganda effort.

British intelligence officials admit that the cumulative effect of all these
issues has been to give the impression of an 'incoherent' argument about
Iraq that has appeared to be deeply inconsistent in both detail and focus.

This has affected the international stage, too. There are scornful
mutterings in French political circles this weekend that they cannot be
expected to back a war on Iraq until Britain produces something more
compelling than a 'failed doctoral thesis'. Diplomatic sources say French
Ministers are now openly 'vitriolic' in their opinions of George Bush.

The irony is that it might otherwise have been a successful week in the
battle for hearts and minds. Four million Britons switched on to BBC1 on
Thursday night to watch Jeremy Paxman grill a shirt-sleeved, earnest Blair
over the war, a performance with which his aides were happy. In front of an
almost uniformly hostile audience in Newcastle, the only moment of tension
came when Paxman asked Blair if, as a religious man, he prayed with Bush.
The Prime Minister let his irritation show: he knows the single most
damaging charge in the Arab world is that a war would be a Christian crusade
against Islam.

Even Tony Benn's interview with Saddam, broadcast on Channel Four on Tuesday
night, ended almost satisfactorily for Downing Street. Aides watched first
with disbelief, then with mounting anger, as Benn put a series of
unchallenging questions to the Iraqi dictator. By the end of the interview,
the mood had turned to one of wry amusement. The consensus was that Benn,
one of the most dangerously popular stars of the anti-war movement, had
fumbled the ball badly.

Yet all of that has been undermined by a government spin too far.

One crumb of comfort is that with Blair's reputation for trustworthiness on
the war already dented - a poll last week found that, while 81 per cent of
Britons believe UN inspector Hans Blix, only 43 per cent trust Blair to tell
the truth over the war and only 22 per cent trust Bush - the dossier debacle
is unlikely to make it any worse.

'This is a lot like the way sleaze affected the Tories: after a while it
confirms people's distrust. I don't think it creates distrust,' says Peter
Kellner, the YouGov pollster and Westminster analyst.

And Downing Street will try to get back on track this week, in the run-up to
Blix's crucial Friday statement on how far the Iraqis have co-operated with
his inspections.

Wary of being seen to desert the home front in favour of war, Blair has
planned a 'domestic blitz' this week to show that he has not taken his eye
off the ball: there will be announcements on choice in health and education,
and a visit to Belfast to demonstrate that he has not forgotten the peace

Similarly the pledge to halve the number of asylum seekers reaching Britain
may have horrified many on his own backbenches, but was judged necessary to
defuse simmering resentment inflamed both by the war on terror and a
vigorous tabloid newspaper campaign against immigration.

As for the future of such dossiers, the Whitehall consensus is that it will
be a long time before anyone tries that trick again. However, the final
shots have not been fired in the propaganda war.

'What we are absolutely determined is that this will not stop us sharing
information with the public as and when we think we can,' says one Downing
Street source.

by Mark Easton
Channel 4 News, 11th February

Our new poll, similar to the research being done inside Downing Street,
tells us what progress Tony Blair has made in building support for his
policy on Iraq

We've had 90-days of intense anti-Saddam propaganda since we last carried
out our huge survey of British opinion over Iraq.

Our new poll, similar to the research being done inside Downing Street,
tells us what progress Tony Blair has made in building support for his
policy on Iraq, but also what buttons he needs to press to get public
backing for a war.

Back in November we asked which country people regarded as the greatest
threat to world peace. Number one - not surprisingly perhaps - was Iraq.
Second the US. Third - Israel.

Now, though, Iraq has actually slipped down to third place. Second is North
Korea. And the country Britons regard as the biggest threat today - the
United States. On this evidence, Tony Blair is losing the Propaganda War.

So after endless speeches, dossiers, blurry photos and crackly phone
intercepts, how convincing is the case for war?

We asked - true or false: Saddam has chemical and biological weapons. 74%
the vast majority think that is true.

He's hiding weapons from the UN - 71% believe that.

Saddam has strong links to Al Qaeda? Only 33% think that's true - 34% say
it's false the remainder said they didn't know.

Last Wednesday US Secretary of State Colin Powell played America's
propaganda trump card at the UN. The Iraqis dismissed it as a stunt.

Was Britain convinced?

62% of people did not think his evidence amounted to proof that Saddam has
weapons of mass destruction.

But look at this: 21% of the public - thats one in five - thought his
evidence was fabricated.

65% of people think the government's case against Iraq is weakened by
Channel Four News revelation that they'd copied chunks of an intelligence
dossier from a twelve year old student thesis.

Looking now at what I call truth and consequences. What does the public
really think is Tony Blair's motivation for possible war against Iraq?

Did people think he was driven by a sense of morality and justice or
political self-interest?

A clear gender split on this question - among men, 41% think his motives are
pure, 38% think its self interest. But among women only 30% said it was a
moral issue, 46%, almost half are cynical about his motives. In fact women
across the survey are more sceptical

So what can Tony Blair do?

Three months of case building and look what's happened.

This was the situation last November - 13% said yes to military action, 9%
no, 76% needed persuading.

Today - still 70% of people need to be convinced.

So would a second UN resolution do the trick? If Tony Blair had UN backing
for war instantly his problem would be solved 82% would back military
action. Without any UN support only 28% would back an attack alongside the

But here's something very interesting - if Tony Blair got a majority of the
Security Council to back military action - even if one or two countries
vetoed a second resolution - 62% would go to war.

by Andrew Sparrow and George Jones
Daily Telegraph, 12th February

Downing Street's use of plagiarised academic material in its dossier about
Iraq will be investigated as part of an official inquiry announced yesterday
into the Government's propaganda machine.

The review will cover all aspects of the Government Information and
Communications Service, as well as the activities of special advisers who
operate as spin doctors.

Senior Conservatives protested in the Commons yesterday that the so-called
"dodgy dossier" on Iraq had undermined public support for war.

Bernard Jenkin, Conservative defence spokesman, said the dossier, released
by Downing Street last week which later turned out to be partly copied
verbatim from an article written by a postgraduate student, had been a
"cackhanded initiative".

It had proved "utterly counter productive" and damaged the Prime Minister's
personal authority. Peter Lilley, a former Conservative Cabinet minister,
said those MPs who had been urging the public to trust the Prime Minister
over Iraq felt "betrayed" by the disclosure that the dossier contained
material culled from the internet.

Adam Ingram, a defence minister, told the Commons that, in retrospect, it
would have been better to acknowledge that the dossier was based on the work
of a number of sources, not just intelligence material.

The Cabinet Office agreed to set up the inquiry in response to a
recommendation from the public administration committee and plans for the
project were drawn up some weeks ago.

Bob Phillis, the inquiry chairman, confirmed yesterday that his team would
investigate the discredited Downing Street dossier.

The inquiry has been asked to look at "different models for organising and
managing the Government's communication effort" and the effectiveness of the
way press relations are currently handled under Alastair Campbell, Downing
Street's director of communications.

Other members of the review team include David Hill, a former Labour Party
chief press officer, Howell James, political secretary to John Major when he
was Prime Minister, Tom Kelly and Godric Smith, Tony Blair's official
spokesmen, journalists and other Government officials.

The public administration committee called for an inquiry after
investigating the way relations deteriorated between Jo Moore, Stephen
Byers's special adviser at the transport department, and the civil servant
press officers. The episode contributed to Mr Byers's eventual resignation.

The Cabinet Office said yesterday that it would review the civil service
code to make it easier for officials to complain about the behaviour of
special advisers.


Reuters, 9th February

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Toppling Saddam Hussein is in the war simulation game
"Gulf War 2" is the easy part. Coping with what comes next is more

Players assume the role of U.S. President George W. Bush in the online game,
receiving regular briefings from caricatures of Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security adviser
Condoleezza Rice.

It starts with Baghdad's quick fall but then proceeds to an Iraqi anthrax
attack on Israel, a retaliatory nuclear strike, revolt in Saudi Arabia, and
a Kurdish coup in northern Iraq.

Once Saddam Hussein's body is found, players are asked to select one of
three look-alike successors, who soon requires military backing to fend off
an anxious Iran.

There are also anti-American uprisings in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and
Pakistan, which lead eventually to nuclear warheads being smuggled to
militant groups.

"This is a projection of the most likely outcome of a new war in the Gulf,"
reads the Web site, home of the game created in November by
33-year-old Dermot O'Connor.

O'Connor, a computer animator who moved from Ireland to California three
years ago, drew his source material from interviews and reports in the
Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Times, the
Guardian and the Australian Sunday Herald.

The game appears interactive but leads players down a set path, designed by
O'Connor to highlight the risks of war.

"There is only one deliberate outcome. It didn't make sense to give people
the idea that they could avoid the worst," he said in an interview.

About 20,000 people play the game every day, he said.

O'Connor said "a constant pressure and drum beat" for war was clouding
American perspectives on what could happen after an initial conflict and he
felt the "worst case scenario" charted in his game offered an accurate
reflection of the potential perils of attacking Iraq.

"I don't see how (the Bush administration) can do it without creating a
mess," he said. "I just don't see that the war is worth the risks.",3604,892245,00.html

by Tony Geraghty
The Guardian, 10th February

As the first SAS squadron earmarked for duties in Iraq prepares for action,
the disastrous Bravo Two Zero patrol will today return from the first Gulf
war to haunt the regiment, and Whitehall.

For three days the privy council - the final court of appeal for much of the
old Commonwealth - will hear a plea by New Zealander Mike Coburn, one of the
survivors of the ill-fated search for Saddam Hussein's Scud missiles in
1991, that he should be allowed to publish his version of the story in a way
that enables him to share the profits with the dead soldiers' families and
patrol survivors who have not written books.

The Ministry of Defence has fought a costly campaign since 1998 to control
or suppress Mr Coburn's story, Soldier Five.

Having failed in its attempts in the New Zealand courts to silence him, it
fell back upon a non-disclosure contract he signed with the MoD, as a result
of which he could be liable for damages.

Mr Coburn has also been told that he would have to hand over any profits
from his book to the British government.

Mr Coburn claims that he signed the contract under duress. He also asserts
that he wrote his book to put the record straight.

He hopes to vindicate the reputation of Sergeant Vince Phillips, who died on
the patrol. A former SAS commander said, in evidence before the high court
in Auckland, that it was unfair to denigrate Sgt Phillips.

Mr Cockburn and, it is said, other survivors of the action, were upset by
the portrayal of Sgt Phillips by his critics.

In the New Zealand high court, Justice Peter Salmon agreed that the contract
was invalid and that the book contained no information that damaged British
national security.

But the New Zealand appeal court overturned part of Justice Salmon's high
court judgment and found that Mr Coburn was in breach of the MoD contract.
That decision triggered the appeal to the privy council.

After the 1991 operation, Mr Coburn was shot, interrogated and tortured by
his Iraqi captors during 48 days of imprisonment.

He left the SAS in March 1997, angered by the gagging contract and what he
regarded as slanted accounts of the patrol.

He claims that he learned that the team's radio appeals for extraction from
Iraq after the team was compromised were received at their base, but that
the response to their appeals for aid was too slow to save them.

Three members of the squad were killed and others captured. Only one man,
Chris Ryan, escaped after an epic lone march to Syria.

The "eight or nine" significant legal issues for the privy council to
consider relate to freedom of expression and the legality of the
non-disclosure contracts.

These were imposed on veterans from the special forces after a flood of
revelatory memoirs, including two books by Lieutenant-General Sir Peter de
la Billiere, a former director of special forces and British commander in
the last Gulf war.

There are many more books where they came from: so many that the regiment
now has a staff officer dedicated exclusively to disclosure issues.


Yahoo, 6th February

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A senior Iraqi official said Thursday that an Iraqi weapons
expert had submitted to a private interview with U.N. arms inspectors, a
sign of progress in the deadlock over weapons inspections.

Presidential adviser Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi said that an Iraqi expert  the
first  had submitted to a private, unmonitored interview with U.N. weapons
inspectors. Such private interviews have been a key demand of the

"One of our scientists is being interviewed alone, as we speak," he told
reporters. He gave no details of that interview, and it was not immediately
confirmed by U.N. officials.

News of the private interview came shortly after the nuclear inspection
chief said Iraq had to improve cooperation.

"They need to show drastic change in terms of cooperation," said Mohamed
ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, after talks
in London with British leaders.

In a lengthy meeting with journalists, al-Saadi analyzed in detail Secretary
of State Colin Powell's slide-and-audio presentation Wednesday to the U.N.
Security Council, and denounced it for the murkiness of its sources.

He said Powell was "quoting 'our sources,' 'our sources,' 'our sources,'
without any convincing evidence, as if that in itself is enough to convince
the world."

Al-Saadi, a chemist who once headed Iraq's advanced weapons programs, took
each of Powell's assertions and presented a contrary explanation to what the
American secretary told assembled foreign ministers and diplomats in New

by Hamza Hendawi
Miami Herald, 7th February

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraqi general whose job Secretary of State Colin Powell
says is to deceive U.N. weapons inspectors is a chemist believed to be a
driving force behind Iraq's banned weapons programs of the 1980s.

