Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Written Evidence


32.  Report by Mr Oliver Thorne on the Daily Telegraph documents, 19 January 2007

Forensic Document Examination Report of

Report of  Oliver Thomas Scott THORNE BSc RFP

Age     Over 18

Occupation   Forensic Document Examiner

Address    LGC Forensics

Queens Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LY

This report, consisting of 19 pages each signed by me, is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Dated the 19th of January 2007

Qualifications and Experience

1.  I, Oliver Thomas Scott THORNE, am a Forensic Scientist in the Questioned Documents Group at LGC Forensics. I hold the degree of Bachelor of Science. I am registered with the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners as an expert in the field of questioned documents. I specialise in the scientific examination of questioned documents including the comparison and identification of handwriting and office printing, along with other miscellaneous examinations. I have been employed on these duties for thirteen years since 1989, and since that time I have examined many documents and associated items in both criminal and civil matters, and have given evidence in various courts on these matters on many occasions.

Laboratory Reference:       QD/2OO3/236

Parliamentary Commissioner Reference:   George Galloway Inquiry

Information/Circumstances of Case

2.  On 12/6/03 I attended the Telegraph Newspaper's premises in Canary Wharf in order to make a preliminary examination of the files 1c-12 listed in paragraph 6 below. At this time the cord of the Core Folder had not been cut and the documents had not been numbered. I wrote a preliminary report dated 20/6/03 which suggested possible further examinations.

3.  This report is further to that previous report.

4.  My current instructions are from Sir Philip Mawer, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards at the House of Commons in relation to an inquiry regarding George Galloway MP.

5.  My findings are entirely independent.

Items Received

6.  On 23/11/06 at 10.40am I received the following items directly from Sir Philip Mawer at his offices:

Submitted for examination:
ItemDescription Tamper evident bag number
1aOriginal handwritten translation documents LA029108
1bCut cord in bag dated 18.8.03 labelled HF00403 and signature sealed LA029102
1cBlue Iraqi Folder 'The Core Folder' LA029113
2Blue Iraqi Folder 'Britain A' LA029114
3Blue Iraqi Folder 'France A' LA029109
4Blue Iraqi Folder 'Britain B' LA029112
5Blue Iraqi Folder 'Britain C' LA029111
6Blue Iraqi Folder 'Britain D' LA029110
7Blue Iraqi Folder 'France B' LA029104
8Blue Iraqi Folder 'France C' LA029105
9Blue Iraqi Folder 'France D' LA029106
10Blue Iraqi Folder 'France E' LA029107
11'Black lever arch file dated 2001 "April May June" and its contents referred to collectively as "The Lever Arch File"' Sealed in brown paper and clear tape
12'Iraqi orange box file in collapsed state' In a sealed envelope with a slightly torn edge

The numbering system above is used to coincide with the order in the Schedule of Iraqi Folders provided with the items by the Telegraph.

7.  Each folder contains a number of documents the vast majority of which are in Arabic. I am unable to read Arabic. However, I have had the aid of a translator who has translated a number of the documents.

8.  I have not counted all the documents in all the files received. However, I estimate that there are more than 2500 present.

9.  The documents in the Core Folder 1c had already been numbered consecutively using small yellow adhesive tags bearing the reference number HF00403 and a consecutive number when I received them. I understand that this numbering was carried out during a previous forensic examination. The tags go up to 247. However because of the nature of the adhesive on the tags some are loose and a small number have fallen off. In the case of the Core Folder 1c, I am informed that the original white lace which bound the folder was removed during previous forensic analysis in order to facilitate examination. The original lace 1b is present in tamper evident bag LA029102 and I understand that the cutting of the lace was recorded on video. Where this lace was present, a single, long green ribbon is now inserted instead allowing more full access to the documents and facilitating examination of them. I have kept all the documents in the same relative order as I received them. However, some of the loose documents in the folder (which I understand were inserted after the alleged discovery of the folders in order to mark certain documents) appear to be out of position with regard to the numbering system. Also there is no document 79 present in the folder as received by me. I have been informed that this document is a loose note which was inserted after the alleged discovery of the documents. The Core Folder includes a small number of documents which were published by the Daily Telegraph in April 2003 and are said to concern information relating to George Galloway MP. I will refer to these (together with other documents photographed but not necessarily published by the Telegraph) as the Telegraph Documents. The Telegraph documents are as follows:
FolderConsecutive number (yellow tag) Date published in TelegraphEnglish (E) or Arabic (A) Description
1c722/4/03 APhotocopy letter dated 5/2/00 from Tariq Aziz reference number M.Kh/1/9/197 re 'Programme of Work'
1c16N/A EFax letter to Dr M Amin dated 24/2/200 from Hugh Dawson (PP Lord Waverley)

