Galloway papers deemed forgeries
Iraq experts, ink-aging tests discredit documents behind earlier Monitor story.
(Page 3 of 3)
With growing doubts about the authenticity of the Galloway documents, Monitor editors decided to have the age of the ink analyzed, as well as to revisit the source of the documents in Baghdad.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Determining the age of a document by dating its ink is far from an exact science. Only a handful of US private labs do such work. Ink analysis generally isn't admissible in court.
On the recommendation of several forensic experts the Monitor turned to Valery Aginsky, an ink chemist with Riley & Welch Associates, Forensic Document Examinations, Inc., in East Lansing, Mich.
Dr. Aginsky first tested ink from the two alleged Galloway documents with the oldest dates - 1992 and 1993. He found that the ink components had not yet finished aging, a process that typically takes no more than two years.
The documents tested simply could not have been prepared when their dates said they were, according to Aginsky.
Aginsky then compared the ink from these older-dated documents with that from a document dated 2003. He determined that they were aging at the same rate - meaning that these papers had most likely been written at approximately the same time and not over a period of a decade, as their written dates claimed.
"It is 90 percent probable that these documents have been prepared recently," he says.
In Baghdad, Monitor reporter Ilene Prusher met with General Rasool, the source of the Monitor's documents. Rasool repeated most of the account he had earlier given Smucker.
In April, the general had told Smucker that his whole family had been killed by the Hussein regime, and that he himself had served time in prison. When the Americans neared Baghdad, and the Baath Party melted away, Rasool said, he and some associates had stormed into a house used by Qusay Hussein.
Rasool said that they were in pursuit of deeds to property stolen from him by Hussein's henchmen. While in the house, they carted off numerous sacks of official-looking paper, according to the general.
As the discussion with Ms. Prusher progressed from there, a number of things became apparent:
• The general was offering other documents alleging malfeasance on the part of a wide array of foreign public figures noted for their support of the Hussein regime. (When Smucker met the general earlier, Rasool denied having documents dealing with any foreign politicians other than Galloway.)
• The papers from Qusay's house also "proved" that six of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers learned to fly in Iraq, according to the general.
• Rasool did not directly ask for money, but he described current negotiations to sell documents to other parties.
After the Mail on Sunday published its May story questioning the veracity of documents from Rasool, and acknowledged paying for its own alleged Galloway papers, the Monitor published a short piece summarizing the Mail story and adding that "the Monitor did not pay for any of the Iraqi documents in its possession, nor was any payment ever discussed."
In fact, it's now clear that statement was technically accurate but incomplete. There was no direct payment to the general. But he let Smucker carry off three boxes of files, including the Galloway papers, only after Smucker paid the general's neighbor $800 to translate the documents during the next two days.
Smucker recalls that it was the general who brought up George Galloway's name first at their initial meeting. After the reporter indicated an interest, the general said he knew where those documents were, and that he could have them for Smucker in 24 hours. Smucker says Rasool told him that one of his neighbors, who left Baghdad to attend a Shiite pilgrimage in Karbala, held the documents.
Upon Smucker's return the next day, the general showed him the Galloway documents as well as the boxes of others on various subjects. After hiring the neighbor, Smucker left with the boxes.
"I had no knowledge that the general received any of the $800, though now that I know the documents are forgeries, I have my suspicions," says Smucker. "At the time I was operating on the premise that these were entirely authentic."
• Staff writers Faye Bowers in Washington and Ilene R. Prusher in Baghdad contributed to this report.