Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

TINAF SPECIAL: U.S./U.K. "Intelligence Dossier" Plagiarism

Expand Messages
  • Paul Kneisel
    __________________________________________________________________________ The Internet Anti-Fascist: Thursday, 6 February 2003 Vol. 7, Number 14 (#747)
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      __________________________________________________________________________

      The Internet Anti-Fascist: Thursday, 6 February 2003
      Vol. 7, Number 14 (#747)
      SPECIAL ON U.S./U.K. "INTELLIGENCE DOSSIER" PLAGIARISM
      __________________________________________________________________________

      01) Julian Rush (ABC News 4), "Downing St dossier plagiarised," 6 Jan
      03
      02) Reuters, "Britain stands by Iraq report after accusations of
      plagiarism," 7 Feb 03
      03) [British] ITV, "Government plagiarised Iraq data," 7 Feb 02
      04) Stephen Fidler (Financial Times), "UK document on Iraq 'a hasty cut
      and paste job'," 6 Feb 03

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

      01) Downing St dossier plagiarised
      Julian Rush (ABC News 4)
      6 Jan 03

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

      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)

      - - - - -

      02) Britain stands by Iraq report after accusations of plagiarism
      Reuters
      7 Feb 03

      LONDON -- Britain today said it stood by an intelligence dossier on Iraq,
      after academics said whole passages had been lifted from magazine articles,
      complete with spelling mistakes.

      US Secretary of State Colin Powell drew attention to a British dossier on
      Iraq during his presentation to the UN Security Council yesterday. The
      British dossier says it is compiled from intelligence material "and other
      sources".

      Several academics came forward today saying they recognised most of the
      British dossier as lifted, verbatim, from articles published in the US
      journal the Middle East Review of International Affairs and in Jane's
      Intelligence Review.

      In some cases the dossier included punctuation and spelling mistakes copied
      from the original articles.

      "This appears to be obsolete academic analysis dressed up as the best MI6
      and our other international partners can produce on Saddam," analyst Dan
      Plesch of the Royal United Services Institute said on Channel Four news.

      However, a British government spokesman maintained that the report was
      accurate and said the government had never claimed all the material was
      from its spies.

      "We consider the text as published to be accurate," he said.

      "As the report itself makes clear, it was drawn from a number of sources,
      including intelligence material. It does not identify or credit any
      sources, but nor does it claim any exclusivity of authorship."

      - - - - -

      03) Government plagiarised Iraq data
      [British] ITV
      7 Feb 02

      Number 10 has been accused of "scandalously" plagiarising data from 1991
      for use in its latest dossier of evidence against Saddam Hussein.

      On Monday, the Government released a 19-page intelligence document designed
      to help win over sceptics by detailing Iraq's alleged efforts to hide its
      weapons of mass destruction.

      However, Channel 4 News has claimed the document - hailed by Colin Powell
      at the UN yesterday - was mostly copied from three different articles - one
      of them allegedly written by a postgraduate student.

      The article's original author is Ibrahim al-Marashi, from Monterey,
      California, the programme said. He was researching documents relating to
      the build-up to the 1991 Gulf War and not to the current situation, it was
      alleged.

      Channel 4 News reported that Glen Rangwala, an academic at Cambridge
      University, spotted that large chunks of the student's paper had been
      copied to form parts of the No 10 dossier called Iraq - Its Infrastructure
      of Concealment Deception and Intimidation.

      The programme said one six-paragraph section of the Downing Street document
      that detailed Saddam's special security organisation had been lifted from
      the student's article.

      Channel 4 News' website detailed the alleged plagiarism: "No 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."

      Dan Plesch, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute
      for Defence Studies in London, told the programme that the Government's
      alleged plagiarism was "scandalous".

      A Downing Street spokesman has insisted that the dossier is "accurate" and
      that the Government had never claimed exclusive authorship.

      "The report was put together by a range of government officials," he said.
      "We consider the text as published to be accurate."

      - - - - -

      04) UK document on Iraq 'a hasty cut and paste job'
      Stephen Fidler (Financial Times)
      6 Feb 03

      LONDON -- A British government document on Iraq praised this week by US
      Secretary of State Colin Powell contains factual errors and has been
      described as a "cut and paste job" by researchers.

      The document, released at the weekend, was meant to highlight Iraq's
      efforts to deceive weapons inspectors. But large sections were drawn
      without attribution from three articles on Iraq's security services, one of
      which was published in 1997.

      In his address to the United Nations on Wednesday, Mr Powell described the
      document as "a fine paper... which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi
      deception activities".

      Yet in one section, the UK document describes the Iraqi Military Security
      Service as having been established in 1992 - and as having moved to a new
      headquarters two years earlier in 1990.

      Glen Rangwala, a politics lecturer at Cambridge University, who uncovered
      the errors, said officials had apparently incorrectly copied part of a
      document related to one security service in a section devoted to another.

      Copying the three articles - Mr Rangwala called it "plagiarism" - has also
      resulted in different spellings for Arabic names, including the Ba'ath
      Party, he said.

      A Downing Street spokesman said it stood by the document, which described
      itself as drawing upon "a number of sources including inteligence
      material". He would not say who compiled it.

      An author of one of the reports used as a source, Ibrahim al-Marashi, a
      research associate at the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies in Monterey,
      California, said: "I know it's cut and paste because they have copied a lot
      of my mistakes." He said he had rushed the article to the publisher, the
      Middle East Review of International Affairs.

      Asked if he objected to being used in a propaganda effort, Mr al-Marashi
      said: "Only if I don't get proper attribution."

      The UK document, released to journalists and published on Downing Street's
      website, also copied most of a diagram Mr al-Marashi said had taken months
      of research - without attribution or permission.

      Two other researchers were also quoted extensively: 1997 articles by Sean
      Boyne and a 2002 article by Ken Gause, both of which appeared in Jane's
      Intelligence Review. Chris Aaron, editor of the review, said it was not
      unusual for UK governments to use a combination of publicly-available
      material with some intelligence information - but the mistakes raised
      questions about how carefully the document had been compiled.

      Mr Rangwala said that the UK document had also altered wordings and rounded
      up numbers to make its claims appear stronger. "It looks like it has been
      rushed out by Number 10 to play into the US agenda that inspections cannot
      work," he said.

      * * * * *

      In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
      distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior
      interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and
      educational purposes only.

      __________________________________________________________________________

      FASCISM:
      We have no ethical right to forgive, no historical right to forget.
      (No permission required for noncommercial reproduction)

      - - - - -

      back issues archived via:
      <ftp://ftp.nyct.net/pub/users/tallpaul/publish/tinaf/>
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.