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[casi] Galloway vindicated by Christ. Sci. Monitor



Dear Colleagues,

 I am mystified by our trashing, abandoning or failing to give
support to so many of the bravest, best and most effective people in
the task of ending the atrocities against the people of Iraq.

 Has anyone on this list mentioned that huge story in one of the
top US newspapers, the Christian Science Monitor retracting its earlier
stories and now vindicating George Galloway, M.P.?

The url is

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0620/p01s03-woiq.html

and the text from commondreams.org of the story is given at the end of
my email.

I am mystified that we as a group seem to have taken little/no notice of
Galloway's plea for money to pursue his court case in this matter.

I would less concerned except for the virtual disappearance of Major
Scott Ritter, who seems to have become a non person in CASI after the
snide remark in CASI, "he's all over the place" Am I wrong? Have facts
not vindicated Major Ritter's interpretation of Iraq "WMD" and has his
interpretation NOT been consistent for some years now? Should we not
hold people accountable for their claims in the CASI listserv?

I take a backseat to no one in my praise for CASI, even when it shows
flaws in the facts or arguments of opponents of the continuing crimes
against the Iraqi people. This work is undispensible (if the flaws are
indeed flaws), so that precious credibility can be preserved. But is it
not also hurtful of our credibility when we ignore UNJUSTIFIED attacks
on allies by even by people prominant in CASI? Can we have some
consistency here?

Finally, I have located post invasion WHO disease surveillance data but
need the help of an epidemiologist to get the full value from them to
try to counteract the disappearance in the mainstream in even largely
in progressive sources like CASI of the unnecessary surplus agonizing
illnesses and horrific deaths from the waterborne diseases. None of the
lead I have followed so far have yet been productive-- are all the
epidemiologists in mortal fear of their precious government funding?
Surely there must be one or two who are not (perhaps retired
epidemiologists might be willing to help).

Surely CASI people with their phenomenal network of friends can help in
this urgent effort by putting forward more people.

I reiterate my plea for help:
After monumental digging, I just located post invasion disease
surveillance #s for Iraq from WHO, but I need the help of an
epidemiologist to use these data to estimate the following parameters:

1) p(epidemic) if the threshold for epidemic has not been breached
already, given e.g., the 2.5 fold increase in diarrhea and the 68
confirmed cases of cholera, post invasion

2) p(magnititude of the surplus mortality)

3) the other estimates would be handy but less essential, perhaps even

overkill for the mass media:
 a) p(incidence level)
 b) p(prevelence level)
 c) time course of the epidemic(s).

Obviously these estimates would be assumption sensitive, but a couple
of estimates based on likely estimates should do well.

Any help in locating an epidemiologist who would help would be vastly
appreciated. Short of that , references to the best available models to
use would be also greatly appreciated. Incredibly, though many
(including myself) traveled to Iraq to do estimates of mortality given
another invasion, no one seems to have updated the estimates in a very
long time and I think that's one reason this issue has all but
disappeared even in the progressive press despite the scandal of the
continuing avoidable deaths and episodes of illness. I hope I'm wrong
about the absence of post invasion estimates and would greatly
appreciate references (better yet copies) of any work done with the
surveillance data, post invasion.

 I fear all too many epidemiologists are busy reaping the bonanza of
cash from DOD lavished upon compliant public health scientists. So I
remain

P.s. I gathered data for a unit weight estimation in Iraq in Oct., 2002
for IPPNW's Canadian affiliate. Also did my post doc in public health
at Johns Hopkins and most of my doctoral work in computer technology and

research methodology, so I don't think I would impose much of a time
burden on an epidemiologist...

* Reminds me of the remark from the guy at the Pentagon after I found
"Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities" among a mass of 40,000 documents

declassified and/or partially declassified documents -- "We didn't make
it easy for you, did we?

 end of plea
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Start of today's Christian Science remarkable vindication of Galloway:

================================
Published on Friday, June 20, 2003 by the Christian Science Monitor
Galloway Papers Deemed Forgeries
Iraq experts, ink-aging tests discredit documents behind earlier Monitor
story.

by staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor

On April 25, 2003, this newspaper ran a story about documents obtained
in Iraq that alleged Saddam Hussein's regime had paid a British member
of Parliament, George Galloway, $10 million over 11 years to promote its
interests in the West.

An extensive Monitor investigation has subsequently determined that the
six papers detailed in the April 25 piece are, in fact, almost certainly
forgeries.

Note from the Editor of the Christian Science Monitor
by Paul Van Slambrouck

These accompanying pages contain a detailed account of a Monitor story
that turned out to contain false allegations. We believe the episode
involves a number of important principles that deserve some explanation.

We deemed the story itself important both because of its alleged
substance and its timing. In the chaotic aftermath of the Iraq war, the
abandoned files of Iraq's massive bureaucracies were suddenly open for
looters, soldiers, and reporters to sort through at will. This was not a
situation with established ground rules for journalists trying to obtain
important and reliable information. Yet many of these documents opened
new windows on the ways of the Hussein regime and its connections to the
outside world.

When a Monitor reporter obtained documents detailing one such connection
- purported payment from Iraq to one of its most steadfast and outspoken
supporters in the West - it was not the first such allegation. Documents
asserting similar payments had already been discovered the same week by
a British newspaper. And we deemed it important because opening these
windows into the workings of the regime and its outside linkages matters
to making sense of an important historical moment. Those goals go to the
most basic purpose of this newspaper, founded by Mary Baker Eddy with a
stated object to "Injure no man, but to bless all mankind."

That is why we, on the basis of our assessment of information available
at the time, went to press detailing the contents of six documents that
described payouts to a British member of Parliament.

However, journalism always involves a potential tension between speed
and accuracy, and the decision on when to publish a story rests with the
editors here in Boston. We view this episode as instructive on that
point, and hindsight tells us we did not strike the perfect balance.
When new information cast doubt on the documents, we conducted an
extensive investigation of their authenticity which culminated this week
in the virtual certainty that they were forged.

We strive daily to be truth tellers. That is our way of blessing
mankind. On this story, we erred. Our report said what we knew, honestly
and carefully. With this follow-up story Friday, we are continuing our
effort to tell what we know, as fully and fairly as we can, to set the
record straight.


The Arabic text of the papers is inconsistent with known examples of
Baghdad bureaucratic writing, and is replete with problematic language,
says a leading US-based expert on Iraqi government documents. Signature
lines and other format elements differ from genuine procedure.


The two "oldest" documents - dated 1992 and 1993 - were actually written
within the past few months, according to a chemical analysis of their
ink. The newest document - dated 2003 - appears to have been written at
approximately the same time.

"At the time we published these documents, we felt they were newsworthy
and appeared credible, although we did explicitly state in our article
that we could not guarantee their authenticity," says Monitor editor
Paul Van Slambrouck. "It is important to set the record straight: We are
convinced the documents are bogus. We apologize to Mr. Galloway and to
our readers."

Awash in documents
After the fall of Hussein's Baghdad government, stories based on
internal Iraqi documents appeared in many news outlets. They detailed
everything from mundane aspects of control used by local Baath Party
cells to the high living of Saddam Hussein and his sons.

The name "George Galloway" figured prominently in one of the most
explosive of these stories. On April 22, London's Daily Telegraph
reported that papers retrieved by their correspondent David Blair from
the ruins of Iraq's Foreign Ministry described alleged government
payoffs to Mr. Galloway, a Labour Party MP and longtime critic of the
West's hardline toward Mr. Hussein. The Daily Telegraph report received
widespread attention in the European press and throughout the world.

On April 25, the Monitor ran its own piece about papers detailing
Galloway's alleged ties to Baghdad. The documents were purported to have
originated in the Special Security Section, run by Saddam's second son,
Qusay.

However, the Monitor's documents were different in many details from
those of the Daily Telegraph, and came from a different source. Monitor
contract reporter Philip Smucker obtained them from an Iraqi general,
who in turn said he had captured them after his men shot their way into
a home once used by Qusay Hussein.

Galloway has emphatically denied that he was ever the recipient of Iraqi
largess, a denial the Monitor reported in its original story. He has
denounced all stories to that effect, and threatened to sue both the
Daily Telegraph and the Monitor for libel.

