Friday, October 28, 2005

‘Put up or shut up’– Galloway challenges accusers

WHEN George Galloway addressed the United States Senate Committee earlierthis year, answering charges that he had benefited from Iraqi oil money, heemphatically rejected the charges and rounded on his accusers with counteraccusations over the illegal invasion of Iraq.
He made the Senate Committee look foolish in front of the world so it wasonly a matter of time before various US government agencies would set outto undermine his credibility.
And last week they came up with the goods – new claims of “smoking gun”evidence that £85,000 from Iraqi oil sales was paid into a bank accountbelonging to Galloway’s estranged wife, Dr Amineh Abu-Zayyad.
They also claimed that another £250,000 was given to the Mariam Appeal –the charity launched by Galloway for Iraqi children suffering from cancer,caused by the use of depleted uranium weapons in the first Gulf War.
Galloway, now the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, has repeated hisdenials that he ever received any money from Iraqi oil revenues anddemanded that the Senate committee charge him with lying – a criminaloffence – so that he can clear his name in court – or withdraw theaccusations.
And Galloway accused Senator Norman Coleman, who chairs the committee, ofcarrying out “sneak revenge attacks”.
He said he did not wish to answer for his wife but that she has spent manyyears researching the health effects of depleted uranium and that researchhad funding from many sources.
“Please, please charge me,” he said. “Please prosecute me and I will be onthe next plane to America to see you in court.
“I am demanding prosecution. I am begging for prosecution. If I have lied under oath in front of the Senate, that’s a criminal offence. Charge me andI will face them down in court as I faced them down in the Senate room.”
The Senate committee claims that Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian friend ofGalloway, channelled the money from the Saddam government to the MariamAppeal and to Dr Abu Zayyad.
But, in spite of the serious charges, Zureikat is still trading in Iraqand has made business trips to the US with the approval of the Americanauthorities.
He said he had meetings with them and they had talked to him about Iraqbefore the war but they had never mentioned oil or Galloway.
Galloway has accused the Americans of obtaining false evidence against himby torturing prisoners now held in Iraq.