REFERENCE

1c43N/A EFax letter to Dr Mudhafar A Amin dated 6/3/00 from Edward Heath

REFERENCE

1c7323/4/03 APhotocopy letter dated 2/5/00 no. 19/4/99/2394/K
1c74-7822/4/03 APhotocopy five page Iraqi Intelligence Service (IRIS) memo dated 3/1/00 no. 140/4/5/5

Subject the Mariam Campaign

1c8222/4/03 EPhotocopy letter from George Galloway MP, Chairman Mariam Appeal, Organizer Emergency Committee in Iraq To Whom it May Concern (undated)

REFERENCE

1c83N/A APhotocopy letter dated 9/5/00
1c84-8522/4/03 ATwo page photocopy letter dated 6/5/00 reference Kh/30/100
2N/AN/A EFax/copy of a letter dated 1/8/00 to Dr M Amin from the Reverend Canon Andrew White

REFERENCE

10.  I have been informed that the documents la are the original translations of some of the Telegraph Documents which were made at or shortly after the time of alleged discovery of the documents in Iraq.

Purpose of Examination

11.  I have been asked to give an opinion as to whether or not:

a)  The Telegraph Documents are authentic

b)  The Telegraph Documents were found in more than one group or whether they were found together. In particular it is alleged that the documents published in the Daily Telegraph on 23 and/or 24/4/03 were from a different source to those published on 22/4/03.

12.  I have no confirmed genuine Iraqi documents, logos or headers to compare in order to give an opinion as to 11a) above. However, I have given consideration to the following possible sequential scenarios in order to come to some opinions regarding these matters:

Possible Scenarios for the Documents as a Whole

a)  The vast majority of all the documents in all the files are produced in a contemporaneous manner and are authentic

b)  All the submitted documents are created contemporaneously but are not authentic. (An example of this would be through the creation of a 'shadow office' which acts as a fully functioning office but produces false material)

c)  All the documents are forgeries created at a later date

If b) or c) is the case then the Telegraph Documents are not authentic. If a) is the case then I have also considered the following further scenarios:

Possible Scenarios for the Disputed Telegraph Documents

d)  Whilst the vast majority of the submitted documents are authentic one or more of the Telegraph Documents are forgeries inserted amongst otherwise authentic documents or are authentic documents which have been altered

e)  Each of the Telegraph Documents is also authentic

13.  It should be noted that I am unable to give any opinion as to the veracity or otherwise of the information in the documents, whether or not they are authentic. This is because an "authentic document" may contain unintentionally erroneous information, or intentionally false or misleading information for a variety of reasons. These factors need to be considered elsewhere.

14.  I have examined the documents overall and have compared the Telegraph Documents with the surrounding documents. I have paid particular attention to the Telegraph Documents themselves and also to other documents which appear to be of a similar date and style to the Telegraph Documents. Because of the large number of documents I have been unable to examine every submitted document in detail.

15.  Because the documents are mainly in Arabic they are hole punched on the right hand side of the page. The documents in 1c-10 are in similar blue bound folders bearing Iraqi symbols on the covers together with an indication of the dates and contents. A number of the folders contain handwritten index pages. Where the documents are bound, they have been tied into the folders using similar white shoe-lace type ties. In the case of the Core Folder this lace was removed during previous forensic analysis as described above. One of the folders, item 11, is different to the others being a black lever arch type file. This folder contains predominantly photocopy documents dated in 2001. The mechanism of this folder is faulty.

Technical Issues

16.  When a document is photocopied extraneous marks can be created due to imperfections on the glass platen and/or in the mechanism of the photocopier. Such marks may be virtually invisible to the naked eye. Such marks will vary over time, for example additional damage to the platen may add more marks and the cleaning of the platen may remove marks. A progression in marks over time (where some marks remain from copy to copy and others appear or disappear) is expected when examining photocopy documents made over a period of time. Furthermore, similarities in such trash marks may allow an opinion as to whether or not two or more photocopy documents were created via the same particular machine.

17.  Indented impressions of writing may be caused if original writing is made on one document whilst resting either directly or indirectly on another. Such impressions can be visualised using oblique lighting or by using the sensitive ESDA (Electrostatic Detection Apparatus) test. The latter produces a transparent 'lift' from the document where indented impressions are usually seen as a dark trace and existing 'live' writing is usually seen as a light trace. If indented impressions can be matched to their source then this is conclusive evidence that the source writing was made whilst resting on the document under examination.

Examination and Results

18.  I have been informed that the four documents in English within the Telegraph Documents are known to be of genuine provenance. That is, where a photocopy or fax of an English document is included in the Telegraph Documents it has been verified that the original of these documents was actually authored by the person it claims to be from. This includes a letter numbered 82 from George Galloway MP on House of Commons headed paper commencing 'To Whom it May Concern'. This letter within the Telegraph Documents is in photocopy form but I understand that it is accepted that it corresponds to a genuine original letter. Therefore, I have taken these letters in English to be reference documents for the purpose of my further examinations. These letters are listed in the table in paragraph 8.

Authenticity of the Vast Majority of the Documents

19.  I find that the overall appearance and nature of the documents is what I would expect to find in documents put together in an office(s) type environment. There are a wide variety of paper types, a mixture of original, photocopy and fax documents, a variety of handwritten annotations and signatures. Many of the documents are printed (using laser, ink jet printers etc.) but a number are handwritten. There are a number of original English and European documents present as well as other copy/fax English and European documents including those mentioned as reference documents. The vast majority of the documents are in date order although with some documents further copies of the same documents are found elsewhere within files. Some examples of originals and copies of the same documents are found as well as examples of duplicate print outs of the same letter, some originally signed, some unsigned and others stamped with signature hand-stamps. Many documents have been stamped with one or more original ink hand-stamps. There are a number of different types and sizes of headed paper including some documents with printed gilt borders. Some of the photocopy documents have other Arabic photocopies on the reverse side of the photocopy. A variety of stapling and pinning has been used to attach small batches of documents together. Some documents have post-it notes attached to them bearing Arabic writing.

20.  I have been present while a translator employed by Sir Philip Mawer has translated some of the documents. These were mainly documents within the Core Folder 1c and the Britain A folder 2. Where these have been translated they show the kind of progression I would expect to find in a contemporaneously assembled file containing letters and answers to letters and translations of English letters.

21.  There are a number of apparent mistakes and discrepancies within the documents which, in my opinion, could be the result of normal clerical practices. For example, in some documents the date at the top of the documents does not match the date that the document was signed. Examination of the inks on some of the original documents indicates that the signatures are often in a different ink to the dating and reference numbers written at the top and it would appear that on many occasions these administrative details are filled out by a different person to the person signing the letter. There may therefore be a legitimate discrepancy between these dates. Also the Gregorian Calendar (Western) date on a number of documents does not appear to exactly correspond to the Hijri Calendar (Islamic) date.

22.  The following English language documents are included within the files. It is expected that these should be verifiable if they have not already been (N.B. these are just some examples and do not represent all the English language documents present):

1c Core Folder

  • (43) Fax letter to Dr Mudhafar dated 6/3/00 from Edward Heath—Reference Document
  • (16) Fax letter to Dr M Amin dated 24/2/2000 from Hugh Dawson (PP Lord Waverley)—Reference Document
  • (82) Photocopy letter from George Galloway MP to Whom it May Concern (undated)-Reference Document
  • (89), (132) (back), (134) Photocopy/fax of press release 'Mariam Appeal to launch Iraq International Work Brigades', fax dated 7/7/00-multiple copies present
  • (91) Fax of 'The Next Century Foundation' letter dated 17/5/00 to Dr Mudhafar Amin from Dr Burhan Al-Chalabi and Mr William Morris
  • (190) Fax copy of letter to His Excellency Abdul IIIah Khatib, Foreign Minister of Jordan dated 1/9/00 from Robin Cook
  • (204) Original letter dated 6/9/00 to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Baghdad from the Revd Canon Andrew P B White
  • A number of copy/fax news articles

2 Britain A Folder

  • Letter dated 2/2/2000 to The Reverend Canon Andrew White from Abdul Jabbar Abdul Abbass for the Ministry of Health
  • Fax of letter dated 22/2/00 to Dr Omaid Mubarak from Dr Charles Reed of the Church of England Archbishops' Council (two copies)
  • Fax of letter to Dr M Amin from Canon Andrew White mentioning Sir Richard Branson (undated)
  • Fax/copy of a letter dated 1/8/00 to Dr M Amin from The Reverend Canon Andrew White Reference Document

4 Britain B Folder

  • Fax letter to Dr Mudhafer Amin dated 30/11/01 from Lucy Sheppard of the BBC programme 'Breakfast with Frost'
  • Email to aziz@mail.uruklink.net from William (email address available) dated 11/11/01 re: Message from Next Century Foundatio (sic)
  • Articles regarding INDICT
  • Fax letter dated 20/2/01 to Dr Mudhafar Amin ref: MDE14/01.44 from Vincent Del Buono of Amnesty International
  • Original letter dated 21/12/00 to The Minister of Foreign Affairs from George Galloway MP of the Great Britain-Iraq Society (+ photocopy)
  • Special Report: Iraq article dated 8/1/01 by Ewen MacAskill and Richard Norton-Taylor
  • Various other copy newspaper articles

5 Britain C Folder

  • Fax letter to Tariq Aziz dated 4/2/1998 from Tony Benn
  • fax press release dated 24/9/1998 of statements by Robin Cook and Kamal Kharrazi
  • Copy of original Hansard report dated 25/11/1998 Volume 321 (complete) with original embossed card 'George Galloway MP Senior Vice Chairman Parliamentary Labour Party Foreign Affairs Comittee' (Committee mis-spelled) stapled to it.

6 Britain D Folder

  • Fax copy press release 'Britain Hosts Brainstorming Meeting on Humanitarian Aid to Iraq, 20-21 April 1998 quoting foreign officer minister Derek Fatchett and Clare Short

There are also a number of French, European and UN letters present amongst the folders which may also be verifiable if necessary.

23.  I find a number of different features which together are very strongly indicative of documents produced over a period of time consistent with the dates of the documents. Examples of such evidence are:

  • Presence of faxed or copied UK and European news articles whose dates are closely similar to the fax dates and are in the main in the correct position within the file. I have verified the dates of a small selection of the articles independently.
  • The change in early 2000 of hand stamps which include a date space for handwritten dates from 19__ to 200_ (in Arabic) to indicate the year thus demonstrating the manufacture of a new stamp for this purpose.
  • The change of London fax/telephone numbers from 0171 to 020 7 on UK headed paper (especially in the Iraqi Interests Section documents) shortly after the change date of 22 April 2000.
  • Appearance and progression of photocopy 'trash' marks with respect to time.
  • Similarities in headers and similarities in trash marks between documents in different files where documents are of broadly similar dates.
  • The inter-relation of documents (letter and reply).
  • Similarities in nature of stamp impression imperfections where they are of purportedly similar dates.
  • The darkening of thermal faxes over time including imaging of some elements of surrounding documents visible as lighter areas in the darkened fax paper.
  • The offsetting of original ink signatures onto the back of some documents, presumably where documents were signed one on top of another.

24.  Taking the evidence together I consider the possibility that all the submitted documents are forgeries made at a later date, is so small that it can be discounted.

