'I BELIEVE the documents are a forgery by someone who had no familiarity with the inner workings of the Iraqi intelligence service.' With those words a 'highly regarded expert' blew a gaping hole in the smear campaign against anti-war MP George Galloway on Sunday. The expert had examined thousands of official papers captured from the Iraqi regime by Western intelligence agencies in the 1991 Gulf War.
Now he has rubbished six documents the Mail on Sunday obtained nearly three weeks ago purporting to show that George Galloway received yet more millions from the Iraqi government. The source of the Mail on Sunday forgeries, a former general in Iraq's Republican Guard, also provided documents to the US paper the Christian Science Monitor.
This paper used them to claim Galloway had received $10 million from the Iraqi regime. All the evidence shows those documents, too, are crude forgeries. The journalist who got them, Philip Smucker, also works for the Daily Telegraph, the paper that made the first of these fantastic allegations against Galloway. The discovery by the Mail on Sunday that it had been conned into buying fake documents has smashed key links in the chain of newspaper lies.
In addition to the 'highly regarded' expert, the Mail on Sunday showed its documents to forgery expert Dr Audrey Giles, former head of the Questioned Documents section of the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory.
She said, 'The signatures on the questioned letters are fundamentally different from the examples of undisputed signatures of Mr Galloway provided for me. For the questioned documents to be genuine, Mr Galloway would have to have two entirely separate signatures differing not only in structure but also in fluency. There is very strong support for the view that the signatures on these documents are poor attempts to simulate his genuine signature.'
As well as the fake signatures, the letters show other evidence of forgery. The letterhead contained stars crudely tippexed on and golden lettering which the Iraqi document expert had never seen on any other official letters. The expert adds the documents 'should be signed by the Presidential Secretary, Abid Hamid Mahmoud Al Khattab. However, this name is misspelled as 'Abdul Hamid Mahmoud' from the Special Presidential Office. Not only that but the letterhead belongs to the Special Security Organisation when he is not even a member of the SSO. Qusay Hussein, Saddam's son, provides a second signature, but he signs off as the supervisor of the Republican Guard, when in fact his official title is Director of the Special Security Organisation. Also the final signature on the bottom of the page is from a Republican Guard commander which guarantees the money was delivered to Mr Galloway. Why would a military commander be responsible for financial affairs with a British MP? Such activities would be handled by Iraq's Intelligence Service, the Mukhabarat.'
Visa stamps in George Galloway's passport show he was not even in Iraq on two of the three dates between 1999 and 2002 when he is supposed to have signed receipts for $4 million.
On one of those dates, 11 August 2002, he was in the Mail on Sunday office in London working with the deputy editor on an article.
Socialist Worker has learned that a third expert, an Iraqi opposition figure said to have once been Saddam Hussein's Chief of Protocol, says after the new evidence that he now believes the documents are forgeries.
He has already said the earlier Christian Science Monitor documents are fake. Those documents claim Galloway picked up a 'check' for $3 million on 14 January 2003. On that date Galloway was speaking in parliament in London. The source of both sets of documents handed to the Mail on Sunday and Christian Science Monitor was General Salah Abdel Rasool.
The Mail on Sunday got theirs after paying the highest price, £1,500, in an 'auction' three weeks ago. Within two weeks of US forces entering Baghdad there was a market for forged documents, some implicating George Galloway.
Galloway says, 'The discrediting of two sets of documents sold to newspapers which alleged I was paid almost $15 million by Saddam is very significant to me. I am suing the Telegraph and the Christian Science Monitor. Someone somewhere is fabricating stories against me. The question is who and why.'
There is a hidden agenda behind the Labour smears
THE GROUNDS the Labour Party has given for suspending George Galloway have nothing to do with the allegations right wing papers are hurling at him. Labour's reason is even worse. It is that Galloway brought the 'party into disrepute' by the way he campaigned against the war.
Labour Party chairman John Reid claims Galloway called Bush and Blair 'wolves' in an interview for Abu Dhabi television. In fact, he said two of the richest countries in the world, the US and Britain, were 'falling like wolves' on Iraq, an impoverished and battered nation. That is something millions of people here and around the world agree with.
The purpose of the suspension is to stop Galloway becoming the Labour candidate in a new seat in Glasgow as his own Westminster constituency is disappearing due to boundary changes, and to discredit the anti-war movement.
Trail leads to original newspaper allegations
THE DOCUMENTS presented by the Daily Telegraph a month ago, which began the string of allegations against George Galloway, contains similar inconsistencies to the proven forgeries.
- Two dates are inconsistent and the signature is illegible.
- One document is supposedly from January 2000, but refers to Dr Amina Abu Zaid as George Galloway's wife - they didn't marry until two months later.
All the sets of documents obtained by the three papers - the Telegraph, the Christian Science Monitor and the Mail on Sunday - purport to show financial dealings with Saddam Hussein and his two sons. In addition to the inconsistencies in each, taken together they present a truly incredible series of allegations.
- The Telegraph has Galloway receiving £375,000 and being told by the 'head' of intelligence that that is the only money he is getting.
- The Mail on Sunday documents claim Galloway had just six weeks before got £1.2 million from one of Saddam's sons.
- The Telegraph then has Saddam saying Galloway would get no more money.
- Four months later, according to the Christian Science Monitor, one of Saddam's sons generously gives Galloway £1.5 million.
Alarm bells should now be ringing
ROY GREENSLADE knows a thing or two about smear campaigns. Greenslade was the editor of the Daily Mirror in 1990. That was the year when the paper accused miners' leader Arthur Scargill of using strike funds to pay off his mortgage and taking money from Libya and the Soviet Union. The Mirror's allegations signalled open season on Scargill and the miners' union, the NUM.
Last year Greenslade formally apologised to Scargill, acknowledging that the accusations were false and the paper had been used by the secret services to discredit him. Now Greenslade says a smear campaign is again being used to discredit a prominent left wing figure, George Galloway.
He wrote in Thursday's Guardian, 'Like Scargill before him, the floodgates open and suddenly Galloway is caught in the wash as newspapers compete to drown him in sewage. Galloway, unlike previous miscreants, is being traduced for nothing more than stating an opinion. Labour is trampling on the rights of one of its own MPs to speak his mind at a crucial moment. Scargill was effectively marginalised after 1990. Is the labour movement prepared to allow Galloway to suffer the same fate?'