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[casi] News, 18-25/06/03 (2)



News, 18-25/06/03 (2)

MOTHER OF ALL PARLIAMENTS

*  Cook doubts Saddam threat
*  Stop bleating about WMD and listen to how Nasir's mother was executed in
a pit
*  Galloway Papers Deemed Forgeries
*  No, Mr Galloway, you're not in the clear yet

PROGRESS OF THE PRETEXT

*  The Pentagon has sent the man at the heart of a 'fake documents' scandal
to Iraq

FREEDOM TO COMMIT WAR CRIMES WITH IMPUNITY

*  Belgium to lift threat of Bush war crimes trial
*  Officials: Hundreds of Iraqis Killed By Faulty Grenades


MOTHER OF ALL PARLIAMENTS

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,979260,00.html

*  COOK DOUBTS SADDAM THREAT
by Matthew Tempest, political correspondent
The Guardian, 17th June

Former foreign secretary Robin Cook today dealt a series of devastating
blows to the government's case for a war against Iraq, saying that it was
"now clear that Saddam Hussein did not represent a 'clear and serious
threat'".

Giving evidence to the foreign affairs select committee inquiry into the
government's handling of the war - and the evidence used to back its case -
Mr Cook cast doubt on both dossiers of evidence against the Iraqi leader,
revealing that "Iraq was an appallingly difficult intelligence target to
break".

Directly afterwards, Clare Short - who, like Mr Cook, resigned from the
government over the war on Iraq - gave evidence to the committee, calling
Tony Blair's performance "an honourable deception".

The detailed questioning of the prime minister's case for war will present a
major embarrassment for Mr Blair, who is seeking to refocus the media's
attention on domestic public service reform in a speech this afternoon.

Mr Cook called last September's so-called "dodgy dossier" both a "red
herring" and a "mistake", saying he had been "taken aback by how thin it
was".

He continued: "Neither of us [the UK and US spying agencies] had much
intelligence inside Iraq. The US was drawing heavily on exiles."

Mr Cook, who was leader of the Commons at the time of his resignation over
Iraq, also revealed that the "dodgy dossier" had not been discussed at
cabinet.

He said that by the late 1990s the government was confident that Iraq did
not have nuclear or long-range missiles, and that "containment worked better
than we had hoped".

And he urged the government not to "compound the error" by now not admitting
their advice "was wrong at the time".

Calling the intelligence material nothing much more than an "alphabet soup",
Mr Cook said the government went to war with Iraq using information that was
"highly suggestible" and intelligence that was selected to fit its position.

Mr Cook, repeated that the government had scored a "spectacular own goal" in
publishing its dossier about Saddam Hussein. Asked if intelligence had been
"sexed up" to back the decision to go to war, Mr Cook said: "I think there
was a selection of evidence to support the conclusion."

He said he was "disappointed" by the quality of the intelligence in the
September dossier as it did not provide "any recent and alarming"
intelligence to suggest that Iraq was a current and serious threat.

He told the committee that the "great majority" of the paper was
"derivative" from 1991. "I do not see there is anything wrong with a
representation of an academic study of Saddam Hussein but it should have
been labelled as that - an academic study."

He said it was "impossible" for him to defend the taking out of the phrase
"opposition groups" and replacing it with the word "terrorist".

In his statement to the MPs, Mr Cook restated his belief, outlined in his
resignation speech, that Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction.

He said: "This would now appear to be correct. Such weapons require
substantial industrial plant and a large workforce. It is inconceivable that
both could have been kept concealed for the two months we have been in
occupation of Iraq.

"I have never ruled out the possibility that we may unearth some old stock
of biological toxins or chemical agents and it is possible that we may yet
find some battlefield shells.

"Nevertheless, this would not constitute weapons of mass destruction and
would not justify the claim before the war that Iraq posed what the prime
minister described as a 'current and serious threat'."

Mr Cook also asked why UN inspectors were not allowed back into Iraq.

He said: "I think that the reason could possibly be that they could confirm
there was no immediate threat from credible weapons of mass destruction." Ms
Short, in an appearance lasting over an hour, echoed many of Mr Cook's
points, and added to the sense that the cabinet played very little part in
the decisions on Iraq.

The former international development secretary said that virtually all
decisions had been taken by the prime minister's "entourage", while there
were "no cabinet-level decisions on strategy or options" for the war.

She claimed that the "decision-making had been sucked out of the Foreign
Office", and that the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, had merely been "loyal"
and "helpful" to Mr Blair's process.

Ms Short claimed that all three government-produced dossiers on Iraq had
been "shoddy pieces of work".

And she stated explicitly: "Alastair Campbell is responsible for presenting
government policy - and that soon becomes propaganda."

