Friday, April 27, 2007
However, there was something in "Buying the War" that I hadn't heard before, that then Secretary of State, Collin Powell, in his now infamous speech to the United Nations, in February 2003, used fabricated intelligence plagiarized from the internet, from a University of California student dissertation, written 15 years earlier, about the IRAQ pre-first Gulf War.
Below is an excerpt - see original.
The media spin after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's UN speech on February 5, 2003, was about as dynamic as a Fox News debate. Cheerleading talking heads immediately took to the airwaves to discern whether or not Powell succeeded in building a consensus for war. Did he pull it off?
Missing from the whole "was Powell convincing?" choir was any question regarding whether Powell was telling the truth. Yes, I thought Powell was convincing, but historian Howard Zinn's voice suddenly popped into my head, arguing as a key rule that journalists "never trust government officials--from any government."
One embarrassing revelation about Powell's speech was that a key part of his evidence against Iraq was cut and pasted from a California graduate student's outdated academic paper, ripped directly from the Internet. In academia, we call this plagiarism. Stealing something straight off of a website, an act easily detected by feeding a string of words into a Google search, is plagiarism in its cheesiest form. Students who do it fail classes--this is nonnegotiable. In Powell's case, he isn't the plagiarizer. He properly cited a British intelligence service report--four pages of which were ripped off without citation, complete with spelling and grammatical errors--from a paper that appeared in October 2002 in an obscure academic journal.
The Brits, for their part, changed a few words here and there, inflated numbers, and added the term terrorist to make the Iraqis appear more ominous than the student-author intended. The student told the British newspaper, the Mirror, that the misuse of his doctored work represented "wholesale deception." Ominous or not, however, 97 percent of the citations in his paper were three to fifteen years old, rendering the whole package useless in a speech challenging Iraq's compliance to the UN inspection regimen. The U.S. Secretary of State--with this trash in his hand--addressed the United Nations Security Council, calling for the commencement of a war that might never end. For the U.S. media, the only question worth asking was whether Powell's sham was convincing.
For those who are appaled that the Bush Administration would lie to the world see:
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