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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Iraq - Galloway Outed In UN Scandal

And the noose tightens. Fox News reports on the mounting evidence agaisnt Galloway. True to form the BBC's report whitewashes the affair and even makes a false claim related to Kofi Annan. More on the BBC report later. It will be interesting to see how the Telegraph report on this.

Senate Subcommittee Report (pdf)

Here is what Fox is reporting.


A U.S. Senate committee probing corruption in the U.N. Oil-for-Food (search) program released new evidence Wednesday purporting to show that two leading politicians from Britain and France received millions of barrels of Iraqi oil in exchange for their support of Saddam Hussein's (search) regime.

Citing contracts, letters and interviews with former Iraqi leaders, the probe set out evidence to back the claim that British lawmaker George Galloway (search) and former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua accepted oil allocations under the scheme. Galloway and Pasqua have denied any wrongdoing in the Oil-for-Food program.

"This report exposes how Saddam Hussein turned the Oil-for-Food program on its head and used the program to reward his political allies like Pasqua and Galloway," Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman, chairman of the Senate's permanent subcommittee on investigations, said in a statement.


Note this evidence is in addition to the evidence obtained by the Telegraph. The Telegraph lost a libel action to Galloway over their documents. However, the judge ruled in that case that the newspaper did not give Galloway time to respond and they touted the story rather than just commenting on the evidence. The evidence was not in question, just the way it was handled. The Telegraph is appealing.

Also note this new evidence includes "contracts, letters and interviews with former Iraqi leaders".

Similar evidence was reported "last October by U.S. arms inspector Charles Duelfer".

The interview information comes from high ranking former Saddam officials. Former Vice President [of Iraq] Taha Yassin Ramadan said that Galloway was allocated oil "because of his opinions about Iraq."

If you think Galloway couldn't sink any lower, think again.

New evidence suggests that a children's leukemia charity founded by Galloway was in fact used to conceal oil payments. [...]

The report includes what Coleman said was a copy of a contract from Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization that mentions Mariam's Appeal, a fund Galloway established in 1998 to help a 4-year-old Iraqi girl suffering from leukemia, Mariam Hamze.


Just think of the charges, fruad, money laundering, tax evasion, sanction busting, etc.

Now to the The BBC whitewash.

Such allocations could be sold on for a commission, although the report offers no evidence either men received money.


Not true. The report cites Galloway's Mariam's Appeal as the means he used to conceal the money. The BBC intentionally left out the allegations about the Mariam appeal.

Last year The Telegraph presented evidence on how Galloway managed the scam.

On 21 April last year, Mr Galloway told this newspaper that his Mariam Appeal fund had received money from Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian businessman. The fund was founded in part to help a young Iraqi girl suffering from leukaemia.

But Mr Galloway also told this newspaper: "The Mariam Appeal is a political campaign which was involved in a life or death struggle with the might of the British and American state and against a tide of hostility from powerful newspapers like your own which were extremely hostile to it."

He also said: "[Zureikat] was an extremely generous benefactor of the Mariam Appeal."


Galloway continues...

"I have never traded in a barrel of oil," said Mr Galloway, re-elected as an MP last week after campaigning against the Iraq war.


No one has ever claimed Galloway traded "in a barrel of oil". He is charged with trading in oil vouchers. To you and I that may be a meaninless distinction but in a court of law it means a lot.

The BBC are happy to let Galloway make his claims unchallenged.

He said he had "written and emailed repeatedly" requesting the opportunity to appear before the committee and rebut the claims, but they "have yet to respond".


How can that be since the committee just made the new evidence public?

The BBC also make the false calim that Kofi Annan was cleared of wrongdoing in the scandal.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been criticised over his son's work with the programme, but he himself, in an interim report by a UN committee issued in March, was cleared of wrongdoing.


Absolutely false! In fact Paul Volcker, who heads the internal UN investigation, has gone on record to refute Kofi Annan's statement that he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

"I thought we criticized [Mr. Annan] rather severely," Mr. Volcker said of his panel's interim report, released March 29. "I would not call that an exoneration."

Asked point-blank whether Mr. Annan had been cleared of wrongdoing in the $10 billion scandal, Mr. Volcker replied, "No."


The BBC report contains major factual errors and leaves out too much critial information to be mere sloppy reporting. The BBC are deliberately misleading the British public over the UN scandal.

I'll open a bottle of bubbly when the iron bars clang shut behind Galloway and I'll open another when they abolsih the TV tax - if I live that long.

UPDATE

The Times (UK) paints a much more damning and accurate picture than the BBC. The Times article also notes that the new evidence seems to back up the Telegraph.

One transaction in 2001 was described in a letter by the Iraqi state oil marketing organisation as having been signed with “Aredio Petroleum Company (Fawaz Zuraiqat — Mariam’s Appeal)”.


Galloway told The Telegraph:

"[Zureikat] was an extremely generous benefactor of the Mariam Appeal."


Now we know how and why.

The Times article notes that there is another Iraqi official who testified in 2003 that Galloway “benefited tremendously from the illegal trade of oil by Iraq”.

And the BBC tries to hide all of this. Shameful.

UPDATE

Harry has a more on Galloway's Mariam Appeal scam.

Galloway spins that he was cleared entirely by the investigation. Well, the wonderful thing about the internet is that the findings are online in full here.


Here are a few Harry points out.

11. Apart from public donations it was established that the major funders of the Appeal were the United Arab Emirates, a donor from Saudi Arabia and a Jordanian Businessman Fawaz Zuriekat.

12. The Commission has been unable to obtain all the books and records of the Appeal. Mr Galloway, the first Chairman of the Appeal, has stated that this documentation was sent to Amman and Baghdad in 2001 when Fawaz Zuriekat became Chairman of the Appeal. Mr Galloway has informed the Commission that this documentation is no longer under the control of the original trustees of the Appeal and cannot be located by them. Mr Galloway confirmed that the Appeal did not produce annual profit and loss accounts or balance sheets.


Convient, no? No books, records or profit and loss accounts.

So, what's a commission to do?

19. Given that the political activities of the Appeal were capable of being viewed as ancillary to the purposes of the Appeal and in light of the fact that the Appeal was closed and in view of the difficulties in obtaining the books and records of the Appeal, the Commission decided that it would not be proportionate to pursue its inquiries further.


In other words, the commission gave up but they did not find Galloway innocent as he claims.

UPDATES

Unanswered questions.

The Mariam appeal.

Galloway named in oil documents.

More from the Scotsman.

Galloway salutes Saddam

UPDATE on 25 Oct 2005 - The Money Trail

Galloway says he supports all terrorists.

Parliament investigation finds Galloway guilty.

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