In a 2005 article, the late, great Christopher Hitchens called George Galloway “a type well known in the Labour movement. Prolier than thou, and ostentatiously radical, but a bit too fond of the cigars and limos and always looking a bit odd in a suit that was slightly too expensive. By turns aggressive and unctuous, either at your feet or at your throat; a bit of a backslapper, nothing’s too good for the working class: what the English call a ‘wide boy.’” As Hitchens neatly put it, Galloway “has stayed just on the right side of many inquiries into his character and his accounting methods.”
You can say that again. When Galloway hasn’t been busy praising dictators or slandering lovers of freedom, he’s spent a lot of time participating in shady international money transfers, some of which involved fattening his own pockets, and some of which involved passing cash and merchandise on to terrorists and tyrants.
From 1983 to 1987, he ran a charity called War On Want. During his tenure, questions were raised about the organization’s less than transparent financial picture. Accused of having used the charity’s dough to “liv[e] the high life in dirt-poor countries,” as Hitchens put it, Galloway was forced to resign and to pay back a relatively small sum in “contested expenses.” There are those who believe that in this case, as in many others, the true dimensions of Galloway’s perfidy were covered up.
In 1998 he founded the Mariam Appeal, which purportedly aimed to provide medical help to people in Iraq. Galloway raked in huge sums from sheiks in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, among others. Again, questions were raised about his personal use of the organization’s funds. The group was investigated several times by the U.K.’s Charity Commission, which chided Galloway for not registering it as a charity and not reporting on its finances as required by law. When the commission asked to see the Mariam Appeal’s books, they turned out to have been shipped off to Amman and Baghdad, far from prying British eyes. The whole thing looked extremely fishy, but once again Galloway got off with a slap on the wrist. The Mariam Appeal shut down in 2003.
One of the Mariam Appeal’s big donors was Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian businessman whom Galloway eventually put in charge of the operation. In 2005, Zureikat became a focus of a U.S. Senate subcommittee’s investigation into Saddam Hussein’s abuses of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, under which Saddam’s government, despite trade sanctions, had been allowed to sell oil to buy food and medicine. Galloway became a focus, too. Documents were reportedly uncovered showing that he, his then wife (Amineh Abu-Zayyad), and his campaign organization had all received shares of the illicit profits from Iraqi oil sales.
Galloway admitted that some of the money made illegitimately through the exploitation of the U.N. Program had ended up in the coffers of the Mariam Appeal, but insisted that he hadn’t personally profited. So did his wife. (By the way, Galloway has been married four times and divorced thrice; his last three wives have been Muslims, whom he married in Islamic ceremonies.) Although the subcommittee sent reports detailing evidence of corruption on the part of both M. and Mme. Galloway to the U.S. Justice Department, to law officials in New York and the District of Columbia, to the ethics office of the British Parliament, and to the U.K.’s Charity Commission, no action was taken by any of these bodies.
To be sure, he hasn’t just taken cash from hooligans – he’s distributed it, too. When he took part in the 2009 Viva Palestina convoy, he transported a substantial amount of illicit cash and merchandise which he handed over to the Hamas rulers of Gaza. He denied having done this, even though video footage showed him presenting bags of cash to these creeps.
We’ve noted earlier that both Galloway and his wife (this would be wife #4, Putri Gayatri Pertiwi) are on the payroll of Putin’s English-language TV station. Galloway is also a paid employee of Iran’s state-owned TV station, Press TV, and of the pro-Hezbollah TV station Al Mayadeen. You’ve got to hand it to him. When in modern times has a member of any national legislature in the Western world had fingers that were at once so sticky and so filthy?