25.   Whilst the theoretical possibility that the documents have been made contemporaneously but are not authentic exists it would, in my opinion, be extremely difficult to carry out in practice. Not only would a 'shadow office' operating in Arabic have to be set up operating over the period of time covered by the documents (approx 1998 to 2001) and producing at least 2500 documents of wide ranging appearance but it would also have to obtain the reference documents and other verifiable documents to the files without arousing any suspicion. Whilst this possibility remains theoretically present I consider it to be extremely unlikely.

26.  Therefore, in my opinion, there is a high probability that the vast majority of the documents are authentic. This does not preclude the possibility that isolated documents are forgeries inserted into the body of authentic documents. This possibility is considered below.

Authenticity of the Telegraph Documents

27.  I therefore now consider the possibility that some, or all, of the disputed Telegraph Documents are forgeries inserted into the files of predominantly authentic documents at a later time.

Nature of the Disputed Documents

28.  The disputed Telegraph Documents in the Core Folder and others associated to them, consist of the following:
Yellow tag numberDescription
7A photocopy letter dated 5/2/2000 number 197 from Tariq Aziz. This shows one original red ink annotation.
73A photocopy letter dated 2/5/2000 reference 19/4/99/2394/K referring to an intelligence memo dated 3/1/2000. This letter bears an original hand stamp and original ink annotations. Whilst it is no longer attached, there is a torn edge which, in my opinion, shows a mechanical fit to a fragment stapled to the documents (74-82) below such that I consider that it was stapled to them at some previous time.
741-78 A photocopy of a five page Iraqi Intelligence Service (IRIS) memo dated 3/1/2000. This document bears no original writing but shows photocopy handwriting, signature and annotations. This document is also stapled to the documents (80-82) listed below.
802Photocopy CV
81Photocopy CV (mentions Next Century Foundation)
82Photocopy George Galloway letter "To Whom it May Concern" (Accepted as genuine in origin)
83A photocopy letter dated 9/5/00 referring to letter (73) above. This letter bears an original hand stamp and original ink annotations. This letter is stapled to the documents 84-85 below and, in my opinion, was also stapled to the documents (86, 87 & 89) with a second staple (not now attached)
84-85Photocopy of a two page letter dated 6/5/00 also referring to letter (73) above
86Arabic translation of 89 (see 83 above)
87Arabic translation of 89 (see 83 above)
893Fax copy press release in English 'Mariam Appeal to launch Iraq International Work Brigades' (verifiable)

1The yellow label has fallen off item 74.

2Item 79 is not present but I understand that it is accepted that this was a piece of loose paper inserted after the alleged finding of the documents by the Daily Telegraph journalist or his translator.

3Item 88 is a loose piece of paper bearing English writing "Ref to GG"… and is presumably inserted by the journalist who allegedly found the documents.

Letter no. 7 From Tariq Aziz

29.  This letter is in photocopy format. The paper is A4 in size. I find that the header of item 7 is closely similar to the header of other documents of a similar date elsewhere within the files. This includes detailed similarities such as an apparent cropping of the top of the writing above the crest. I also find similarities in photocopy trash marks to marks on other documents within the files and further find that these trash marks go on to show a progression over time. In my opinion this indicates that item 7 has been produced via the same photocopier as other items within the files and using closely similar headed paper.

30.  I note that photocopy toner from the front of document 7 has offset onto the back of document 6.

31.  I note that the letter is dated 5/2/00 at the top of the letter but is dated _/2/00 (i.e. no day) beneath the signature. I also understand that the Islamic style date is not consistent with the Western style date. The Islamic date appears to have been incorrectly put as the 1st of the next month whilst the printed proforma remains at the previous month. Such a mistake can easily be made towards the end of a month in either date style and, in my opinion, this is no more indicative of a forgery than a genuine mistake.

32.  In my opinion, the signature on this document, whilst being in photocopy format has the appearance of being derived from a signature 'stamp' rather than an original handwritten signature. There are original examples of such signature stamps elsewhere within the files, for example two pairs of documents dated 20 or 21/4/1998 within the Britain D folder. In the case of one of these there is no day in the date beneath the signature. Also in the case of both these letters there is a second print-out of the same letter with an original signature and a day in the date beneath the letter. In my opinion, this suggests that the signature stamp is used for keeping internal records for example an office copy of a letter sent out or perhaps faxed. The signature stamp on the Tariq Aziz letter 7 is not identical to those on the other two mentioned, but this may be due to the date difference. Taken as whole this letter has every appearance of being a photocopy of an 'office copy' printout of a letter. However, this does not suggest that it is not authentic and indeed the evidence found would, in my opinion, be difficult and apparently unnecessary to replicate in a forgery.

33.  Using ESDA I find one small set of indented impressions of marks. Whilst I am unable to find the source of these impressions I do find that the same impressions are present on document 8 in a similar orientation. Therefore, in my opinion document 7 was resting on document 8 when some unknown writing was made whilst resting on both documents.

34.  There is a handwritten index at the front (Arabic) of the core file and there is reference to document 7 in this index. Whilst the body of the index is in blue ink there are also additional entries in red ink which appear to have been made at a later time(s). Letter 7 is detailed in a red ink entry and is out of position with respect to the surrounding dates of other entries, being after the last entry dated 12/12 (document 246). There is also another red ink entry beneath the document 7 entry which is dated 3/7 referring to letter number 1076. This is the document numbered 123 in the Core Folder. I have considered the possibility that the red ink entry referring to document 7 was made later in order to fraudulently insert a forged document (document 7) into the folder. However, the index also shows some of the other disputed documents (see below paragraphs 39 & 45) entered in blue ink and in the correct position in relation to the surrounding entries. If these latter entries were also forgeries then it would be necessary to re-write the body of the index and if the disputed documents were the only forgeries (as considered in this scenario) then not writing document 7 in the correct position would appear to be a substantial oversight. If so, then the positioning of this index line would suggest that document 123 should also be a forgery but this appears to be unconnected to the Telegraph Documents.

35.   I find that the paper used to write the index in the Core Folder is closely similar to paper used in all but one of the other Britain folders (which has no index) in that the printed pro-forma is closely similar including a number of printing blemishes. In my opinion this paper originates from a common origin.

36.  With the aid of an interpreter I understand that the content of document 7 refers to similar matters as are referred to in another letter which is dated 22/1/00 in the Britain A Folder 2. The punch holes on this letter dated 22/1/00 are torn so that it is not bound into the Folder. Both letter 7 and this letter refer to the Presidential letter No 3562 (this is in a handwritten annotation on the 22/1/00 letter, translated as "Submitted with the Presidential letter No 3562"). The 22/1/00 letter is in original format including an original black ink signature and date at the bottom and blue ink date and reference numbers at the top. On the back of this letter I find a black ink offset which, in my opinion, is caused by a similar wet ink signature and date on another letter (e.g. signing a pile of letters). I also find indented impressions of writing on the 22/1/00 letter which in my opinion show impressions of the same date and a similar (though different) reference number near the top left of the letter. This finding is consistent with another letter (possibly the next) being administratively dated and referenced whilst resting on the current letter. There is an index at the (Arabic) front of the Britain A Folder 2 and the document dated 22/1/00, reference numbered 115, is indexed in the correct position amongst the bulk of the entries. These findings are entirely consistent with surrounding documents and, in my opinion would be extremely difficult and unnecessary to replicate in a forgery.

Documents 73-82 in the Core Folder 1c

37.  I find that the documents numbered 73-82 in the Core Folder (number 79 is missing as described above) are photocopies made on larger than A4 sized paper. This paper is approximately 8.5 inches x 13 inches and is a variant of 'foolscap folio' or 'folio' paper although this name covers a variety of sizes. I will refer to this paper size as folio for ease of reference. It is an unusual size to use in photocopiers in the UK However, some of the original documents within the submitted files are of a similar size, especially the paper with original bordered edges so it is possible that this size paper is used in order to be able to copy larger (mainly longer) original documents. I find similarities between trash marks on the photocopies 73-82 such that, in my opinion, all these copy documents were produced via the same photocopier. I also find that the paper used for documents 73-82 is visually similar to other paper sheets within the folders. Furthermore, I find that the copier trash marks seen in documents 73-82 are also found in other copies having dates close to 73, and these others are located in the France A folder 3. I am able to closely match the header of letter 73 (and 83) to other headers amongst the submitted documents. I also find close alignment of the printed text below the signature in these two documents to other similarly dated documents within the submitted documents. I find that the signatures on 73 and 83 are closely similar to a number of other signatures within the folders (though I find none that are superimposable which may be the case if signatures are 'cut and pasted' in order to create a forgery).

38.  I find that the original handstamp impression on both 73 and also 83 is closely similar to other (200_) handstamps throughout the submitted documents. Such a stamp would, in my opinion be difficult to replicate from scratch in a forgery. I find indented impressions of the original handwritten annotations within the handstamp, and also some from elsewhere on these documents, impressed onto the documents beneath them (i.e. directly below them) such that, in my opinion the documents beneath were present when these annotations were made.

39.   I find that the outer document of the stapled set 73-82 is present in the index of the Core Folder 1c in the correct place and in the bulk blue ink.

40.  I am unable to precisely match the header of the five page intelligence memo, items 74-78 to other documents within those submitted. In particular the nature of the Arabic writing to the left of the Iraqi eagle and the size of the Iraqi Intelligence Service symbol differ with respect to other headed paper. However, I find similar headings with some closely similar elements and I find that the border to the document is closely similar to borders elsewhere within the submitted documents including original gilt edged borders. I note that the position of the header element of the pages in this memo varies with respect to the border element suggesting that they are separately printed elements. This variation amongst this set is what I would expect if the document set was copied from 5 original pieces of printed paper rather than a single copied pro-forma. I note that this document set is dated earlier than the surrounding documents, in January 2000, and that the proforma header is formulated for 19__ dates rather than 2000 dates I note that the signature on this document set is similar to, but not a photocopy of, those on other documents elsewhere within the folders. The letter 73 refers specifically to this five page memo. I note that there is a lighter patch of background below the signature on 78, but I am unable to determine whether or not this indicates some masking of a precursor.

41.  The two Arabic CVs, documents 80 and 81, may be verifiable.

42.  The George Galloway letter, document 82, is accepted as being of genuine origin. A photocopy line on this document suggests that the original of this document was A4 sized. It should be emphasised that I find that this document has been photocopied via the same copier as the associated disputed documents 73-81 (excluding 79). The phone numbers on this document suggest that it was produced prior to 22/4/00. I find that items 73-81 were held by one staple but the George Galloway letter 82 has been affixed to these documents by a second, separate staple suggesting that 82 has been affixed later.

43.  Whilst many of the documents within the folders are not folded I note that there are similar horizontal folds within the documents 73-82 (and also 83-85). I find that other documents of a similar nature within the France A Folder 3 also show horizontal fold lines.

Documents 83-85 in the Core Folder 1c

44.  These documents are photocopies also on folio sized paper. However I find that they do not share the same photocopy trash marks as those on documents 73-82.

45.  I find that document 83, the outer document of the stapled set of documents 83-89, (88 is a loose piece of paper bearing English writing) is featured in the Index of the folder in the correct place and in the bulk blue ink writing.

46.  The nature of the letter 83 is closely similar to that of 73 and the header is closely similar to this and other documents elsewhere within the folders. The original handstamp on the document is also similar to that on document 73 and closely similar to others elsewhere within the folders. I again find indented impressions of the annotations within the handstamp on the pages directly beneath this. The signature on this letter is also similar to that on 73 and others throughout the folder (but again not superimposable).

47.  I am unable to find an exact match for the headed paper which has been used to create the photocopy two page document 84-85.

Documents 86, 87 and 89

48.  Documents 86 and 87 appear to be copies of the same Arabic translation of the English document 89. These three documents are on A4 paper and appear to originate from a later time than their position in the file would indicate since copies of 89 appear elsewhere within the folders and appear to have been faxed in July 2000. These three documents are currently stapled together and show evidence of having been stapled to documents 83-85 using a second staple and therefore presumably at a later time. Also whilst all the documents 73-85 (excluding 79 which is not present) are on folio paper which has been folded horizontally, documents 86, 87 and 89 are on A4 paper which does not appear to have been folded.

49.  The nature of the folders and indexes is such that the folders appear to have been compiled at the end of a set period of time rather than documents being filed in a folder directly as they are received. It is therefore possible to have documents which are seemingly out of date attached to one another prior to the compilation of the folder at the end of the set period.

Indented Impressions of Original Handwritten Translations

50.  I have examined the disputed Telegraph Documents in the Core Folder 1c for the possible presence of indented impressions of writing. Using this method I find indented impressions of writing on the Telegraph Documents 73-85. The majority of these impressions are fragmentary in nature. I have compared them to the handwriting within the translations (item 1a) said to have been made in Iraq by the Daily Telegraph translator(s). I find that I am able to match a number of the impressions to the writing within these translations and frequently the impressions relate to the information of the sheet on which they appear. The nature of the impressions is such that, in my opinion, they were made whilst resting on the Telegraph Documents but whilst the paper being written on has been frequently moved so that the impressions are fragmentary. This pattern is entirely consistent with the ongoing translation of documents within a file. Furthermore there are examples where the same impressions can be seen through more than one document. In particular translation writing written whilst resting on the front of 73 was made whilst also resting on 74 etc. showing that these were together at the time that the translations were made.

Evidence of Forgery or Alteration

51.  I am unable to find any evidence of forgery such as cut-and-paste marks or unexpected superimposable signatures. If the body of the documents were authentic and just a few documents were forgeries then I would expect that the authentic documents would be used as models in order to create proforma headers, signature etc. My findings do not show such a pattern.

52.  I also find no evidence of suspicious alterations to the disputed documents.

Evidence of the Disputed Documents Being Found at Different Times/Locations

53.  In my opinion there is no evidence to suggest that any of the disputed Telegraph Documents were found at a different time/location to the others. In particular the letter numbered 73 in the Core Folder (dated 2/5/00) which was published in the Telegraph on 23/4/03 was in my opinion stapled to the other disputed documents 74-82 and indented impressions from Arabic writing on this letter is present on documents beneath it. Furthermore indented impressions of the same writing from the original translations 1a are indented through both document 73 and 74. Similarly the letter numbered 84-85 which was translated in the Telegraph on 24/4/03 is stapled to the letter numbered 83 and bears indented impressions from this letter. Letter 84-85 also bears indented impressions of the original translations within 1a. In the case of both 73 and 84-85 I consider that the only way that these could have been found at a different time/location to the documents they are currently associated with is if they were removed from those documents and taken to another location. Prior to their translation by the Telegraph translator they would then have to be re-inserted into their current position in the Core Folder 1c. Such action does not appear to serve any useful purpose.

54.  Taking the evidence together I consider that it is extremely unlikely that any of the disputed Telegraph documents are forgeries inserted into otherwise authentic documents. In my opinion the features of the documents would be extremely difficult and, in many cases seemingly unnecessary to forge. Therefore, in my opinion there is a high probability that all the disputed Telegraph Documents are authentic.

Conclusions

Authenticity of the Vast Majority of the Documents

55.  In my opinion the evidence found fully supports that the vast majority of the submitted documents are authentic. In my opinion the submitted documents are not all forgeries created at a later time. Whilst I cannot totally exclude the theoretical possibility that all the submitted documents were created during the time that they state but by a non-authentic source such as a 'shadow office', I consider that this is extremely unlikely.

Authenticity of the Disputed Telegraph Documents

56.  Given that the vast majority of the submitted documents are authentic then, in my opinion, there is a high probability that all the disputed Telegraph documents are also authentic. I find no evidence that any are forgeries or altered and I consider this possibility to be extremely unlikely.

57.  It should be noted that I am unable to comment on the veracity of the information within the disputed Telegraph documents, whether or not they are authentic.

58.  I find no evidence to suggest that any of the disputed Telegraph documents were found at a different time/place to the others.

59.  I have carried out this work and have prepared this statement in accordance with the Code of Good Practice issued by the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners.

60.  A full record of the work done in this case is available for inspection at the Laboratory.

19 January 2007


 
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