She also restated her belief that Mr Blair had decided to go to war
alongside the US president, George Bush, as early as last autumn. She said
that after a meeting with Mr Bush in the US, Mr Blair returned to Britain to
give a "very belligerent" press conference in Sedgefield.

She also revealed that last September Mr Blair "said he didn't want it
[Iraq] raised in cabinet and that he'd talk about it with me separately."

Ms Short criticised attacks on the French president, Jacques Chirac, calling
them a "figleaf" for "contradictory assurances" Mr Blair had given to
President Bush on one hand, and parliament on the other.

She claimed that Hans Blix, the UN chief weapons inspector, had not been
given intelligence information, even when he asked for it to be passed on.
Specifically, she said she had raised the issue of documents being
transported to homes in Iraq, and asked that those houses be raided.
According to Ms Short, Mr Blair promised this would happen, but it did not.

Ms Short also suggested that Mr Blair's noticeable gauntness during the
conflict was due to this tacit, or secret, agreement with President Bush.

She told MPs: "I think the prime minister had said to President Bush 'we
will be with you'. He hadn't laid down the conditions needed to bring
Britain's influence to bear to temper the United States," she said.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,482-717360,00.html

*  STOP BLEATING ABOUT WMD AND LISTEN TO HOW NASIR'S MOTHER WAS EXECUTED IN
A PIT
by Ann Clwyd
The Times, 18th June

I never imagined when I wrote on this page in March about the plastic
shredder used to kill in one of Saddam's prisons that I would, some months
later, read in a chillingly meticulous record book that one of the methods
of execution was "mincing".

I had just finished a press conference in the still-shabby British Embassy
in Baghdad, when a reporter from Fox TV told me that he had been handed for
safekeeping by an Iraqi a 56 page record book from the notorious Abu Ghraib
prison outside Baghdad. Later, at the Sheridan hotel, we scanned the
horrific record of Saddam's sadism and brutality.

The prison itself, really a vast concentration camp, is on the edge of a
small town. Market traders sell fresh fruit and vegetables, children play
ball in the dusty streets. The normality of life outside this ghastly place,
where so many lives came to an end, is itself horrible, since many of the
people probably would have worked in the prison. I walked around talking to
groups of young boys messing around on their bikes. Two of them, not more
than 16 years old, told me they had been guards.

Just a few days before the Americans arrived, they said, the remaining
prisoners had been killed; stood in trenches up to their waists and shot
through the head.

In the corridors there are murals of Saddam Hussein: Saddam with a hawk on
his shoulder; Saddam with a rocket-launcher and a dove in the barrel; Saddam
in a silk shirt with a cigar. His victims were taken from dark and
overcrowded cells to the execution block with its ceiling hooks and levers
that catapulted them to a grisly death in the pits below. Some were still
alive. The guards then broke their necks by standing on them.

The UN could have gone on passing resolutions and sending in inspectors and
rapporteurs for the next 50 years, but in the end there was no realistic
alternative to war. Those who bleat about weapons of mass destruction or
question the legality of war should talk to the Iraqi people. They are
irritated. They ask, "Don't they care about us? About mass graves? About
torture?" Stand at the mass grave at al-Hillah where up to 15,000 people are
buried, hands tied behind their backs, bullets through their brains. Examine
the pitiful possessions found so far: a watch, a faded ID card, a comb, a
ring, a clump of black hair. Watch the old woman in her black chador,
tattoos on her gnarled hands, looking through the plastic bags on top of
unidentified, reburied bodies, for something that will help her to find her
son, who disappeared in 1991.

Stand at the mass grave near Kirkuk, where huge mechanised trucks churn the
earth in clouds of dust. Look at the skeletons now tenderly reburied in
simple wooden coffins. Talk to Nasir al-Hussein, who was only 12 at the time
of the 1991 mass arrests. He, his mother, uncle and cousins were piled on
buses. They turned off on to a farm road and the executions started. People
were thrown into a pit, machinegunned and then buried with a bulldozer.
Nasir crawled out of the mass grave, leaving his dead relatives behind.

The killing fields of al-Hillah and Kirkuk look unremarkable. Shepherds
graze their sheep, children play on bikes. But also here are some of the
hundreds and thousands of the perhaps 800,000 of the dead of this country.
Saddam's victims: Shias, Kurds, Communists, the people of Iraq. Now the
secrets of this evil and despotic regime are being revealed. How much more
killing could there have been?

