Memorandum from Dr Glen Rangwala
30 JANUARY 2003 DOSSIER
1. The 19-page dossier, entitled "IraqIts
Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation",
was released on 30 January 2003. The document begins with the
"This report draws upon a number of sources,
including intelligence material (. . ."
2. The assertion that the intelligence agencies
were involved in the production of the dossier was made more explicitly
by Prime Minister Blair when he announced the release of the dossier
to the House of Commons on 3 February 2003:
"We issued further intelligence over the
weekend about the infrastructure of concealment. It is obviously
difficult when we publish intelligence reports, but I hope that
people have some sense of the integrity of our security services.
They are not publishing this, or giving us this information, and
making it up. It is the intelligence that they are receiving,
and we are passing it on to people."
A REVIEW OF
30 JANUARY 2003 DOSSIER
3. The bulk of the 19-page document (pp
6-16) is directly copied without acknowledgement from three different
sources that are on the internet. The most extensively used source
is an article in the on-line Israeli journal, Middle East Review
of International Affairs (September 2002), entitled "Iraq's
Security and Intelligence Network: A Guide and Analysis".
4. The author of the piece is Mr Ibrahim
al-Marashi, a postgraduate student then based at the Monterey
Institute of International Studies, California, who is completing
a doctorate at Oxford University. He has confirmed to me that
his permission was not sought; in fact, he didn't even know about
the British document until I contacted him on 4 February to enquire
whether his permission was given.
5. In addition to Mr Marashi's work, there
is also the use of two articles from the specialist security magazine,
Jane's Intelligence Review. On-line summaries of articles
by Mr Sean Boyne in 1997 and Mr Ken Gause in 2002 are on the GlobalSecurity.org
These texts were also amalgamated in part into
the UK dossier.
6. The fact that these sources were copied
is most clear from the typographical errors and anomalous uses
of grammar in the original pieces that are incorporated into the
Downing Street document. For example, Mr Marashi had written:
"Saddam appointed, Sabir `Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri
as head (. . .)"
There is a misplaced comma after the second
word. On p 13, the British dossier incorporates the same misplaced
"Saddam appointed, Sabir `Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri
as head (. . .)"
7. Because the texts of these three authors
are copied directly also results in a proliferation of different
transliterations (for example, different spellings of the Ba'th
party, depending on which author is being copied).
Modifications to the original articles
8. The only exceptions to these acts of
copying were the tweaking of specific phrases. For example, most
of p 9 on the functions of the Mukhabarat (General Intelligence)
is copied directly from Mr Marashi's article. However, Marashi
writes of the Mukhabarat's role in:
"monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq".
This becomes in the British dossier:
"spying on foreign embassies in Iraq".
Similarly, on the same page, Marashi writes
that the Mukhabarat had a role in:
"aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes"
The British dossier renders this as:
"supporting terrorist organisations in hostile
9. A further example is from the section
on "Fedayeen Saddam" (Saddam's Self-Sacrificers). Most
of this text is copied from the 1997 article by Sean Boyne. However,
Boyne writes that the personnel of this organisation are:
"recruited from regions loyal to Saddam",
and refers to their original grouping as "some 10,000-15,000
`bullies and country bumpkins.'"
10. This becomes in the British government's
text, at pp 15-16, a reference to how its personnel are:
"press ganged from regions known to be loyal
to Saddam" . . . "some 10,000-15,000 bullies."
11. The reference in Mr Boyne's article
to how the organisation was made up of "bullies and country
bumpkins" was shorn of its last three words in the UK dossier,
perhaps to render a more threatening picture of the organisation
than that contained in the original article.
12. Numbers are also increased or are rounded
up. So, for example, the section on "Fedayeen Saddam"
(pp 15-16) is directly copied from Boyne's article, almost word
for word. The only substantive difference is that Mr Boyne estimates
the personnel of the organisation to be 18,000-40,000 (Ken Gause,
in another article that was substantially copied, estimates personnel
in the region of 10,000-40,000). The British dossier instead writes
"30,000 to 40,000". A similar bumping up of figures
occurs with the description of the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
13. There is at least one serious substantive
mistake in the British text, on p 14, about the Iraqi organisation
the Military Security Service (al-Amn al-Askari). After an initial
two paragraphs copied from Marashi's 2002 article, the remainder
of the text is taken from the description by Sean Boyne in his
1997 article of a wholly different organisation called the General
Security Service (al-Amn al-Amm). That is, it mixes up the descriptions
of two different organisations.
14. The result is a confusion that renders
the description incoherent. The description of the Military Security
Service (al-Amn al-Askari) begins by relating how this organisation
was created in 1992 (in a section copied from Marashi). It then
describes how the Military Security Service moved headquarters
in 1990 (in a piece copied from Boyne on the activities of the
General Security Service), two years before the organisation was
15. Later in the same section, the UK dossier
claims that the head of the Military Security Service is Taha
al-Ahbabi. This is from Boyne's description of the General Security
Service. In fact, the Military Security Service was headed by
Thabet Khalil when the dossier was released.
16. The information in the UK dossier is
presented as being an accurate statement of the current state
of Iraq's security organisations. However, it may not be anything
of the sort. Mr Marashithe real and unwitting author of
much of the documentrefers in his article to his primary
source as being the documents captured by Coalition forces in
1991, and which are now retained by the Massachusetts-based organisation,
the Iraq Research and Documentation Project. His own focus is
the activities of Iraq's intelligence agencies in Kuwait in the
period from August 1990 to January 1991, as this is the subject
of his thesis. As a result, much of the information presented
as relevant to how Iraqi agencies are currently engaged with UNMOVIC
is 12 years old.
17. When the document was first released
as a Microsoft Word document, I checked the properties of the
text in the File menu. It revealed the authors of the text as
P. Hamill, J. Pratt, A. Blackshaw, and M. Khan. Those names were
removed within hours from the downloadable file. However, in collaboration
with journalists, I have since checked who these individuals are.
The identity of the authors is as follows:
Paul Hamill, a Foreign Office official;
John Pratt, a junior official from the Prime
Minister's Strategic Communications Unit;
Alison Blackshaw, Alastair Campbell's personal
Mustaza Khan, news editor of the 10 Downing Street
18. The dossier is ordered as follows:
p 1 is the summary.
pp 2-5 consists of, firstly, a repetition of
the comments of Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, to the
Security Council in January on the difficulties they were encountering.
Further claims about the activities of al-Mukhabarat follow. These
claims are not backed up, and have in some cases been specifically
denied by Hans Blix. For example, the UK dossier claims on p 3
"Journeys are monitored by security officers
stationed on the route if they have prior intelligence. Any changes
of destination are notified ahead by telephone or radio so that
arrival is anticipated. The welcoming party is a give away."
This can be contrasted with the assessment of
Hans Blix on 14 February 2003 that:
"Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted
more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections
were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided
promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the
Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming."
Similarly, the UK dossier claims on p 3 that:
"Escorts are trained, for example, to start
long arguments with other Iraqi officials `on behalf of UNMOVIC'
while any incriminating evidence is hastily being hidden behind
By contrast, Dr Blix relates in the same presentation
of 14 February that:
"we note that access to sites has so far
been without problems, including those that had never been declared
or inspected, as well as to Presidential sites and private residences."
p 6 is a simplified version of Mr Marashi's
diagram at: http://cns.miis.edu/research/iraq/pdfs/iraqint.pdf
p 7 is copied (top) from Mr Gause (on the Presidential
Secretariat), and (middle and bottom) from Mr Boyne (on the National
p 8 is entirely copied from Mr Boyne (on the
National Security Council).
p 9 is copied from Mr Marashi (on al-Mukhabarat),
except for the final section, which is insubstantial.
p 10 is entirely copied from Mr Marashi (on
the General Security Service), except for the final section, which
p 11 is entirely copied from Mr Marashi (on
Special Security), except for the top section (on General Security),
which is insubstantial.
p 12 is entirely copied from Mr Marashi (on
p 13 is copied from Mr Gause (on Special Protection)
and Mr Marashi (Military Intelligence).
p 14 is copied from Mr Marashi (first two paragraphs)
and then wrongly copied from Mr Boyne (on Military Security).
The last section, on the Special Republican Guard, is copied from
p 15 is copied from Messrs Gause and Boyne (on
al-Hadi project / project 858).
pp 15-16 is copied from Boyne (on Fedayeen Saddam).
p 16: The final section, on the Tribal Chiefs'
Bureau, seems to be copied from Anthony H. Cordesman, "Key
Targets in Iraq", February 1998, http://www.csis.org/stratassessment/reports/iraq_argets.pdf,
pp 17-19 make general claims about human rights
Dr Glen Rangwala
16 June 2003