The central document used against George Galloway this week by the US senate committee investigating Iraq's oil for food programme is a forgery. &to=http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/index.php4' target=_blank>Socialist Worker can reveal that evidence crucial to the alleged case against the Respect MP is fake - created after the fall of Baghdad in 2003.
The allegations are another desperate attempt to smear the opponents of the war on Iraq, and to make them appear as the corrupt hirelings of tyranny.
In Britain the material is another dirty weapon to be employed in an effort to destroy George Galloway and halt the rise of Respect.
Most of the accusations hurled against George Galloway by the senate committee on investigations this week were based on testimony that was supposedly freely given by former officials in Saddam Hussein's regime who are now held by US forces.
In many cases these sources are not even named.
But there is one piece of evidence that at first glance seems persuasive. It is in the findings of the Duelfer Report - the conclusions of the Iraq Survey Group headed by Charles Duelfer which last year admitted Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.
The senate committee's document says, "According to the evidence in the Duelfer Report, the Hussein regime granted Galloway six oil allocations totalling 20 million barrels of oil."
Annexe B of the section of the Duelfer Report on "Regime finance and procurement" lists what it claims are "Known oil voucher recipients".
According to Duelfer, "This annexe contains the 13 secret lists maintained by vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan al-Jizrawi and the minister for oil, Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi. A high level Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) official provided the Iraq Survey Group with both English and Arabic versions of these lists on 16 June 2004. The lists reproduced here are the original SOMO translations in English."
The list contains hundreds of names of individuals and corporations, many of which, according to Duelfer, legally dealt in Iraqi oil under the UN’s oil for food programme.
The first mention of George Galloway is contract M/09/23. This alleges that 1.014 million barrels of oil were allocated to "Mr Fawwaz Zurayqat - Mr George Galloway - Aredio Petroleum (French)".
Look closely at the entry, which is reproduced above.
The typeface (font) used for "Mr George Galloway" is different to the rest of the line. Indeed the only time this font is used in the entire document is where George Galloway's name appears. "Mr George Galloway" does not line up with the rest of the words in the entry. It is at an angle to the other words.
The spacings between "Mr George Galloway" and the rest of the words are inconsistent. The dash after the words "Mr George Galloway" touches the following word. The words "Mr George Galloway" are at a different type density (lighter) than the rest of the line.
The most likely explanation is that the words "Mr George Galloway" have been added after the list was prepared, perhaps stuck on and then photocopied to produce the list in the Duelfer Report.
Elsewhere the Duelfer Report revisits this same contract note and, citing an internal Iraqi document, says the allocation was to "Fawaz Zuraiqat - Mariam's Appeal".
Was this the original name, which was then changed in order to smear George Galloway?
Simon Assaf and Charlie Kimber, assisted by Ann Ashford