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George Galloway MP

Galloway at a Stop The War protest in London, 24 February 2007

Incumbent
Assumed office 
21 September 2001
President Tony Benn
Preceded by Office Created

Member of Parliament
for Bethnal Green and Bow
Incumbent
Assumed office 
5 May 2005
Preceded by Oona King
Majority 823 (1.9%)

Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Kelvin
In office
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by New Constituency
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Majority 7,260 (27.1%)

Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Hillhead
In office
11 June 1987 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Roy Jenkins
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Majority 4,826 (12.3%)

Born 16 August 1954 (1954-08-16) (age 55)
Dundee, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party RESPECT (2004–present)
Labour (1967–2003)
Residence London, England, UK
Website www.georgegalloway.com

George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a Roman Catholic, British politician, author and broadcaster, who has been a Member of Parliament since 1987, and is known for his anti-war views.[1] He was formerly a Labour MP, first for Glasgow Hillhead, and later for Glasgow Kelvin, before his expulsion from the party in October 2003,[2] and subsequently becoming a founding member of RESPECT. Galloway currently represents Bethnal Green and Bow, having been elected to that seat in 2005.[3]

Galloway is also known for his vigorous campaigns in favour of the Palestinians in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and for his defence of Hezbollah in Lebanon. He attempted to both overturn economic sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s and early 2000s, and to avert the 2003 invasion of that country. He is also known for a speech he gave before then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, in which he appeared to praise the dictator,[4] although Galloway has maintained that he actively opposed the regime until the United States-led Gulf War in 1991, and has always stated that he was addressing the Iraqi people.[5][6] Galloway is known in the USA for his testimony in the US Senate in 2005, where he turned a defence of allegations against him into an attack against American foreign policy.[7]

Contents

Early and personal life

Galloway was born in Dundee, Scotland. He grew up in Charleston and attended Charleston Primary and then Harris Academy, a non-denominational school.

From 1979 to 1999, he was married to Elaine Fyffe, with whom he has a daughter, Lucy. In 2000, he married Amineh Abu-Zayyad. Zayyad filed for divorce in 2005. He married Rima Husseini, a Lebanese woman and former researcher, who in May 2007 gave birth to a son, Zein.

Galloway states that he is a non-drinker from a non-drinking catholic family. "My father didn’t drink alcohol and his father didn’t and my daughter doesn’t. I think it has a very deleterious effect on people".[8]

Labour Party organiser

Galloway joined the Labour Party at 13 years old and within five years was secretary of the Dundee West constituency party. His enthusiasm led him to become vice-chairman of the Labour Party in the city of Dundee and a member of the Scottish Executive Committee in 1975. On 5 May 1977, he contested his first election campaign in the Scottish district elections but failed to hold the safe Labour seat at Gillburn, Dundee. He was beaten by the Independent candidate Bunty Turley, who was a trade unionist running on the campaign slogan "enough is enough" after allegations were made about Galloway's personal and financial behaviour..[9] Galloway became the secretary organiser of Dundee Labour Party—the youngest ever Scottish chairman—in March 1981 at 26 years old.[10]

His support for the Palestinian cause began in 1974 when he met a Palestinian activist in Dundee; he supported the actions of Dundee City council which flew the Palestinian flag inside the City Chambers. He was involved in the twinning of Dundee with Nablus in 1980,[11] although he did not take part in the visit of Lord Provost Gowans, Ernie Ross MP and three city councillors to Nablus and Kuwait in April 1981.[10]

In 1981, Galloway wrote an article in Scottish Marxist supporting Communist Party affiliation with the Labour Party. In response, Denis Healey, deputy leader of the Labour Party, tried and failed to remove Galloway from the list of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates. Galloway successfully argued that this was his own personal viewpoint, not that of the Labour Party. Healey lost his motion by 13 votes to 5. He once quipped that, in order to overcome a £1.5 million deficit which had arisen in the city budget, he, Ernie Ross and leading councillors should be placed in the stocks in the city square: "we would allow people to throw buckets of water over us at 20p a time."[12]

Parliamentary career and public profile

War on Want

From November 1983 to 1987, Galloway was General Secretary of War On Want, a British charity that campaigns against poverty worldwide. In this post he was much travelled, he wrote eye-witness accounts of the famine in Eritrea in 1985 which were published in The Sunday Times and The Spectator.[13]

The Daily Mirror accused him of living luxuriously at the charity's expense.[14] An independent auditor cleared him of misuse of funds,[15] though he did repay £1,720 in contested expenses.[16] He later reportedly won £155,000 from the Mirror in an unrelated libel lawsuit.[17]

More than two years after Galloway stepped down to serve as a Labour MP, the UK government investigated War on Want. It found accounting irregularities from 1985 to 1989, but little evidence that money was used for non-charitable purposes. Galloway had been General Secretary for the first three of those years. The commission said responsibility lay largely with auditors, and did not single out individuals for blame.[15]

Member of Parliament, Glasgow

He fought for a place on the Labour Party National Executive Committee in 1986; in a large field of candidates he finished second from the bottom. At the 1986 Labour Party Conference, he made a strong attack on the Labour Party's Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor Roy Hattersley for not favouring exchange controls.