A house in Baghdad, formerly the private home of one of Saddam's secret
police, has been taken over by those who seek to put the record straight.
Outside on the banks of the Tigris, hundreds of Shia men search through the
records found so far. Dusty papers and old files fill every room. In one are
three computers into which 150,000 names of the dead and where they died
have been logged in just two weeks. In another room is some of the torture
equipment: a chiropractor's couch wired to administer electric shocks, the
weights and pulleys used to apply pain. All around are grieving relatives,
women in black chadors clutching tearfully at my arm. They have waited 12
long years for news. They still wait. Saddam, like Hitler and Pol Pot, kept
meticulous records of his crimes. At the same time, Baath party men are said
to be buying up the files that implicate them in the crimes.

The director of this self-help centre, Ibrahim al-Idrissi, was in prison
eight times. Once they took off all his toenails. He shows me photographs of
executions and the bloodied, battered body of a university lecturer from
Basra, still alive, his sawn-off arm lying by his side.

On the streets of Baghdad, WMD is not an issue. "Thanks to Bush and Blair,"
they cry. I ask what would have happened if they had spoken to me like this
in the past on the streets of Baghdad. One man slowly drew his hand, palm
down, across his throat.

The author is an MP and special envoy on human rights in Iraq to the Prime
Minister.


NO URL

*  GALLOWAY PAPERS DEEMED FORGERIES
The Christian Science Monitor, nd

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2003/06/21/do2101
.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/06/21/ixnewstop.html

*  NO, MR GALLOWAY, YOU'RE NOT IN THE CLEAR YET
by Charles Moore
The Daily Telegraph, 21st June

"What's happening with George Galloway, then?" people ask me, and I find
that many of them think that The Daily Telegraph has long since received a
libel writ from the Labour MP. This is not surprising, for in the two months
since we published official Iraqi documents purporting to show that Mr
Galloway took large sums from Saddam Hussein's regime, the Labour
backbencher has spoken repeatedly, excitedly and inaccurately about the
case.

He has talked of "black propaganda" and "intelligence hocus-pocus". He has
even suggested that we might be in the business of churning out forgeries in
Arabic to destroy him. He has spread scurrilous misrepresentations of our
correspondent David Blair's account of how he found these documents. But he
has failed to cast any doubt on their authenticity. And, no, he has not yet
issued a libel writ.

What Mr Galloway can now justifiably say is that an entirely different set
of documents was doubtful. Yesterday the Christian Science Monitor in Boston
confirmed that papers it published purporting to show that Mr Galloway
accepted Iraqi largesse running into millions of dollars were "almost
certainly" fakes. The Mail on Sunday has already exposed as crude forgeries
further papers from the same source.

These revelations have no bearing whatsoever on our story, but in telling
Sky News yesterday how the Monitor's experts had unmasked their documents as
forgeries, Mr Galloway promised that ours too would "meet the same fate". He
was ignoring the fact that those experts went on to say they believed ours
to be consistent with genuine Iraqi documents.

"This tells you something," he hinted to BBC radio on Tuesday. "There is a
market in forged documents about me." There may be a market, but The Daily
Telegraph is not part of it: we paid nothing for our story, no one supplied
it to us, and our documents are not forged.

First, both sets of forged documents were produced by the same mysterious
Iraqi who wished to be known only as "General S". By contrast, David Blair
found our documents himself in a box file labelled "Britain" in the foreign
ministry in Baghdad a few days after the fall of Saddam. No one steered him
in that direction. No one else was involved, save for his Iraqi translator.
Nothing about the way they were found was consistent with them having been
planted.

Second, General S claimed that his few sheets of paper had been torn out of
an official file, but there was nothing to support this and no context
within which to evaluate them.

Our documents, by contrast, were found in a government office in the pale
blue folders in which they remain, bound in both physically and contextually
with hundreds of pages of routine papers whose authenticity has not been
questioned. We were able to verify some of these other documents - notably
letters from Sir Edward Heath and Canon Andrew White of Coventry Cathedral -
with their authors. There was even a letter from Mr Galloway himself.

Thirdly, General S only began touting his collection around British
journalists in Baghdad after The Daily Telegraph's disclosures of April 22.
If there was a market in forgeries about Mr Galloway, it appears to have
been the result of our story.

We know all this because General S's documents were also offered to The
Daily Telegraph. Unable to be sure that they were genuine, we turned them
down. One of the points that we checked was whether Mr Galloway was in
Baghdad on the dates given in these papers. It appeared that he was not. The
MP has since shown that he was speaking in the House of Commons on one of
these dates.

It is a different case with our documents. This week, Mr Galloway finally
confirmed a fact that supports their credibility. One of the documents we
published was a memorandum purporting to outline a meeting arranged by his
"sole representative", Fawaz Zureikat, between Mr Galloway and an Iraqi
intelligence agent on Boxing Day 1999.

In his BBC interview on Tuesday, Mr Galloway admitted: "I was in Iraq on
Boxing Day, 1999." It has taken Mr Galloway two months to make this simple
disclosure. On Newsnight on April 22 he said he had forgotten where he spent
the Boxing Day before the Millennium. "Well, I'm not entirely sure about
that," he told Jeremy Paxman.

He then disclosed that he had spent Christmas Day in Iraq in either 1999 or
2000. Later, he gleefully told one of our correspondents: "If, when I get
home, I discover I was in Iraq in Christmas 2000, the Telegraph will come
down in flames."

Well, Mr Galloway has now "discovered" that the documents were right. This
came as no surprise. When we were checking their authenticity, our first
move was to establish that he was in Baghdad on the date given in the
memorandum. We found him quoted in a Reuters report datelined Baghdad,
December 27, 1999. Why has it taken Mr Galloway so long to extract this
simple fact from his own diary?

Instead, he has set about trying to undermine our good faith by alleging
foul play. He has said that David Blair came upon the documents
"miraculously" when he ventured inside what the MP chose to call a "burning,
looted, destroyed building". This is a blatant distortion. There had been
fires within the foreign ministry, but not for some days. It was not
destroyed. It still stands, a white tower block in the heart of Baghdad. Mr
Galloway can go and look at it. Yes, the building had been looted. But,
unsurprisingly, the looters were not interested in paperwork, and tens of
thousands of pages of documents had survived.

Mr Galloway is now also reported as alleging that we were motivated by
malice against him in publishing our stories. This is not so. We went to
considerable lengths to track him down in Portugal and put to him everything
the documents said about him. We then gave over almost the whole of our page
three to his detailed response.

In his interview with the BBC's On the Ropes on Tuesday, Mr Galloway claimed
that he "did not have to prove anything" and the onus was on The Daily
Telegraph. Were he serious about getting to the bottom of our documents and
proving that he did not take Saddam's money, then, rather than attack us and
threaten to sue for financial compensation, there are two constructive
things he could do.

First, he could address the question of where and with whom he was on Boxing
Day, 1999 - the day after he now confirms he was in Baghdad. Did he indeed
have a meeting arranged by Fawaz Zureikat, as the memo says? Did he meet
another man who may (possibly without his knowledge) have been an Iraqi
agent?

Second, he could ask his representative Mr Zureikat to give us his
recollection of his own whereabouts and communications with the regime at
that time. If he and Mr Galloway were to accept the authenticity of the memo
and set out how they believe it came to be written, we would be happy to
publish what they say. Such positive steps would be more effective in
resolving these issues than simply denouncing the memo as a forgery,
accusing us of maliciously orchestrating it and threatening us with libel
proceedings. It would also make interesting reading.

We have complete confidence in our story, in the authenticity of the
documents and in David Blair.


PROGRESS OF THE PRETEXT

http://www.tribune.atfreeweb.com/hughes13062003.htm

*  THE PENTAGON HAS SENT THE MAN AT THE HEART OF A 'FAKE DOCUMENTS' SCANDAL
TO IRAQ
by Solomon Hughes
The Tribune, 23rd June

IN 1995, the Sunday Times reported that Iraq was making atomic bombs.

The newspaper made the claims in a series of stories printed over three
consecutive weeks and based on documents it claimed came from an exiled
Iraqi scientist.

The documents were fakes.

The Sunday Times passed them on to the International Atomic Energy Authority
(IAEA), but decided not to report its findings that the documents were "not
authentic".

The newspaper has never acknowledged using forgeries in its stories about
Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.

Khidir Hamza, the scientist claimed by the Sunday Times as the source of the
fake documents, was sent by the Pentagon to Iraq last month to oversee the
country's nuclear industry.

Dr. Hamza worked in Iraq's nuclear programme, later claiming to have been
"Saddam's bomb maker", before leaving the country in 1994.

Some commentators  notably former United Nations weapons inspector Scott
Ritter  have accused Hamza of exaggerating his own importance in Saddam
Hussein's nuclear programme.

However, to date no British newspaper has reported the fact that the IAEA
determined that documents supposedly passed on by him were fakes.

I have obtained a hitherto unpublicised letter to the UN Security Council
from the IAEA detailing the forgeries.

Dated July 1995, the IAEA letter describes "two single-page documents, which
were represented as official Iraqi correspondence generated in April/May
1994, suggesting the reconstitution of a nuclear weapons programme".

There is also reference to " an additional set of three documents".

