Dead Men Left

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Socialist Worker: Galloway documents forged

Told you to watch out for it:

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...

...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)".

The SW website reprints the relevant section of the list. Each presumed recipient is listed by name in one column, next to the quantity of oil they were supposedly allocated. It is quite clear that the text including "Mr George Galloway" is in a different typeface to other names listed; it uses a smaller-sized font; and it does not align with the rest of the text on the same line. Socialist Worker continues:

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?

Elsewhere, the paper reprints the testimony of an Iraqi, Sajad Ahmad Ali, who claims to have forged the orginal Oil-for-Food list, as printed in the Baghdad paper, Al-Mada, in January last year:

"I’d like to indicate here that it was us who made — that is to say we forged — this list of names and titles of people who got money from the ministry of information, the palace and the Oil for Food programme.

"The person who took charge of this task is called Abu-Salim and he got four individuals to work on the project, one of whom was me. At first we worked in Suq al-Maridy in Madinat al-Sadr then we went transferred to a shop in Al-Sani’ya Street near Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s mausoleum...

The first time Abu-Salim got in touch with us was about half way through December 2003. Afterwards Abu-Salim brought us a list of names, titles and jobs, he also gave us a draft copy of what we had to write next to them.

"We worked for ten days, and then we steamed the papers a bit, then dried them out so that they would look old. I made a few mistakes in some of the lists.

"I neglected to put in the name of the Baath Party in Mali, and the name of the Imam of the mosque in Taskhent and the name of an Iraqi teacher who works in a university in Libya. I pointed out these errors to Abu-Salim but he wasn’t bothered saying ‘it isn’t important’. I beg anyone who reads his name in these papers to ask for the original version and check the date of writing with carbon dating.

"He’ll find out that the dates are lies and he’ll also know that the paper is new and not like the type of paper in Iraq during sanctions or afterwards.

"We didn’t know who asked for this list of names, and I still don’t know who he is, nor what he did with it. The person who came to us was bald, dark-skinned and tall, wearing a navy-blue suit who called himself Abu-al-Nur. He had a bodyguard with him. It was him who asked us to compile this list. He explained what was required and gave us the names and paid the deposit, but I don’t know who came and collected the papers when the work was finished."

The link between this original, faked, list and that taken by the Senate committee from the Duelfer report is given by Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a KPMG accountant brought into Iraq by Ahmed Chalabi to investigate oil trades under Saddam Hussein. Hankes-Drielsma confirmed to a US house international relations committe that he had seen a list purporting to show those profiting from the oil-for-food programme in December 2003, which were then "released to an Iraqi newspaper (Al-Mada)."

If you wondered why Galloway was being so bullish about his committee appearance, here's your reason.