Thursday, February 06, 2003

What's that cliché about "military intelligence"?

A must-read Channel 4 report (click here for video). In an unspeakably bad print-version of the story, they report:

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.

[. . .]

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 [sic] author, Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student from Monterey in California. Large sections do indeed appear, verbatim.

[. . .]

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.

What was it I said yesterday about every time I come close to finally supporting a war? Come back, Yossarian, we need you!!