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]
>Dear Tom and respected colleagues, Early on, I wrote privately to George Galloway with a tracking of the events leading to the discovery of the documents, pointing out inconsistencies, which he sent it on to his solicitors. I think we all knew he'd been stiched up, and it is one of the miracles of this world that he is gradually being vindicated. George hosted the press conference I, Daniel Robicheau and others convened at the House of Commons in 1996, about the sanctions and DU. He is beyond fabulous...What else can we do, you ask. Well, tracking events since the war is a major undertaking, since so much is happening. What is the best website to post our sightings too? Also, a conference is being organized in the Southwest to bring together latest scientific findings and political activism, re: DU and uranium mining done by Navajo men who have suffered a cancer epidemic and their families have too; there will be key Native American activists there. Also, on July 17, a launch will be held of a new UK-based organization, watch this space...it is hard right now but we keep plodding on... Philippa ===== Original Message From " Tom Nagy, Ph.D." <email@example.com> ===== >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. > > > > > > > >_______________________________________________ >Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. >To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss >To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org >All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk