Wednesday, May 18, 2005
George Galloway made a huge show during the senate panel hearing yesterday. Galloway’s performance and attempts to steer away from the topic did very little to eliminate the very foul odor I am smelling coming from this man. I believe the key in this whole case is the Jordanian businessman Fawaz Zureikat who donated about $600,000 to Galloway’s Iraq charity.
Now, let us look at the case from a different angle. George Galloway admitted that Zureikat had “extensive business with Iraq (i.e Saddam)” and that he might have “signed an oil contract”. “It is not my business” Galloway then added. Well, sir, it is your business. $600,000 is a huge sum given that it is coming from a citizen of a country that is poorer than Egypt and into a charity of a controversial British MP! Why didn’t Galloway ask his generous donor about the source of his money given the type of regime that Saddam lead (which Galloway said he opposed)? What if Zureikat was a drug smuggler, would Galloway still say “it is not my business”? Why didn’t Zureikat distribute this huge amount on the thousands of excellent charities that were operating in Saddam’s Iraq if he really wanted to help the Iraqi people? Why Galloway’s charity in particular?
Galloway told Senator Coleman that just like him he doesn’t ask his donors about the source of their money. This might be true if the amount is $1000, $2000, $5000, or even $20,000, but not $600,000!! I believe there is a preconditioned maximum amount to what individuals and companies can donate to a US senator’s campaign. $600,000 is a big number that will pop up the ears of anyone. If Onsi Sawiris, Egypt’s richest man with a net worth of $5 billion, donated this amount to a single charity then I assure you that Egypt’s tabloids will have much to talk about.
Maybe there won’t be any hardcore evidence (the type of evidence that convinces courts) that Fawaz Zureikat acted as a liaison between Saddam’s wealth and Georges Galloway, but this whole thing doesn’t smell nice. Don’t you agree? I hope the issue moves from the US and its senate to the scandal hunting media of Britain. Looking at Galloway and his relations with Saddam’s regime won’t do any good, the key here is Fawaz Zureikat. Will someone in Iraq tell us anything? It was the Iraqi newspaper Al Madaa that printed the list of oil coupon beneficiaries after all.
UPDATE: UK's Charity Commission will start a fresh query into Galloway's charity. It will put more emphasis on the key I mentioned above, the Jordianian businessman Fawaz Zureikan. Ummm, did they read my post this morning?
I told you guys before, Thomas Friedman is reading my blog! I am going to sue the guy for plagiarism. LOL