Pro-war case turns into farce

Lying all the way to war

Fay Gervasoni

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence ... I would call my colleagues' attention to the fine paper that the United Kingdom distributed yesterday which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities." - Colin Powell, UN Security Council, 5 Feb.

Glen Rangwala, a lecturer in politics at Cambridge University, has dealt a severe blow to the credibility of the pro-war regimes with the revelation that the bulk of the British government's third "intelligence dossier", released last week, "Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation" (30 January 2003), was plagiarised.

Most of the Blair government's report was lifted without acknowledgement from an article based on 12-year old research published in last September's Middle East Review of International Affairs, entitled "Iraq's Security and Intelligence Network: A Guide and Analysis".

The author of the piece is Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. He confirmed to Rangwala that his permission was not sought; indeed, he didn't even know about the British document until Rangwala mentioned it to him.

The other sources that are extensively plagiarised in the document are the work of two authors from Jane's Intelligence Review: Ken Gause (an international security analyst from Alexandria, Virginia), "Can the Iraqi Security Apparatus save Saddam" (November 2002); and Sean Boyne, "Inside Iraq's Security Network",