Charlie's Diary

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Fri, 20 Jun 2003


Looks like Ken MacLeod, general secretary of the Scottish Socialist Science Fiction Vanguard Party, has just been slashdotted. Way to go, Ken!

(Oh yeah: the suspected splittists at the Cell meeting last week are in fact doctrinaire party members, suspicious hirsute tendencies or no.)

posted at: 18:57 | path: /writing | permanent link to this entry


Labour MP George Galloway was a ferocious opponent of the invasion of Iraq. Then the Christian Science Monitor's journalist in Baghdad turned up papers that appeared to show he'd been receiving big cheques from the Ba'ath party. (Original report here.) "Inconceivable," I said, mostly because of the figures involved, and the way the documents were uncovered -- and it turns out that I'm right. According to today's Guardian:

The Monitor said an initial investigation of the documents it received from a man who identified himself as General Salah Abdel Rasool seemed to confirm their authenticity.

But subsequent ink tests showed that the two documents carrying the oldest dates - 1992 and 1993 - "were actually written within the past few months".

The Monitor said the "newest document - dated 2003 - appears to have been written at approximately the same time."

(Note: the Telegraph had a different bunch of documents linking Galloway to the Ba'ath party -- but I am inclined to question the veracity of any documents alleging an illegal financial arrangement between Galloway and the Ba'ath regime at this point. We've got clear evidence that one of the two sets of documents was forged -- and the other seems to relate to funding of the Mariam Appeal (according to The Telegraph, although they go out of their way to obfuscate the issue) rather than Galloway himself.)

Now. One wonders who might have planted forged documents incriminating a western critic of the invasion? (Who, it should be noted, has been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party and is facing an investigation because of these allegations.) My money is on the CIA or another US intelligence agency -- staffed by people who wouldn't be close enough to UK politics to realise that MPs are on a salary of around US $70,000 a year, that members external interests are subject to public scrutiny, and that accepting even an envelope stuffed with twenty pound notes, much less cheques for $3 million, is ever so slightly difficult.

The rather shady General Salah Abdel Rasool seems to have made some money by passing over the documents, but not very much (an $800 payment for "translation services" to a neighbour). Especially when the overheads of preparing at least three boxes of forged files are taken into account. If I was of a paranoid disposition I'd say someone in military intelligence cut a deal with the General -- to inject these documents into circulation in the west via the press, in return for payment.

It will be interesting to see which of the warbloggers who gloated over these allegations eat their words. Or even mention the CSM's retraction.

[ Link (Guardian) ][ Link (Christian Science Monitor) ]

posted at: 13:09 | path: /wartime | permanent link to this entry


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