‘Once more and yet again I have been cleared of taking a single penny or in any way personally benefiting from the former Iraqi regime through the Oil for Food programme or any other means.
The Commissioner’s report states that unequivocally no less than six times. The Commissioner further states that it would be a “travesty” to describe me as a “paid mouth-piece” and that my actions on Iraq stemmed from “deep conviction”.
This is therefore an argument about the funding of a political campaign to lift non-military sanctions on Iraq, which killed one million people, and to stop the rush to a war which has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands more.
The Committee appear utterly oblivious to the grotesque irony of a pro-sanctions and pro-war Committee of a pro-sanctions and pro-war Parliament passing judgment on the work of their opponents, especially in the light of the bloody march of events in Iraq since this inquiry began four years ago.
They describe that as questioning their integrity and bringing Parliament into disrepute. The House would do well to honestly calibrate exactly how its reputation on all matters concerning the war in Iraq stands with the public before deciding who precisely has brought it into disrepute.
After a four year inquiry – costing a fortune in public funds – the report asks me to apologise for not registering consistently the Mariam Appeal I established (the Commissioner concedes that I did so, but randomly) and for using House of Commons resources allocated to me to campaign against the policies of those now sitting in judgment on me.
The Committee of MPs acknowledges that “had these been the only matters before us, we would have confined ourselves to seeking an apology to the House”.
However, in a surprisingly thin-skinned rejoinder, the MPs complain that because I questioned their impartiality and made trenchant criticisms of evidence and witnesses (which, incidentally, they don’t attempt to refute in most cases) I am to be suspended for 18 days.
I reiterate that the Commissioner is right to state that he found no evidence that I benefited personally in any way from any Iraqi monies and moreover I never asked any of the Mariam Appeal’s donors – the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emir of UAE, or Fawaz Zureikat, the chairman of the Appeal – from where they earned the wealth from which they made donations to a campaign to end sanctions and war.’
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