Socialist Worker

Telegraph transmits more lies

Issue No. 1849

THE DAILY Telegraph is continuing to print allegations based on documents found in Iraq. Last week the Telegraph's accusations sparked the witch-hunt against George Galloway. The latest allegations are so outlandish that even the secret services have cast doubt on them.

Journalist Philip Smucker, writing in the US magazine the Christian Science Monitor, claims he saw documents in Baghdad showing the Iraqi regime handed George Galloway £6 million. Smucker also works for the Telegraph. He says he found evidence of a link between the Iraqi regime and an African group with alleged Al Qaida links. MI6 disputes US efforts to link Saddam Hussein to Al Qaida. Telegraph journalist David Blair found the documents in Baghdad that became the basis of allegations against Galloway.

The Telegraph journalists both use the initials IRIS to refer to the Iraqi intelligence service. Every other English journalist uses the initials IIS. Experts in Arabic and the Iraqi regime were surprised to find the initials IRIS and the name of the secret service IN ENGLISH in the document David Blair produced.

There are also inconsistent dates on the document. It was supposedly from January 2000 but refers to Dr Amina Abu Zaid as George Galloway's wife - they didn't marry until two months later. This is not the first time the Telegraph group has come up with 'scoops' which back up US hawks.

The CIA sees the Islamist government in Sudan as an enemy.

In 1995 the Telegraph made claims about the extent of slavery in Sudan. Director of the African Rights organisation Alex de Waal said the claims 'played upon lazy assumptions to raise public outrage'.

  • In August 1998 the Telegraph claimed the Iraqi air force had been flown to Sudan to avoid destruction in the Gulf. That month the US bombed the Al Shifa medicine factory in Sudan. The Telegraph repeated the lie that the plant was used to make chemical weapons.

  • In 1999 David Blair wrote in the Sunday Telegraph about Osama Bin Laden 'buying child slaves from Ugandan rebels and using them as forced labour on marijuana fields in Sudan'.

    By summer 2000 the Sunday Telegraph claimed 700,000 Chinese troops had suddenly popped up in Sudan.

    Sunday Telegraph correspondent Christina Lamb wrote that Saddam 'sent specially trained belly-dancing assassins, including one by the stage name of Maleen, to London to kill Iraqi dissidents'. The paper later apologised to Maleen, admitting, 'She is not linked to the regime...and has never been trained as a terrorist or assassin.'

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    Article information

    Sat 3 May 2003, 00:00 BST
    Issue No. 1849
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