According to the IAEA, "a detailed analysis of the form and content of the
documents "found a large number of errors and inconsistencies"

The UN weapons inspectors declared that as a result of this investigation,
they had "reached the conclusion that, on the basis of all evidence
available, these documents are not authentic".

Nuclear weapons inspector Maurizio Ferrero described one of the letters
rather more bluntly as "a fake"

After his endorsement by the Sunday Times in 1995, Hamza went on to be an
important voice in the calls for war on Iraq.

He argued tirelessly that Saddam was close to making a nuclear bomb and
claimed the Iraqi regime had an advanced chemical and biological weapons
programme.

He also tried to show that Saddam's regime were linked to al Qaida.

Hamza gave testimony to the United States Congress in 2002.

References to his work appeared in George Bush's dossier on Iraq.

Last September, he told The Times that Iraq was close to making a nuclear
bomb.

He made similar claims in the Daily Mirror and Daily Express.

None of these newspapers nor his Congressional supporters revealed that,
seven years previously, the IAEA concluded that documents linked to Hamza
were crude facsimiles made by altering genuine Iraqi papers.

According to the IAEA: "The documents reveal errors in construction,
suggesting poor adaptation of authentic Iraqi documents".

Only Radio Baghdad appears to have reported the finding at the time.

Jon Swain, the journalist who produced the original stores about Hamza,
still works for the Sunday Times.

In the last of three articles on Hamza in April 1995, the Sunday Times
allowed for the possibility that the documents were not genuine, noting that
"some doubts remain about the Arabic text" and a possible "suspicion of
forgery".

However, despite reporting that the IAEA was going through a "line-by-line"
analysis of the documents that formed the Sunday Times' scoop, the newspaper
never reported the eventual findings.

I approached the Sunday Times for an explanation, but it declined to
comment.

The Sunday Times also claimed Hamza had been abducted and possibly murdered
by Saddam's agents in Greece.

This was entirely untrue.

Hamza was in Libya, not Greece, and had been neither kidnapped nor killed.

He resurfaced in the US three years later.

In 1998, Hamza denied any link to the Sunday Times story, claiming that an
impostor had supplied the fake documents to the newspaper.

In the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a small-circulation magazine, he
suggested that the fake Hamza who supplied the papers came from a group of
Iraq exiles. He argued that the story in the Sunday Times may have been
concocted by an Iraqi opposition group to force him to surface from hiding
in an Arab country.

Hamza's elaborate story could simply be an attempt to distance himself from
the forged documents:

If he did admit to supplying them, then his credibility  and with it his
chance to be relocated to the US by the CIA  were gone.

If what Hamza says is true, then not only was the Sunday Times story based
on counterfeit documents, it was also based on a counterfeit Hamza.

Just as the Sunday Times did not acknowledge the IAEA's findings, so it
ignored Hamza's denunciation of its original story.

Even Hamza's convoluted explanation acknowledges the fact that Iraqi exile
opposition groups used forged documents to exaggerate how far Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction had been developed.

The same opposition groups provided the American and British Governments
with the basis for their most dramatic claims about Saddam's supposed
chemical, biological and nuclear arms.

Hamza's honesty was questioned in other documents published this year.

He said that he worked for Saddam's son-in-law, General Kamal. Kamal, who
ran Saddam's WMD programme, also defected from Iraq in 1995.

He later returned to be assassinated by Saddam's forces.

The notes of his interview with the UN weapons inspectors were leaked at the
beginning of this year.

In this, Kamal is disparaging about Hamza's technical ability, saying, "He
worked with us, but he was useless and always looking for promotions.

"He consulted with me, but could not deliver anything."

Kamal describes Hamza as "a professional liar".

In America, Hamza grew close to the hawks who became very influential after
George Bush entered the White House.

One, James Woolsey, said of Hamza: "I think highly of him and I have no
reason to disbelieve the claims that he has made."

Hamza became a member of the Iraqi National Congress and supplied the
"office of special plans" with information on Iraq:

This US Defence Department group supplied the evidence which "proved" Iraq
had weapons of mass destruction and acted as a counterweight to the more
sceptical CIA.

Assistant Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is reported to have personally
selected Hamza to join America's reconstruction team in Iraq.

He is one of a group of Iraqi exiles who will advise the troubled Office of
Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), now headed by Paul Bremer
since the summary dismissal of Jay Garner.

The team of exiles, known as the Iraqi Reconstruction and Redevelopment
Council, was chosen to add an Iraqi perspective to the American-led
reconstruction efforts.

This is even though its members have not lived in the country for some years
and will be housed in sealed compounds protected by US troops.

They work for the Pentagon, but are technically employees of a private firm,
SAIC.

