FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Et Tu, Greg Palast?

by GEORGE GALLOWAY

Until a couple of days ago I hadn’t heard of Greg Palast in years, the man who claims to have been pursuing me with questions for two months. He has never phoned, written, emailed or made any other contact with me, which is curiously reminiscent of the behavior of the US Senate committee. Having now forced myself to look at his pernicious writing, it seems like the deranged ramblings you might expect to find pushed out from under the door of a locked ward. He claims to be a journalist. He clearly doesn’t get much work.

Palast conflates meetings, truths and half-truths, statements taken out of context to produce a toxic smear which would be actionable in the country he claims to work in, my country. How many times do I have to respond to the ravings of guttersnipes? I met Saddam twice, the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld. The difference is that I wasn’t trying to sell him weapons and guidance systems. The first, and infamous time, my words were taken out of context. The second, where Saddam revealed his favorite confectionery, I was trying to persuade him to let the weapons’ inspectors back in. A vain mission, of course, as the US and UK had already decided to illegally go to war whatever he did.

The Mariam Appeal, which Palast drags in to allege I benefited financially from its work, was not a charity. It was a political campaign. Its primary function was not to provide medicines for Iraqi children, although we did, but to highlight the political conditions which were killing them. Sanctions! The largest donor was the ruler of the UAE (who gave approximately £500,000), followed by Fawaz Zureikat’s £375,000, and then the now king of Saudi Arabia (a regime I loath) with £150,000. The donations of these three represented 99% of the campaign’s total income. These donors were prominently identified at the time, there was no attempt to hide them, as this palooka claims. None of them have complained the money was ill-spent. Palast might take the view that finance should not be taken from such sources. Sorry, but needs must.

Among the works undertaken by the appeal was a daily newsletter on sanctions, a sanctions-busting flight into Baghdad, the Big Ben to Baghdad trip in a red London bus, countless meetings and conferences, posters and flyers, the projection of an anti-war slogan on the House of Commons, the first time that had ever been done — and the facilitating of trips to Iraq by dozens of journalists, many of whom sat in on my meetings with Tariq Aziz. And virtually all of whom were conducted around Baghdad by Fawaz Zureikat, openly introduced as the Mariam Appeal’s chairman, as well as a businessman trading with Iraq. We brought Mariam Hamza to Britain for treatment — immodestly, but factually, I claim that we saved her life — where she remained for half a year, sent back cured. I could go on and on but my enemies would surely claim I was blowing my own trumpet.

But what I will not tolerate — and will sue in any territory where it is possible to do so — is the lie that I personally benefited financially from the campaign. The Charity Commission inquiry Palast refers to was occasioned by a referral from Tony Blair’s Attorney General. The commission are in possession of every receipt of funds and every cheque issues or bank transfer ever made. They satisfied that there was no malfeasance and closed the case without further action, no doubt to the disappointment of Mr Blair’s Attorney General. Charities in Britain cannot campaign politically, which was the prime function of the appeal and in their judgment the commission said that the operation should have been split in two, one arm of which, the one which provided the physical aid, should have registered as a charity. Well, sorry, but that’s poppycock.

The stumblebum then drags in Hitchens — perhaps it’s two bums finding mutual support — a man I recently debated in New York. For what seems like the ten-thousandth time let me try to finally nail the canard that I benefited through the oil-for-food programme, an allegation at the time of writing which has netted me at least $4 million in libel damages and costs. Of course, when I talked with Tariq Aziz, I talked about the programme, but only in respect of the effects it was having on Iraq. I did not request or receive oil vouchers. I did not benefit financially. Not by one thin dime! I said voluntarily and on pain of prosecution under oath to the US Senate committee — another body which doesn’t let the facts get in the way of a good smear — and I say it again. If I had been guilty of what Palast alleges I’d be sitting not in the House of Commons but a prison cell! Let that be an end to it because I’m sure the public is even more tired and bemused than I am.

Crawl back under your rock, Mr Palast!

GEORGE GALLOWAY, member of Parliament from Bethnal Green, is the author of Mr. Galloway Goes to Washington: The Brit Who Set Congress Straight About Iraq.

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail