Skip to comments.UK TIMES: Rogue regime (MORE ON GALLOWAY SCANDAL)
Posted on 04/22/2003 2:54:02 PM PDT by MadIvan
Galloway needs to reveal more about his links with Iraq
George Galloway has never been a man whose judgment it would be wise to trust. A self-confessed nostalgic for Soviet communism, his most notorious words and actions have been those that furthered the interests of Saddam Husseins regime. Having saluted the tyrants courage, strength and indefatigability in 1994, Mr Galloway was energetic in campaigning for the lifting of the sanctions that contained Saddam and ferocious in his opposition to the military action taken against the regime. During the war to liberate Iraq, Mr Galloway denounced the coalition as wolves, called on Arab leaders to stand by Iraq and declared that the only people fighting legally are the Iraqis who are defending their country.
On the basis of the words he himself has been foolish enough to utter, Mr Galloway is a tainted man. But the allegations concerning Mr Galloway that emerged yesterday raise far more serious questions. If the claims made by The Daily Telegraph are true, and Mr Galloway received money for his services from the Iraqi regime, through the abuse of the Oil-for-Food programme, then he is guilty of more than just a lapse of judgment and moral sense. Mr Galloway would stand accused of stealing from the mouths of the Iraqi people he affected to support and accepting blood-stained money to sustain a life of luxury.
Mr Galloway has been characteristically vigorous in his own defence, alleging that the documents that appear to damn him are either forgeries or doctored papers, contrived to smear and silence an outspoken dissident. There will be many, not necessarily automatic supporters of Mr Galloway, who will reflect on the utility of these documents to his enemies. The timely unearthing of this cache of papers, secure in a lined box helpfully marked Britain in the midst of a looted and missile-damaged building, is certainly a boon to Mr Galloways critics.
The Glasgow Kelvin MP has promised to sue his accusers for defamation. In the libel courts there is a burden on the defendant to prove the truth of his claims. But in the wider court of public opinion there is also a burden on Mr Galloway to reveal more about his links with Iraq.
As our reporter Dominic Kennedy reveals, Mr Galloway has long had questions to answer about the funding of his activities. In 1998 he set up a campaign group, the Mariam Appeal, to raise funds for medical aid to Iraqi children. But since its foundation the appeal, which is not a registered charity, has paid for a series of trips undertaken by Mr Galloway. He maintains the appeal has been primarily supported by impeccable sources, yet he has so far failed to lay bare the workings of an organisation that funds his lavish itinerary.
There are also wider questions that the allegations against Mr Galloway raise about the operation of the UNs Oil-for-Food programme. The sanctions imposed on Iraq after the first Gulf War were poorly policed by the UN, wide open to corruption and increasingly undermined by the activities of countries such as Russia. They were never a satisfactory means of containing Saddam, and their efficacy was undermined from within the UN by both Russia and France.
Their failure is a lesson to all who trust in the UN as sole guarantor of Iraqs future. It is also the case that the shady nature of many of the oil dealings that took place under this programme only makes the definitive establishment of a money trail from Baghdad to Glasgow Kelvin more difficult. That is why it is in Mr Galloways own interests to deliver a detailed, and comprehensive, account of his finances, movements and activities in connection with Iraq over the past decade. If he has acted from principle, albeit in a terribly foolish cause, then he has nothing to fear from disclosure.
I think the Telegraph has their ducks in a row, or they would not have printed the allegations.
This should be interesting .
His seat is due to be abolished anyway in the next election, due to a reduction in the number of Scottish MPs - it wasn't looking likely he would be able to hold on when others more loyal to Blair are in position.
So we know that an MP makes 55K pounds a year.
We also know that Galloway owns some nice real estate in Glasgow, London and Portugal.
We know that his wife is a professor, but I don't know how much they're paid in the UK. Probably about the same amount.
We know that he worked as a union thug before he was elected.
"A forger would have to make the documents, photocopy them, annotate them, stick them in the middle of a box file in a small store room in the centre of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, on the off chance that a British journalist would find it."
All to take down one relatively obscure Labour MP. I don't think so.