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Was Downing St’s Iraq dossier plagiarised?

Was Downing St’s Iraq dossier plagiarised?

[Editor's Note: This material is credited to http://www.channel4.com in the United Kingdom.]

The UK government's carefully co-ordinated propaganda offensive took an embarrassing hit today after Downing Street was accused of plagiarism.

Read sample of the accused plagiarised text...

The target is an intelligence dossier released on Monday and heralded by none other than Colin Powell at the UN yesterday.

Channel Four News has learnt that the bulk of the nineteen page document was copied from three different articles - one written by a graduate student.

On Monday, the day before the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell addressed the UN, Downing Street published its latest paper on Iraq.

It gives the impression of being an up to the minute intelligence-based analysis - and Mr Powell was fulsome in his praise.

Published on the Number 10 web site, called "Iraq - Its Infrastructure of Concealment Deception and Intimidation", it outlines the structure of Saddam's intelligence organisations.

But it made familiar reading to Cambridge academic Glen Ranwala. It was copied from an article last September in a small journal: the Middle East Review of International Affairs.

It's author, Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student from Monterey in California. Large sections do indeed appear, verbatim.

A section, for example, six paragraphs long, on Saddam's Special Security Organisation, the exact same words are in the Californian student's paper.

In several places Downing Street edits the originals to make more sinister reading.

Number 10 says the Mukhabarat - the main intelligence agency - is "spying on foreign embassies in Iraq".

The original reads: "monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq."

And the provocative role of "supporting terrorist organisations in hostile regimes" has a weaker, political context in the original: "aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes."

Even typographic mistakes in the original articles are repeated.

Of military intelligence, al-Marashi writes in his original paper:

"The head of military intelligence generally did not have to be a relative of Saddam's immediate family, nor a Tikriti. Saddam appointed, Sabir Abd Al-Aziz Al-Duri as head..." Note the comma after appointed.

Downing Street paraphrases the first sentence: "Saddam appointed, Sabir 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri as head during the 1991 Gulf War."

This second line is cut and pasted, complete with the same grammatical error.

plagiarism is regarded as intellectual theft.

Sample text

Government dossier: (page 13), published Jan 2003

"Saddam appointed, Sabir 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri as head during the 1991 Gulf War. After the Gulf War he was replaced by Wafiq Jasim al-Samarrai.

After Samarrai, Muhammad Nimah al-Tikriti headed Al-Istikhbarat al-Askariyya in early 1992 then in late 1992 Fanar Zibin Hassan al-Tikriti was appointed to this post.

These shifting appointments are part of Saddam's policy of balancing security positions. By constantly shifting the directors of these agencies, no one can establish a base in a security organisation for a substantial period of time. No one becomes powerful enough to challenge the President."

al-Marashi document: (section: "MILITARY INTELLIGENCE", published sept 2002 - relevant parts have been underlined

Saddam appointed, Sabir ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Duri(80) as head of Military Intelligence during the 1991 Gulf War.(81) After the Gulf War he was replaced by Wafiq Jasim al-Samarrai.(82)

After Samarrai, Muhammad Nimah al-Tikriti(83) headed Military Intelligence in early 1992(84) then in late 1992 Fanar Zibin Hassan al-Tikriti was appointed to this post.(85) While Fanar is from Tikrit, both Sabir al-Duri and Samarrai are non-Tikriti Sunni Muslims, as their last names suggest.

Another source indicates that Samarrai was replaced by Khalid Salih al-Juburi,(86) demonstrating how another non-Tikriti, but from the tribal alliance that traditionally support the regime holds top security positions in Iraq.(87)

These shifting appointments are part of Saddam’s policy of balancing security positions between Tikritis and non-Tikritis, in the belief that the two factions would not unite to overthrow him. Not only that, but by constantly shifting the directors of these agencies, no one can establish a base in a security organization for a substantial period of time, that would challenge the President.(88)


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