One of the country's leading defence contractors, SAIC's board includes a
number of former senior defence and military officials, including retired
general Wayne Downing, a former head of counter-terrorism at the White
House.

While the Sunday Times would not respond to questions about Hamza, the
Pentagon replied promptly to inquiries.

Asked whether it was appropriate to send Hamza to Iraq after his association
with forged documents, Pentagon spokesman Daniel Hetlage expressed
confidence in his abilities.

"Dr Hamza, who will be part of a team comprised of coalition partners,
Americans and Iraqis, was selected for his extensive management experience
in the nuclear field."

According to the IAEA, Iraq has a fair sized civil atomic programme with
radioactive sources used for many medical, engineering and agricultural
sources.

So there is a pressing need for the occupying powers to take control of Iraq
's nuclear facilities.

The Al-Tuwaitha nuclear complex was looted in the post-war chaos, ironically
releasing materials that could be used to create a "dirty bomb".

The fake documents linked to Hamza also suggest whoever produced them has
technical inadequacies.

The IAEA found the "scientific validity" of the papers weak, saying
"technical elements of the programme, inferred from the documents, have been
assessed as unlikely by experts from nuclear weapon states."

The forger did not have in-depth knowledge of Iraq's secret weapons
programmes.

The weapons inspectors stated: "Significant inaccuracies in qualifications,
titles and names of individuals, as well as in technical and administrative
organisational structures, have been clearly established".

It is now difficult to say who did produce Hamza's fake letters, but they
are not the last nuclear forgeries to be passed to the weapons inspectors.

Just before the war on Iraq began, the IAEA revealed that documents
suggesting that Saddam was buying uranium from Niger  central to Tony Blair
's dossier on Iraq  were "crude forgeries"


FREEDOM TO COMMIT WAR CRIMES WITH IMPUNITY

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=418451

*  BELGIUM TO LIFT THREAT OF BUSH WAR CRIMES TRIAL
by Stephen Castle in Brussels
The Independent, 24th June

Belgium is to amend war crimes laws used to target George Bush and the
commander of American forces in Iraq, General Tommy Franks, after a threat
from Washington to boycott meetings at Nato's headquarters in Brussels.

The move would ensure that cases could only be mounted if the defendant or
the victim is a Belgian national or resident.

The changes were outlined by Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian Prime Minister,
who has been repeatedly embarrassed by the law, and are expected to be
approved by the Belgian parliament by 21 July.

The climbdown follows a direct threat by the US Defence Secretary, Donald
Rumsfeld, who said earlier this month that the United States might not be
able to attend Nato meetings in Belgium. Mr Rumsfeld also threatened to
block any new requests for cash for Nato's new multimillion-pound
headquarters in Brussels.

Belgium had already watered down its universal competence law to ensure that
cases against foreigners were referred first to their national courts.
Washington deemed that unacceptable, fearing that those accused might face
legal bills to get the charges thrown out of American courts. A further
suggestion last week by Belgian leaders that diplomatic immunity would be
granted to foreign officials visiting international organisations in Belgium
also appears to have failed to satisfy US demands.

The latest move was attacked by human rights groups. Reed Brody, of Human
Rights Watch, said: "It is regrettable that under irrational pressure from
the United States the Belgian government is renouncing fundamental
principles."

However, most senior Belgian politicians have viewed the law as a growing
embarrassment and even supporters acknowledge that a change is inevitable.
One of the latest to receive a writ is the Belgian Foreign Minister, Louis
Michel, who has been accused over arms sales to Nepal.

Others include Mr Bush, General Franks and Tony Blair over Iraq; Ariel
Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, over the Sabra and Chatila refugee camp
massacres in 1982, and the former US president George Bush Snr over the 1991
Gulf war. Under the law, which was passed in 1993 and used in 2001 to
convict two Rwandan nuns for their role in the slaughter of up to 7,000
Tutsis, charges can be laid in a Belgian court against foreigners for
alleged war crimes committed outside Belgian jurisdiction.

Mr Verhofstadt said the reason for the changes was "not US pressure", but
"because we want to keep the law".

Nato officials reacted cautiously, saying US legal experts would examine the
text after it had cleared the Belgian parliament. If the changes were deemed
satisfactory, US officials would make it known that they were relaxing their
threat to block more Nato spending.


http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0623-01.htm

*  OFFICIALS: HUNDREDS OF IRAQIS KILLED BY FAULTY GRENADES
by Thomas Frank
Associated Press, 23rd June

WASHINGTON: Hundreds and possibly thousands of Iraqi civilians have been
killed or maimed by outdated, defective U.S. cluster weapons that lack a
safety feature other countries have added, according to observers, news
reports and officials.