In the 1987 election, Galloway won Glasgow Hillhead constituency for the Labour Party from Roy Jenkins of the Social Democratic Party with a majority of 3,251. Although known for his left-wing views, Galloway was never a member of Labour's leftist grouping of MPs, the Tribune Group or the Campaign Group.

Troubles within the Labour Party

Asked about a War on Want conference on Mykonos, Greece during his previous job, the new MP Galloway notoriously replied "I travelled to and spent lots of time with people in Greece, many of whom were women, some of whom were known carnally to me. I actually had sexual intercourse with some of the people in Greece."[18] The statement put Galloway on the front pages of the tabloid press and in February 1988 the Executive Committee of his Constituency Labour Party passed a vote of no confidence in him.[18]

He went on to win re-selection over Trish Godman (wife of fellow MP Norman Godman) in June 1989, but failed to get a majority of the electoral college on the first ballot. This was the worst result for any sitting Labour MP who was reselected; 13 of the 26 members of the Constituency Party's Executive Committee resigned that August, indicating their dissatisfaction with the result.[19]

In 1990, a classified advertisement appeared in the Labour left weekly Tribune headed "Lost: MP who answers to the name of George", "balding and has been nicknamed gorgeous", claiming that the lost MP had been seen in Romania but had not been to a constituency meeting for a year. A telephone number was given which turned out to be for the Groucho Club in London, from which Galloway had recently been excluded (he has since been readmitted). Galloway threatened legal action and pointed out that he had been to five constituency meetings. He eventually settled for an out-of-court payment by Tribune.

The leadership election of the Labour Party in 1992 saw Galloway voting for fellow Scot John Smith for Leader and Margaret Beckett as Deputy Leader. In 1994, after Smith's death, Galloway declined to cast a vote in the leadership election (one of only three MPs to do so). In a debate with the leader of the Scottish National Party Alex Salmond, Galloway responded to one of Salmond's jibes against the Labour Party by declaring "I don't give a fuck what Tony Blair thinks."[19]

Although facing a challenge for the Labour nomination for the seat of Glasgow Kelvin in 1997, Galloway successfully defeated Shiona Waldron. He was unchallenged for the nomination in 2001.

In the 1997 and 2001 elections Galloway was the Labour candidate for the seat of Glasgow Kelvin, winning with majorities of over 16,000 and 12,000 respectively. During the 2001 Parliament, he voted against the Whip 27 times. During the 2001-02 session he was the 9th most rebellious Labour MP.

Expulsion from the Labour Party

Galloway became the Vice President of the Stop the War Coalition in 2001. He is actively involved, often speaking on StWC platforms at anti-war demonstrations. From this position Galloway made many aggressive and controversial statements in opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. These were the formal reasons for his expulsion from the Labour Party. He reportedly said in a 28 March 2003 interview with Abu Dhabi TV that Tony Blair and George W. Bush had "lied to the British Air Force and Navy, when they said the battle of Iraq would be very quick and easy. They attacked Iraq like wolves...." and added, "... the best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders."[20] He called the Labour government "Tony Blair's lie machine."[21] His most controversial statement from the interview may have been "Iraq is fighting for all the Arabs. Where are the Arab armies?".[22] The Observer reported in 2003 that the Director of Public Prosecutions was considering a request to pursue Galloway under the Incitement to Disaffection Act, 1934,[23] though no prosecution occurred.

On 18 April, The Sun published an interview with Tony Blair who said: "His comments were disgraceful and wrong. The National Executive will deal with it." The General Secretary of the Labour Party, citing Galloway's outspoken opinion of Blair and Bush in their pursuit of the Iraq war, suspended him from holding office in the party on 6 May 2003, pending a hearing on charges that he had violated the party's constitution by "bringing the Labour Party into disrepute through behaviour that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Party". The National Constitutional Committee held a hearing on 22 October 2003, to consider the charges, taking evidence from Galloway himself, from other party witnesses, viewing media interviews, and hearing character testimony from Tony Benn, among others. The following day, the committee found the charge of bringing the party into disrepute proved, and so expelled Galloway from the Labour Party. Galloway called the Committee's hearing "a show trial" and "a kangaroo court".[24]

2005 election

In January 2004, Galloway announced he would be working with members of the Socialist Alliance in England and Wales, and others, under the name Respect - The Unity Coalition, generally referred to simply as Respect. This was despite Galloway having a track record of antipathy toward Trotskyists, and the largest component of Respect being the Socialist Workers Party, which broadly identifies itself as part of the Trotskyist political tradition.

