Thursday, July 19, 2007

Standards and Privileges Committee Bans George Galloway!

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The [British House of] Commons standards and privileges committee, in recommending the 18-day ban, said Mr Galloway had been "complicit" in the concealment of the true source of funds for the Mariam Appeal. Telegraph July 18, 2007

Writing in The Telegraph (July 19, 2007), the British journalist David Blair describes how he took some files from Saddam's foreign ministry that included "a memorandum dated Jan 3, 2000, purporting to show that George Galloway's campaign against Western sanctions had received funds from Saddam's regime."

These documents have now been studied and authenticated by a Parliamentary Standards Committee which has issued a 181-page report.

David Blair writes:

[O]n April 19, I went to the foreign ministry in central Baghdad. This labyrinthine tower block had been looted and some rooms were blackened by fire. But, unsurprisingly, the looters had no interest in paperwork. My Iraqi translator and I found thousands of documents bound in pale blue folders in a small room on the first floor.

My translator noticed that each of the brown boxes in which the folders were held carried an Arabic label marked with the name of a country. I asked him to look for any labelled "Britain". We found two and one marked "Britain and France".

On the following day, after going through many pages of tedious documents, during which I came within an ace of calling a halt - we came across a memorandum dated Jan 3, 2000, purporting to show that George Galloway's campaign against Western sanctions had received funds from Saddam's regime. Other documents in the same file referred to this one and filled in more details.

Around these relatively simple events, Mr Galloway later managed to create a smokescreen of innuendo. He claimed that I "stumbled" on the documents "in a burning, destroyed, looted building", as if I had entered a towering inferno in Baghdad.

Anyone listening to him during his successful libel action against The Daily Telegraph would never have guessed that I was not challenged in court over how I found the documents.

So I am glad that, having weighed up Mr Galloway's theories and my own account of how I came upon them, the Parliamentary Standards Committee has "no doubt" about believing me.

Sir Philip Mawer, the parliamentary standards commissioner, and the committee of MPs to which he reports, have both concluded that the documents I found were genuine.

Mr Galloway had repeatedly described them as "fakes" or "fabricated" and insinuated that they had been forged - although as far as I know, he never actually employed that word. It was enough for him to spread his usual brand of sophistry and innuendo.

Sir Philip endorsed the authenticity of the documents after they were examined by two forensic experts, each working independently of the other. He concluded: "Mr Galloway's explanation of his position has been characterised by repeated denial of facts, in some cases only conceded when they cannot be denied any longer." [Full text]

According to The Telegraph (July 18, 2007), Galloway may face a criminal inquiry:

Scotland yard is to take the first steps toward a possible criminal investigation against George Galloway, who faces an 18-day suspension from the Commons over his financial links to Saddam Hussein's regime, The Daily Telegraph can disclose today.

Detectives are to seek documents from the Serious Fraud Office, which carried out a previous investigation, to establish whether there are grounds to prosecute Mr Galloway.

The police may seek his bank accounts after a report by Sir Philip Mawer, the Parliamentary Standards Commisioner, concluded yesterday that Mr Galloway's Mariam Appeal charity received large sums from Saddam's manipulation of the United Nations oil-for-food programme.

Sir Philip said: "Mr Galloway has consistently denied, prevaricated and fudged in relation to the now undeniable evidence that the Mariam Appeal, and he indirectly through it, received money derived, via the Oil for Food programme, from the Iraqi regime."

He added: "Mr Galloway through his controlling position in the appeal, benefited from those monies, in terms of furtherance of his political objectives."
He went on: "He [Mr Galloway] had received such support at least recklessly or negligently, and probably knowingly"....


The 181-page report said that the Respect MP had "consistently failed to live up to the expectation of openness and straightforwardness".

The Commons standards and privileges committee, in recommending the 18-day ban, said Mr Galloway had been "complicit" in the concealment of the true source of funds for the Mariam Appeal. MPs will vote on the ban which will begin when Parliament resumes after the summer recess.

Mr Galloway called the inquiry a "politicised tribunal".

Speaking outside the Commons, he said: "I challenged everything that Sir Humphrey and Sir Bufton and Sir Tufton put to me because the points they were putting to me were false. I will not allow people to make false allegations against me.

"I am not a punchbag. If you aim low blows at me I will fight back. That's what I've done and that's what I've been suspended for. I was campaigning against sanctions and war on Iraq.

"If these people behind me had listened to me, hundreds of thousands of people now dead would still be alive and Britain would not be in peril, here at home and around the world. They should be striking a medal for me for my work on Iraq, not suspending me."

The investigation was triggered by The Daily Telegraph in April 2003 when David Blair, a foreign correspondent, discovered documents purporting to be about Mr Galloway in the Iraqi foreign ministry in Baghdad shortly after Saddam's overthrow. The papers claimed to show that he received funds from Saddam's regime for the Mariam Appeal. [Full text]

Galloway claims that he should get a medal for opposing the sanctions on Iraq and the subsequent war. On the other hand, perhaps if we had never toppled Saddam, the people of the world would be increasingly manipulated and ruled by traitorous mouthpieces in government service who take their orders from weapons of mass destruction instead of from the voters.

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