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REAL AUTHORS OF IRAQ DOSSIER BLAST BLAIR

by Gary Jones And Alexandra Williams In LA (mailbox [at] mirror.co.uk)
Journalist Sean Boyne and student Ibrahim al-Marashi have attacked Tony Blair for using their reports to call for war against Iraq.

Both men are against the war on Iraq and believe the 'dossier' is one part of a massive media misinformation campaign.
REAL AUTHORS OF IRAQ DOSSIER BLAST BLAIR

Feb 8 2003

Exclusive By Gary Jones And Alexandra Williams In Los Angeles

JOURNALIST Sean Boyne and student Ibrahim al-Marashi have attacked Tony Blair for using their reports to call for war against Iraq.

Mr Boyne, who works for military magazine Jane's Intelligence Review, said he was shocked his work had been used in the Government's dossier.

Articles he wrote in 1997 were plagiarised for a 19-page intelligence document entitled Iraq: Its Infrastructure Of Concealment, Deception And Intimidation to add weight to the PM's warmongering.

He said: "I don't like to think that anything I wrote has been used for an argument for war. I am concerned because I am against the war."

The other main source was a thesis by post-graduate student, Ibrahim al-Marashi, the US-born son of Iraqis, who lives in California. His research was partly based on documents seized in the 1991 Gulf War.

He said: "This is wholesale deception. How can the British public trust the Government if it is up to these sort of tricks? People will treat any other information they publish with a lot of scepticism from now on."

After the dossier's origins were revealed, Mr Blair was accused by his own MPs of theft and lies. The fiasco has deeply damaged his attempts to win backing for military action.

It emerged the PA to Mr Blair's spin chief Alastair Campbell was involved in drawing up the dossier which was published last month.

Alison Blackshaw and a Government press officer were both named on the dossier when it was first put on the Government's website. But the names were later removed.

The bulk of the Government's document is directly copied, without acknowledgement, from Ibrahim's 5,000-word thesis - Iraq's Security and Intelligence Network - published last September.

He did not even know the dossier existed until Glen Rangwala, a Cambridge-based Iraq analyst, spotted the plagarism and called him.

Ibrahim, whose parents fled to the US from Iraq in 1968, said the Government not only blatantly lifted much of his work, including typing and grammatical errors. Mr al-Marashi and Mr Boyne said their figures had been altered in the Government document.

Former Labour Defence Minister MP Peter Kilfoyle said: "It just adds to the general impression that what we have been treated to is a farrago of half-truths.

"I am shocked that on such thin evidence that we should be trying to convince the British people that this is a war worth fighting."

And Labour MP Glenda Jackson said: "It is another example of how the Government is attempting to mislead the country and Parliament.

"And of course to mislead is a Parliamentary euphemism for lying."

The PM's official spokesman rejected Ms Jackson's claims but admitted it had been a mistake not to acknowledge Mr al-Marashi's thesis in the dossier.

He added: "The fact we used some of his work doesn't throw into question the accuracy of the document as a whole. This document is solid."

Asked whether Downing Street was embarrassed about the affair, the spokesman said: "We all have lessons to learn."

The dossier had been praised by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in his speech to the UN Security Council. Mr Boyne added: "Maybe I should invoice Colin Powell."



© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Digital Media Limited 2003
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