The key prop of the new allegations against Respect MP George Galloway spectacularly fell away this week.
Former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has denied telling Norm Coleman’s Senate investigation that George Galloway personally profited from or solicited oil allocations.
Aziz, who is in a US military jail in Iraq, told his lawyer Badia Aref on 25 October — the day the Senate released its report — that he never discussed oil allocations under the oil for food programme with Galloway.
Aziz’s denial shoots down in flames Norm Coleman’s allegations against Galloway.
Of course the media, which devoted huge resources to covering the smears against Galloway, had either not covered Aziz’s denials as Socialist Worker went to press, or had dealt with them in just a few lines.
The Senate subcommittee accuses Galloway of lying during his testimony last May.
Norm Coleman claims Aziz provided the inquiry with “detailed descriptions of his discussions with Galloway concerning oil allocations, including Galloway’s request for allocations and his subsequent request to increase the amount of oil allocated to him and his political organisation, the Mariam Appeal.”
“These are lies, Aziz denies this,” says Badia Aref. “It is part of a media campaign aimed at smearing Galloway’s reputation.”
The report reheats other evidence on Galloway, including the document already exposed by Socialist Worker as a fake and a letter from an Iraqi intelligence agency said to have been found in the looted and burnt out foreign ministry building in Baghdad one week after the collapse of the regime.
The only other evidence provided by the Senate are the testimonies of two “anonymous oil traders” — one of whom is an arms dealer — who say they negotiated with Fawaz Zureikat sometime in 2000 for oil allocations in a deal that never happened, and where Galloway’s name was never mentioned.