Once dismissed from the army for having a foreign wife and not belonging to
Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath Party, Lt. Gen. Amir al-Saadi now has one of
Iraq's most high-profile jobs -- point man on the U.N. weapons inspections.

Al-Saadi's role is under scrutiny because of U.S. and British charges that
Iraq is concealing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in violation of
U.N. resolutions following its defeat in the 1991 Gulf War.

Presenting a case against Iraq before the U.N. Security Council on
Wednesday, Powell spoke of a committee that included Al-Saadi set up by
Hussein to "spy" on U.N. inspectors in Iraq and hinder their work.

"Saadi's job is not to cooperate, it is to deceive; not to disarm, but to
undermine the inspectors," Powell said.

"Absolute nonsense," al-Saadi countered.

The chief U.N. inspectors, Mohamed ElBaradei and Hans Blix, will press
al-Saadi and other Iraqi officials for a drastic change in attitude toward
complying with disarmament in talks this weekend. But to persuade Hussein,
the inspectors will have to first convince al-Saadi.

The polished al-Saadi, who is believed to be 62 or 63, first caught
Hussein's attention with his scientific and organizational contributions as
Iraq expanded its weapons programs to include long-range missiles and
chemical weapons.

Hussein's confidence in him has endured for years, starting with the
tumultuous inspections that began after the war and continuing after those
checks resumed in November after a four-year gap.

"I am a technocrat and not a person that's in the political hierarchy,"
al-Saadi told ABC. "I am knowledgeable about past [arms] programs and that's
the only reason I am thrust into this."

The son of a grain merchant from the town of Al-Omara, al-Saadi is a member
of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority who studied chemistry and was educated in
Britain and Germany.

He says he didn't plan a career in politics, according to friends and
relatives living outside Iraq. He was dismissed from the army when the Baath
Party came to power in 1968 because he was married to a German and was not a
party member.

His expertise primarily in chemical weapons, however, later forced the army
to take him back. He became a Cabinet minister in the 1990s and was a member
of a select group thought to be instrumental in the development of Iraq's
banned weapons programs in the 1980s.

Widely thought to be the main brain behind the chemical weapons program --
which he says no longer exists -- al-Saadi has never publicly wavered in his
statements that Iraq has eliminated its banned weapons programs. At times he
speaks philosophically and with fatalism about the enormous task placed on
his shoulders.

"I am the optimist, I will work until the end," he said. "The end is if they
[the U.S.] chose to go the unilateral way and attack Iraq . . . it'll be a
sad day for all of you, not just Iraq."

by Charles J. Hanley
Las Vegas Sun, 9th February

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP): Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix said Sunday he saw a
beginning of Iraqi understanding that it must seriously observe U.N. demands
for disarmament and that he believed further U.N. inspections were
preferable to a quick U.S.-led military strike.

"I perceive a beginning," Blix said after two days of talks in Baghdad.
"Breakthrough is a strong word for what we are seeing." But he added: "I
would much rather see inspections than some other solution," referring to
Washington's threats to launch a military strike.

But Blix said he and U.N. nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei did not win
immediate agreement on using American U-2 surveillance planes to assist with
the inspections.

The success or failure of the weekend session could help decide the next
steps taken by the U.N. Security Council in the months-long standoff that
has left the Middle East suspended between war and peace.

There was no immediate U.S. response to Blix's comments, but President Bush
reiterated that it was time for action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Saddam "wants the world to think that hide-and-seek is a game that we should
play. And it's over," Bush told congressional Republicans at a policy
conference. "It's a moment of truth for the United Nations. The United
Nations gets to decide shortly whether or not it is going to be relevant in
terms of keeping the peace, whether or not its words mean anything."

Blix said he had received assurances that Iraq would expand a commission to
search for weapons and weapons programs and "relevant documents nationwide,"
and that he had hopes that Iraq was taking the disarmament issue seriously

Asked for comment on Bush's declaration last week that the "game is over,"
Blix replied, "Well, we are still in the game."

During the two days of meetings, the Iraqis submitted a number of documents
that are still being evaluated. Blix said they related to outstanding issues
of anthrax, VX nerve gas and Iraqi missile development.

He said those documents would have to be reviewed intensively by U.N.
experts in the coming days to determine their value. Blix also said he was
hopeful that Iraq would soon enact legislation banning weapons of mass

ElBaradei said Iraq's cooperation must be "simultaneous in all areas" of the
inspection process.

"We made it clear to Iraq they need to move on the whole file," meaning all
types of weapons of mass destruction, he said.

ElBaradei said he felt, however, that he and Blix had "good technical
meetings" during their two days in Baghdad.

"I see all this as a beginning of a change of heart, a new attitude that
will be tested. Time is of the essence," he said.

On the issue of U-2 flights, Blix said he expected the Iraqis to respond by
Friday. The Iraqis have refused to accept U-2 flights unless the United
States and Britain suspend air patrols in the "no-fly" zones while the spy
plane is aloft.

Blix and ElBaradei are to make their next report to the U.N. Security
Council on Friday. Their report is expected to be pivotal in determining
whether the United States launches military action to disarm Iraq.

Meanwhile, U.N. inspectors found another empty chemical rocket warhead at an
ammunition depot north of Baghdad. Inspectors have found nearly 20 such
warheads during inspections over recent weeks although none have been loaded
with chemical agents.

As the inspectors pressed for concessions, Iraq's foreign minister traveled
to Iran in a surprise diplomatic move. There was no advance notice Naji
Sabri's visit to Tehran, a leading opponent of Saddam Hussein's regime that
has nonetheless rejected military intervention without U.N. approval.


Hindustani Times, 10th February

Agence France-Presse: Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said on Sunday he
was not satisfied with the list of scientists provided to him by Iraqi

"We mentioned a list of personnel that we would like to hear and we were not
satisfied by the list that we have received," Blix told a press conference
in Baghdad.

"The Iraqi side promised that it would be supplemented. We do not want a
list that is endless, we want it to be relevant," Blix said.

UN arms inspectors have privately interviewed five Iraqi scientists in the
last four days.

Baghdad has encouraged scientists to submit themselves to private interviews
as part of an Iraqi effort to step up cooperation with UN inspectors and
ward off a threatened US-led invasion.

UN inspectors had long sought to speak alone with Iraqi scientists who have
knowledge of the country's weapons programmes.

But until Thursday, no scientist had agreed to meet with inspectors in the
absence of a government official, angering Blix who complained of Iraq's
failure to cooperate with the disarmament teams.

by Colum Lynch
Houston Chronicle, from Washington Post, 10th February

UNITED NATIONS -- Iraq will allow U.N. inspectors to use U.S., French and
Russian surveillance aircraft to search the country for evidence of hidden
chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohamed
al-Douri, said Monday.

President Bush, however, brushed aside Iraqi concessions as too little, too

"This is a man who is trying to stall for time," he said after a meeting
with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a staunch U.S. ally against
Iraq. "The reason we need to fly U-2 flights is they're not disarming."

The announcement came as the United Nations' top weapons inspectors prepare
to brief the U.N. Security Council Friday on the extent of Iraq's
cooperation. It appeared timed to influence the debate in the 15-nation
council, where France, Germany and Russia are seeking support for a proposal
to reinforce U.N. inspections to stave off a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Al-Douri said he presented the inspectors Monday with a letter spelling out
Iraq's commitment to ensuring that Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries wouldn't
fire on the surveillance flights. Douri said the letter also pledges that
the Iraqi parliament would pass a new law "in a very short time" making it a
crime to participate in any efforts to develop banned weapons.

"The letter says Iraq accepts the surveillance by (U.S.) U-2s, (French)
Mirages and (Russian) Antonovs," he said. "Iraq will provide the protection
from its side."

Although the Nov. 8 U.N. resolution requires Iraq to allow reconnaissance
flights over the country, Baghdad has refused to guarantee that they will
not be shot at unless the United States and Britain suspended their patrols
over "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq.

President Saddam Hussein, in a statement read on Iraqi state television
Monday, urged other governments to call on the United States and Britain to
halt air strikes launched as part of their enforcement of the no-fly zones.
"If the world, besides America, finds that the U-2 plane is important to
carry out more aerial surveillance, it should tell America and Britain not
to open fire at us," he said. The United States and Britain maintain that
the patrols, which were established after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to
protect Iraq's Kurdish and Shiite Muslim populations, only fire in

On Monday, U.S. and British fighters bombed a site in the southern no-fly
zone, and the Iraqi News Agency reported that two civilians were killed and
nine others injured.

The U.S. Central Command said allied aircraft bombed an Iraqi surface-to-air
missile system after Iraqi forces moved it into the restricted southern

The Bush administration said the Iraqi concessions on surveillance flights
were a tactical gesture designed to divide the council and weaken its
resolve to compel Baghdad to disarm. "We've been down this road before and
unfortunately we know it's a dead end," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for
the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]