On April 25, 2003, this newspaper ran a story about documents obtained in Iraq that alleged Saddam Hussein’s regime had paid a British member of Parliament, George Galloway, $10 million over 11 years to promote its interests in the West.
An extensive Monitor investigation has subsequently determined that the six papers detailed in the April 25 piece are, in fact, almost certainly forgeries.
The CSMonitor is usually a pretty good paper I hear, and their decision to print this retraction on their front page is a nice sign. But it’s worth noting that it took 2 weeks — not until the UK’s Daily Mail retracted their story, citing that they had determined their documents were forged — before the Monitor thought to check out the letters’ credibility.
And check this out for gullibility:
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 dollars, 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.’