On May 11, a report in the British paper The Mail on Sunday disputed the
authenticity of documents obtained from the same source as the Monitor's
documents. The Mail's article said its writer had purchased other
documents from the general alleging payoffs to Galloway. Those
documents, unlike the Monitor's, included purported Galloway signatures.

"Extensive examination of the documents by experts has proved they are
fakes, bearing crude attempts to forge the MP's signature," said the
Mail on Sunday's May 11 story.

The Monitor did not identify the general in its April 25 story because
he said he feared retribution from Qusay Hussein loyalists. The Mail on
Sunday published his name: Gen. Salah Abdel Rasool.

In light of this new information bearing on the credibility of the
source of the Monitor's alleged Galloway papers, editors decided to
consult document experts in the United States to see if the papers could
be proved either false or genuine.

The Monitor first consulted a Harvard graduate student in Arabic
studies, Bruce Fudge, who had spent six months working on a
Washington-based archive of captured Iraqi intelligence documents. Along
with another graduate student, Omar Dewachi, an Iraqi who was a
physician in Iraq until the late 1990s, Mr. Fudge could find no apparent
problems with the documents. The offset-printed stationery of the oldest
documents correctly reflected the pre-1993 Iraqi flag while the newer
ones carried an emblem of the new flag. The rank of the signatories and
the path of the documents through the bureaucracy seemed appropriate.
The dates on two of the documents matched up to known visits of Galloway
to Iraq. But these observations were not conclusive.

Ultraviolet examination
The second to examine the papers was Gerald Richards, a forensics
document examiner. A former chief of the document operations and
research unit at the FBI, Mr. Richards is now an independent consultant
based in Laurel, Md.

Mr. Richards scanned the Galloway papers under ultraviolet and infrared
light for obvious physical signs of forgery.

In his tests, Richards found nothing untoward. Pen usage in the papers
was consistent with standard bureaucratic procedure, he noted. For
example, the pen used to sign the documents was different from the one
that was used to write the date. That might indicate that an official
signed the document, while an aide dated them.

"There is nothing that would indicate to me they are forgeries," says
Richards. "If they are, it's somebody who knows what he's doing."

Richards cautioned that his type of examination is just one aspect of
document forensics. Another, of equal or greater importance, is textual
analysis.

For that, Bruce Fudge directed the Monitor to Hassan Mneimneh. As head
of the Iraq Research and Documentation Project in Washington, Mr.
Mneimneh has custody of some 3.2 million Iraqi government documents
captured by the US or its allies in the 1991 Gulf War. He and his
analysts have been poring over this trove for years in an effort to
learn more about Iraq's intelligence services, military, and
bureaucratic operations.

Mneimneh's first instinct was that something was not quite right about
the Monitor's documents.

"I have literally reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents, and these
[are] by far the neatest, tidiest I have ever seen," he says.

There is, for instance, the matter of the papers' handwritten dates.
Purportedly, the documents as a whole cover a period starting in 1992
and ending in 2003. Yet the dates are written in nearly identical
fashion - as if the same person were dashing them off all at once.

According to their dates, each individual document moved remarkably
quickly through the Iraqi bureaucracy. From initiation at the lowest
level to approval at the top allegedly took two or three days. Also,
there are no reference numbers next to the signatures of officials who
allegedly reviewed them and passed them on to other departments, for
example. The Iraqi bureaucracy typically included such numbers for
filing purposes, this expert says.

In addition, Mneimneh observes that signatures are followed by the
official's name, written out, and then that person's rank, such as
colonel, rather than the customary signature followed only by a title.

Finally, this expert found the language in the Monitor's six documents
to be suspiciously blunt. The papers describe specific amounts of money
requested and paid out, and to whom.

The Iraq Research and Documentation Project has many papers detailing
payments to informers and government agents, and typically the language
used in them is indirect. Invariably they do not name the person who is
actually getting the money.

"They usually use a euphemism.... Then there is a file somewhere else
where they correlate the euphemisms to actual names," Mneimneh says.