U.S. cluster weapons fired during the war in March and April dispersed
thousands of small grenades on battlefields and in civilian neighborhoods to
destroy Iraqi troops and weapons systems.

But some types of the grenades fail to explode on impact as much as 16
percent of the time, according to official military figures. Battlefield
commanders have reported failure rates as high as 40 percent.

Unexploded grenades remain potentially lethal for weeks and months after
landing on the ground, where civilians can unwittingly pick them up or step
on them. Many victims are children such as Ali Mustafa, 4, whose eyes were
blown out when a grenade he played with near his Baghdad home in April
exploded in his face.

The "dud rate" for cluster grenades can be reduced to less than 1 percent by
installing secondary fuses that blow up or neutralize grenades that fail to
explode on impact, according to defense contractors. In early 2001, the
Pentagon said it would achieve that goal, but not until 2005. In the
meantime, the military continues to use a vast arsenal of cluster grenades
that fail to meet the new standard.

Former military officials and defense experts say the effort to improve the
grenades was given a low priority and little funding.

"The Army is behind, and the Army is moving very slowly," said retired Army
Lt. Gen. Michael Davison, now president of the U.S. division of Israel
Military Industries, which has made 60 million grenades with secondary
fuses. "It's a sorry situation that we didn't have secondary fuses on the
artillery submunitions that were fired in the last several wars."

Britain, which joined the United States in the fight to oust Saddam Hussein,
fired 2,000 artillery cluster weapons in the war. All were equipped with
Israeli-made grenades with secondary fuses and a 2 percent dud rate, the
British Defense Ministry said.

The United States fired cluster weapons as bombs, rockets and artillery
shells, which open like a clam to scatter hundreds of grenades over an area
as large as several city blocks. Almost all of the U.S. grenades had one
standard fuse, according to military records and officials. A notable
exception was a type of cluster bomb carrying newly designed -- and
expensive -- grenades with infrared sensors that seek armored vehicles and
self-destruct if none is found.

As small as medicine bottles and often draped with short ribbons, unexploded
grenades attract children who mistake them for toys. On the April day when
Ali Mustafa lost his eyes -- an explosion that injured his brother and
friend -- the three were taken to a Baghdad hospital where two other youths
were being treated for cluster grenade wounds.

Ali Hamed, 10, of Baghdad, had his stomach ripped open and bowel perforated
when a grenade that he and friends were playing with blew up.

Shrapnel ripped into the buttocks of Saef Sulaiman, 17, after his younger
brother brought a live grenade into their Baghdad home. Sulaiman said his
8-month-old sister, who had been resting on the living-room floor, was
killed in the explosion.

Ali Hamed's mother said two friends of her son's were killed when Ali was
hurt.

Another Iraqi child who picked up a grenade survived when Army Sgt. Troy
Jenkins took it from her. The grenade then exploded. Jenkins was killed.

The military has not said how many troops have been killed or injured by
unexploded grenades. But the 1991 Gulf War revealed their danger.

A congressional report found that grenade duds killed 22 U.S. troops -- 6
percent of the total American fatalities -- and injured 58 as forces swept
the Iraqi military out of areas in Kuwait's desert that the Americans had
just shelled.

The Army said in a post-war report that "the large number of dud U.S.
submunitions ... significantly impeded operations."

A U.S. mine-clearance company found 118,000 unexploded cluster grenades in
just one of the seven Kuwaiti battlefield sectors, according to the General
Accounting Office, Congress' investigative agency. Military documents and
officials estimated the dud rate at 8 percent to 40 percent.

The total number of unexploded grenades in the region was estimated at 1.2
million by Human Rights Watch, which opposes cluster weapons. It estimated
fatalities at 1,220 Kuwaitis and 400 Iraqi civilians.

Forced to confront the problem of unexploded cluster grenades, the military
focused on training U.S. troops to clear them and avoid them in the
battlefield instead of making improvements to reduce their number, defense
experts said.

"We didn't do a whole lot that cost a whole lot of money," said Richard
Johnson, a defense consultant and retired Army colonel who spent 30 years
working in ammunition acquisition programs.

The Pentagon acknowledged in a 2000 report on cluster weapons that "a
significant percentage of these submunitions may not detonate reliably." The
report said "corrective measures are under way" but said the Pentagon would
not retrofit the cluster grenade inventory, which an earlier report said
numbered 1 billion.

Retrofitting the entire grenade stockpile was deemed too costly, at $11
billion to $12 billion, according to a 1996 Army report. But the report also
noted that cleaning up dud grenades was so costly that in certain limited
conflicts "costs for retrofit of our ammunition might be recovered from the
elimination of future cleanup costs."

