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Psst Want to know a secret about Saddam Hussein Well whatever you do dont take too much notice of Tony Blairs dossier As someone who has spent far too many years examining the life and crimes of Saddam I must confess to having been rather intrigued by the latest effort by Downing Street to convince a sceptical British public that Iraqs weapons of mass destruction posed a threat to world peace that could not be ignored The document begins with a perfectly reasonable assessment of how Iraq has been deliberately misleading the United Nations weapons inspectors in their hunt for Saddams illicit arsenals and ends with a sober assessment of the toll the Iraqi dictators 30-year-old regime of terror has taken on ordinary Iraqis What I and no doubt many others who are familiar with the structure of Saddams regime found confusing was the middle section of the document which outlines the quasi-Stalinist security structure that maintains the Iraqi dictator in power This material which it now transpires was plagiarised from a PhD paper written by a Californian student called Ibrahim al-Marashi is more Adrian Mole than James Bond a rather confusing and distinctly fifth-form attempt at unravelling Saddams power structures Rather than requiring a PhD to construct such a document one needs a PhD in diagrammatic display simply to understand it Certainly if one of the primary functions of the intelligence service is to confuse the enemy then this dossier has worked wonderfully One can only imagine its impact on Saddam one minute it is hailed by Colin Powell the US Secretary of State as a significant contribution towards making the case for war against Iraq the next Alastair Campbell the Prime Ministers communications director is admitting that 11 of the documents 19 pages contain nothing more than historical padding So if Mr al-Marashis unacknowledged contribution is of such little significance why put it in at all The answer
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