Different documents
After examining copies of two pages of the Daily Telegraph's documents
linking Galloway with the Hussein regime, Mneimneh pronounces them
consistent, unlike their Monitor counterparts, with authentic Iraqi
documents he has seen.

Moreover, a direct comparison of the language in the Monitor and Daily
Telegraph document sets shows that they are somewhat contradictory.

The papers in the Monitor's possession alleged that Galloway began
receiving funds from Iraq in the early 1990s. One of the Daily
Telegraph's, dated January 2000, alleges that Iraqi officials were just
beginning their consideration of a financial relationship with Galloway.

Of the Monitor's papers, he says, "My gut reaction to [these documents]
is that they are extremely suspicious."

With growing doubts about the authenticity of the Galloway documents,
Monitor editors decided to have the age of the ink analyzed, as well as
to revisit the source of the documents in Baghdad.

Determining the age of a document by dating its ink is far from an exact
science. Only a handful of US private labs do such work. Ink analysis
generally isn't admissible in court.

On the recommendation of several forensic experts the Monitor turned to
Valery Aginsky, an ink chemist with Riley & Welch Associates, Forensic
Document Examinations, Inc., in East Lansing, Mich.

Dr. Aginsky first tested ink from the two alleged Galloway documents
with the oldest dates - 1992 and 1993. He found that the ink components
had not yet finished aging, a process that typically takes no more than
two years.

The documents tested simply could not have been prepared when their
dates said they were, according to Aginsky.

Aginsky then compared the ink from these older-dated documents with that
from a document dated 2003. He determined that they were aging at the
same rate - meaning that these papers had most likely been written at
approximately the same time and not over a period of a decade, as their
written dates claimed.

"It is 90 percent probable that these documents have been prepared
recently," he says.

Meet General Rasool
In Baghdad, Monitor reporter Ilene Prusher met with General Rasool, the
source of the Monitor's documents. Rasool repeated most of the account
he had earlier given Smucker.

In April, the general had told Smucker that his whole family had been
killed by the Hussein regime, and that he himself had served time in
prison. When the Americans neared Baghdad, and the Baath Party melted
away, Rasool said, he and some associates had stormed into a house used
by Qusay Hussein.

Rasool said that they were in pursuit of deeds to property stolen from
him by Hussein's henchmen. While in the house, they carted off numerous
sacks of official-looking paper, according to the general.

As the discussion with Ms. Prusher progressed from there, a number of
things became apparent:

 The general was offering other documents alleging malfeasance on the
part of a wide array of foreign public figures noted for their support
of the Hussein regime. (When Smucker met the general earlier, Rasool
denied having documents dealing with any foreign politicians other than
Galloway.)

 The papers from Qusay's house also "proved" that six of the 19 Sept.
11 hijackers learned to fly in Iraq, according to the general.

 Rasool did not directly ask for money, but he described current
negotiations to sell documents to other parties.

After the Mail on Sunday published its May story questioning the
veracity of documents from Rasool, and acknowledged paying for its own
alleged Galloway papers, the Monitor published a short piece summarizing
the Mail story and adding that "the Monitor did not pay for any of the
Iraqi documents in its possession, nor was any payment ever discussed."

In fact, it's now clear that statement was technically accurate but
incomplete. There was no direct payment to the general. But he let
Smucker carry off three boxes of files, including the Galloway papers,
only after Smucker paid the general's neighbor $800 to translate the
documents during the next two days.

Smucker recalls that it was the general who brought up George Galloway's
name first at their initial meeting. After the reporter indicated an
interest, the general said he knew where those documents were, and that
he could have them for Smucker in 24 hours. Smucker says Rasool told him
that one of his neighbors, who left Baghdad to attend a Shiite
pilgrimage in Karbala, held the documents.

Upon Smucker's return the next day, the general showed him the Galloway
documents as well as the boxes of others on various subjects. After
hiring the neighbor, Smucker left with the boxes.

"I had no knowledge that the general received any of the $800, though
now that I know the documents are forgeries, I have my suspicions," says
Smucker. "At the time I was operating on the premise that these were
entirely authentic."

 Staff writers Faye Bowers in Washington and Ilene R. Prusher in
Baghdad contributed to this report.


Copyright  2003 The Christian Science Monitor.







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