The military has been trying to improve grenade reliability, but
technological problems and the complexity of cluster weapons have caused
delays. "I don't think anybody is happy with the current fusing," one Army
official said.

Two people close to the Navy said recently that reports of civilian
casualties have reignited what they called a stalled Navy effort to modify
one type of grenade considered notoriously unreliable by experts. A military
report indicates 36,179 such grenades were used in Iraq.

Lt. Col. Stephen Lee, who manages an Army program to upgrade cluster-weapon
safety, said, "There have been major improvements; it's just that they're
not fielded yet."

Speaking about a type of grenade used widely in Iraq, Lee said, "There
really is no difference in terms of the dud rate between the first Gulf War
and the most recent conflict in Iraq."

Experts say the military has focused on building new precision weapons
systems. "Safety and collateral damage are not as high a priority as mission
effectiveness," said David Ochmanek, a RAND Corp. defense analyst who was a
deputy assistant defense secretary in the Clinton administration.

The Defense Department defended its recent use of cluster weapons in Iraq.
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blamed the
civilian casualties on Hussein for deliberately placing Iraqi weapons in
populated areas where they would draw return fire. "War is not a tidy
affair. It's a very ugly affair," Myers said in April. "And this enemy had
no second thoughts about putting its own people at risk."

The U.S. military has known about the dangers of the unexploded grenades for
decades, since the Vietnam War, when Viet Cong fighters used unexploded
grenades as land mines against the U.S. forces that fired them by the
millions.

In the three decades since, the duds have killed thousands in Laos, says the
International Committee of the Red Cross. The Red Cross, human rights groups
and the European Parliament have campaigned to ban cluster-weapon use until
nations agree to improve grenade reliability, avoid firing them in populated
areas and regulate their cleanup.

The United States did little in the 1970s and 1980s to improve the
reliability of the grenades, said Darold Griffin, former deputy director for
research and development in the Army Material Command. "Some felt duds were
an asset on the battlefield. You fire them into an area where an enemy is,
and having some duds decreases his freedom of movement," he said.

Countries that have fought wars on their own soil, most notably Israel, have
made improvements, out of fear that duds would harm their own civilians and
under public pressure. Israeli-made grenades now have a dud rate of less
than 1 percent, said Davison, the Israeli Military Industries official. The
company has sold tens of millions of grenades to Britain, Germany, Denmark
and Finland, and to Switzerland, which has proposed international standards
to improve grenade reliability.

Sweden also requires its cluster grenades to have secondary fuses, said Lt.
Col. Olof Carelius of the Swedish Armed Forces.

Grenades fail to detonate mostly when their landing impact is lessened,
because they fall on a soft surface or sloped terrain, or they collide in
midair and lose speed. The Pentagon says many grenades fail only 2 percent
of the time but acknowledges dud rates are difficult to ascertain and vary
widely depending on conditions. It says the weapons are ideal for hitting
spread-out targets like troop formations and tank columns.

But the consequences of failure rates are magnified by the numbers of
grenades used: To destroy one air-defense system covering 100 square yards
requires 75 rockets, each carrying 644 grenades -- a total of 48,300. The 16
percent failure rate listed by the Pentagon produces 7,728 unexploded
grenades, scattering them over 600 square yards.

Bonnie Docherty, part of a Human Rights Watch team that recently spent a
month surveying battle damage throughout Iraq, said she "saw evidence of
thousands of submunitions in or near populated areas."

Cluster-weapon use was "significantly more extensive than in Afghanistan,"
where the United States dropped 1,228 cluster bombs containing 248,056
grenades in a six-month span, according to Human Rights Watch.

A report by the Air Force in late April said U.S. aircraft over Iraq dropped
1,714 cluster bombs containing about 275,000 grenades. No report is
available on the number of ground fired cluster weapons, but throughout the
war launchers could be seen firing grenade carrying rockets.

Efforts to improve grenades stalled when an Army contractor, KDI Precision
Products Inc. of Cincinnati, proved unable to mass-produce a secondary fuse
for new grenades. A contract signed in 1987 was canceled in 2000.

"It's not an easy technical problem to solve," KDI president Eric Guerrazzi
said. He and others say the program might have succeeded with more funding,
perhaps to pay a competing firm to work as well on developing the fuses.

Spending on munitions research and procurement dropped from $18 billion a
year during the 1980s to about $6 billion a year after the Cold War.

"The funding for R and D [research and development] in the Army was minimal,
and fusing was the last on the list," said Bruce Mueller, a former Army
lieutenant colonel who managed the fuse program for defense contractor
Raytheon. "They develop weapons, then they develop munitions, and after they
develop munitions, the last thing they worry about is how to fuse them."




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