George Galloway's name 'appears' in the list
George Galloway's name 'appears' in the list
by Simon Assaf and Charlie Kimber, assisted by Ann Ashford
The central document used against George Galloway this week by the senate committee in Washington is a forgery. Investigation by Socialist Worker shows that evidence crucial to the alleged case against the Respect MP is a fake, created after the fall of Baghdad in 2003.
The entire assault is another desperate attempt to smear the opponents of the war on Iraq and to make them appear as the corrupt hirelings of tyranny.
In Britain the material is another dirty weapon to be employed in an effort to destroy George Galloway and break the rise of Respect.
Most of the accusations hurled against George Galloway by Norm Coleman's senate committee on investigations this week were based on testimony which was supposedly freely given by former Saddam Hussein regime officials who are now held by US forces.
In many cases they are not even named.
But there is one piece of evidence that at first glance seems persuasive. It is in the findings of the Duelfer Report - the conclusions of the Iraq Survey Group headed by Charles Duelfer which last year admitted Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.
The senate committee's document says, "According to the evidence in the Duelfer Report, the Hussein regime granted Galloway six oil allocations totalling 20 million barrels of oil".
In the section of the Duelfer Report on "Regime finance and procurement", there is an annex (Annex B) of "Known oil voucher recipients".
According to Duelfer, "This annex contains the 13 secret lists maintained by Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan al-Jizrawi and the Minister for Oil, Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi. A high-level Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) official provided the Iraq Survey Group with both English and Arabic versions of these lists on 16 June 2004. The lists reproduced here are the original SOMO translations in English."
The list has hundreds of names of individuals and corporations many of which, according to Duelfer, acted legally in dealing in Iraqi oil under the UN Oil for Food programme.
The first mention of George Galloway is contract M/09/23. This alleges that 1.014 million barrels of oil were allocated to "Mr Fawwaz Zurayqat - Mr George Galloway -Aredio Petroleum (French)".
Look closely at the entry
The typeface (font) used for "Mr George Galloway" is different to the rest of the line. Indeed the only time the font is used in the entire document is for George Galloway entries.
"Mr George Galloway" does not line up with the rest of the words in the entry, it is at an angle to the other words.
The spacings between "Mr George Galloway" and the rest of the words are inconsistent.
The dash after the words "Mr George Galloway" touches the following word.
The words "Mr George Galloway" are at a different density (lighter) than the rest of the line.
The most likely explanation is that the words "Mr George Galloway" have been imported after the list was prepared, perhaps stuck on and then photocopied to produce the list in the Duelfer Report.
Elsewhere the Duelfer Report revisits this same contract note and, citing an internal Iraqi document, says the allocation was to "Fawaz Zuraiqat - Mariam's Appeal".
Was this the original name which was then changed to smear George Galloway?
The documents used by the Senate committee allegedly come from the Iraqi oil ministry, seized by the US military immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
At the time it was run by a group of Iraqi exiles, including Fadhil Chalabi - a cousin of Ahmed Chalabi, the fraudster whose fake intelligence was used by Bush and Blair in the run-up to the war.
After some names who had allegedly profited from oil trading under Saddam Hussein were published by the Iraqi Al-Mada newspaper in January 2004, two Iraq-based investigations began looking into the matter.
One was set up by Paul Bremer, then proconsul of Iraq, along with Ihsan Karim, the head of Iraq's Board of Supreme Audit, aided by Ernst & Young, an auditing firm.
The other was conducted by Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a close associate of Ahmed Chalabi, directed by Chalabi himself, and aided by the British firm KPMG.
Bremer and Chalabi clashed, with each side trying to say it was the real investigation.
The most stunning allegations - of international figures implicated in the scandal - all came from Chalabi's office, though no one else was allowed to verify his documents.
In a May 2004 raid on Chalabi's offices, Bremer reportedly seized files related to the Oil for Food programme.
Meanwhile, Ihsan Karim signed an agreement in June to turn over his board's findings to an independent investigative team led by former US Reserve Bank chairman Paul Volcker. In July 2004, however, Karim was killed by a car bomb.
The investigation led by Paul Volcker has made use of Chalabi's lists to make its allegations, and it is these names which were included in the Duelfer Report.
Even Volcker's team said it had not been able to verify independently the names on the list. "We name those individuals and entities here in the interest of candour, clarity and thoroughness," the Duelfer report said, adding that it did not "investigate or judge those non-Iraqi individuals."
The accusations against George Galloway are esentially a reheated version of the lies produced by the Daily Telegraph in April 2003.
These resulted in £150,000 libel damages and £1.2 million in costs.
The following should be read alongside this article:
» A forger gives his account
» The Mariam Appeal
» Who is Norm Coleman?
» Evidence from the torture chambers
» George Galloway's view
» A history of smears and lies
» Sanctions and the oil for food programme
Simon Assaf and Charlie Kimber, assisted by Ann Ashford