- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 29, 2005

George Galloway’s fiery opposition to the American-led war in Iraq has made him a hero of the antiwar Left. The British member of Parliament’s glib condemnations have rained down in volleys upon all those who have supported the war: neocons, imperialists, chickenhawks, Christian crusaders and blood-for-oil war-mongers alike.

Yet Mr. Galloway’s towering rhetoric has been overshadowed lately by the looming specter of corruption. Allegations have swirled that during the time he was openly defending the Saddam Hussein regime in the Western media, he accepted bribes from the Iraqi oil ministry.

It appears these allegations have just been doubly confirmed. Tuesday a U.S. Senate subcommittee released a report tracing $150,000 from the coffers of the Iraqi oil ministry to the bank account of Mr. Galloway’s ex-wife. Then Thursday similar findings were released in an independent report filed by a U.N. investigative committee headed by Paul Volcker.

Before the reports were issued, a mounting pile of evidence had already begun to link Mr. Galloway to the swamp of bribery and corruption that mired pre-war Baghdad. After coalition forces took control of Iraq, investigators excavated a trove of internal documents from the vaults of Saddam’s regime. These documents contained records from the Iraqi oil ministry, which reportedly dispersed lucrative oil allocations to high-profile foreigners who publicly supported Saddam’s government. Mr. Galloway’s name appeared on one of these allocation documents, next to the name of Jordanian businessman Fawaz Zureikat, a good friend who was also a generous financier of Mr. Galloway’s pet projects.

On the strength of this evidence, Mr. Galloway was summoned to testify before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations May 17. At that hearing, he swore an oath denying the charges of corruption. But now, according to the subcommittee chairman, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, new “smoking gun” evidence has emerged, demonstrating how Mr. Galloway illicitly accepted Iraqi oil money and then perjured himself by denying it. Tuesday’s subcommittee 25 report details how the Jordanian Fawaz Zureikat served as Mr. Galloway’s intermediary, funneling $150,000 in Iraqi oil money to the bank account of Mr. Galloway’s ex-wife, and another $446,000 to a “charitable organization” that Mr. Galloway used to lobby for an end to U.N. sanctions against Iraq.

These new revelations could provide the final piece of the puzzle that explains Mr. Galloway’s recent political career. At a time when the world has finally been awakening to the noxious cesspool of Islamofascism in the Middle East, Mr. Galloway has been bathing in it. He has flirted with dictators, sympathized with terrorists, and held tea sessions with tyrants all across the palace archipelago of the Arab world. He has taken every opportunity to cozy up to the fiercest enemies of human rights that the Middle East has to offer: jihadists, terrorists, rapists and thugs of every order.

In 1994, Mr. Galloway met with Saddam Hussein in Iraq and addressed him adoringly in a public speech: “Your Excellency, Mr. President … I greet you … in the name of the Palestinian people… . I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem.” This was after Saddam had become infamous for, among other things, invading Kuwait (an invasion which Mr. Galloway defended), launching missiles at Israel, brutally torturing his political prisoners and using chemical weapons to slaughter Kurdish civilians.

After that, Mr. Galloway continued to blaze new trails in moral repugnance. As an honored guest of the government of Syria — that seasoned sponsor of terrorism — he stated: “I have one hundred percent agreement with Syria’s policies on the international level… .” After the July 7 terrorist attacks in London, he seized the opportunity to siphon blame back onto the West: “[T]here is far more blood on the hands of George Bush and Tony Blair,” he said, “than there is on the hands of the murderers who killed those people in London.” Discoursing on the terrorist insurgents in Iraq who have pledged their lives to sow destruction and prevent the spread of democracy, Mr. Galloway proclaimed, “The Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs, and they are defending all the people of the world from American hegemony.” Speaking elsewhere with regard to Iraq’s murderous jihadist insurgency, he has pronounced: “This is not terrorism. This is resistance.”

In a debate with Christopher Hitchens in September, Mr. Galloway denounced American and British troops in Iraq as members of an oppressive occupation force, while hailing the sadistic insurgents there as freedom fighters and liberators. He even compared the insurgents to America’s colonial revolutionaries, and promised to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with them until “we’ve ridden the world of George W. Bush and Anthony Blair once and for all.”

In the past, whenever anyone has publicly wondered whether Mr. Galloway’s shady financial connections with pre-war Iraq might partially explain some of his strange sympathies in the Middle East, Mr. Galloway has responded with an indignant explosion of invective and insults. Now, however, he may face charges of perjury, both in the U.S. and in England, where he has also taken the stand and denied corruption charges under oath. If the evidence against him is as strong as it now seems, we’ll see how his rhetoric holds up when he tells it to the judge.

Anthony Dick is an associate editor at National Review.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide