BREAKING NEWS — Downing Street Dossier on Iraq plagiarized
Oh, boy. The dossier on Iraq published by the British Prime Minister’s office — which was lauded by Colin Powell yesterday at the United Nations — appears to have been plagiarized from a small Middle Eastern studies Journal.
The dossier, “Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment Deception and Intimidation,” was published Monday on the office of the prime minister’s web site, www.number-10.gov.uk. It reproduced, almost verbatim, portions of an article from the Middle East Review of International Affairs, according to Cambridge academic Glen Ranwala. The author of the original article is Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student from Monterey in California.
One section, six paragraphs long, on Saddam’s Special Security Organization uses the exact language, even down to the typographical errors, as al-Marashi’s article ldoes. There also seems to be several places where the language was made more sinister. For example, Downing Street says Iraq’s Mukhabarat, the main intelligence agency, is “spying on foreign embassies in Iraq” while the original language says it is “monitoring foreign embassies.”
The dossier does not appear now on the PM’s site, to the best of my searching. Perhaps it’s been pulled?
[UPDATE: Thanks to a clear-eyed reader, the dossier link is here. I just never found it. Oopsies.]
I can only shake my head at this. I understand that Team Bush — which now must surely include Tony Blair — is feeling the pressure to make their case to invade Iraq and topple Saddam. I’m not saying the information in the dossier isn’t true, but credibility is all-important here. How can the United States and Britain be so careless as to rip off journals to produce heavily scrutinized reports? Don’t they know how this will appear to the world? The Arab world is utterly suspicious of the Anglo Alliance’s motives. France and Russia are skeptical, too. This is the moral equivalent of planting evidence. While you know the guy’s guilty, and the evidence is likely there, there are procedures prosecutors have to follow, otherwise the whole process is compromised.
But perhaps this is the point. Team Bush has been contemptuous of the U.N. since he took office, and this seems more of a pattern that comes from the White House — and now from Downing Street. Actions such as this tell the world that Team Bush will do anything to get their way with Iraq.
And that’s not the way to win the peace after a war.