Some former members of the Socialist Alliance, including the Workers Liberty and Workers Power groups, objected to forming a coalition with Galloway, citing his political record, and his refusal to accept an average worker's wage, with Galloway claiming "I couldn’t live on three workers’ wages."[25]

He stood as the Respect candidate in London in the 2004 European Parliament elections, but failed to win a seat after receiving 91,175 of the 115,000 votes he needed.

After his expulsion, he had initially fuelled speculation that he might call a snap by-election before then, by resigning his parliamentary seat, saying:

If I were to resign this constituency and there was a by-election I can't guarantee that I would win, but I would guarantee that Tony Blair's candidate would surely lose.

Galloway later announced that he would not force a by-election and intended not to contest the next general election in Glasgow. Galloway's Glasgow Kelvin seat was split between three neighbouring constituencies for the May 2005 general election. One of these, the redrawn Glasgow Central constituency, might have been his best chance to win, but had his long-time friend Mohammad Sarwar, the first Muslim Labour MP and a strong opponent of the Iraq War in place; Galloway did not wish to challenge him. After the European election results became known, Galloway announced that he would stand in Bethnal Green and Bow, the area where Respect had its strongest election results and where the sitting Labour MP, Oona King, supported the Iraq War. On 2 December, despite speculation that he might stand in Newham, he confirmed that he would be the candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow.

The ensuing electoral campaign in the seat proved to be a difficult one with heated rhetoric. The BBC reported that Galloway had himself been threatened with death by extreme Islamists from the banned organisation al-Ghurabaa. All the major candidates united in condemning the threats and violence.[26]

On 5 May, Galloway won the seat by 823 votes and made a fiery acceptance speech, saying that Tony Blair had the blood of 100,000 people on his hands and denouncing the returning officer over alleged discrepancies in the electoral process. When challenged in a subsequent televised interview by Jeremy Paxman as to whether he was happy to have removed one of the few black women in Parliament, Galloway replied "I don't believe that people get elected because of the colour of their skin. I believe people get elected because of their record and because of their policies."[27][28]

Oona King later told the Today programme that she found Paxman's line of question inappropriate. "He shouldn't be barred from running against me because I'm a black woman ... I was not defined, or did not wish to be defined, by either my ethnicity or religious background."[29]

Constitutional Affairs minister David Lammy later criticised Galloway for the "manner in which he won that seat, whipping up racial tensions, dividing some of the poorest people in this country, I think was obscene." Lammy further called him a "carpetbagger."[30]

"It's good to be back", Galloway said on being sworn in as MP for Bethnal Green after the May election. He pledged to represent "the people that New Labour has abandoned" and to "speak for those who have nobody else to speak for them."

Parliamentary participation statistics

After he was suspended and later expelled from the Labour Party, Galloway's participation in Parliamentary activity fell to minimal levels. After speaking in a debate on Iraq on 25 March 2003, Galloway did not intervene in any way in Parliamentary debates or ask any oral questions for the remainder of the Parliament and his participation in House of Commons Divisions was among the lowest of any MP.[31]

Since the 2005 election, his participation rate has remained low, at the end of the year he had participated in only 15% of Divisions in the House of Commons since the general election, placing him 634th of 645 MPs - of the eleven MPs below him in the rankings, one is the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, five are Sinn Féin members who have an abstentionist policy toward taking their seats, three are the speaker and deputy speakers and therefore ineligible to vote, and two have died since the election. Galloway claims a record of unusual activity at a "grass roots" level. His own estimate is that he has made 1,100 public speeches between September 2001 and May 2005.[32]

In November 2005, Galloway's commitment to Parliamentary activity was again called into question when he failed to attend the Report Stage of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill in the House of Commons, despite Respect having urged its members to put pressure on MPs to attend.[33] It was later confirmed that Galloway had been carrying out a speaking engagement in Cork, Ireland on the night (Galloway's spokesman asserted the performance was "uncancellable"[34]).

Although that stage of the bill failed by two votes, it initially appeared that the government won by a majority of only one, in which Galloway's attendance would have tied the vote. However, even in the case of a tie the vote would not have resulted in defeat for the government, because the vote was on an amendment (tightening the standard on what constitutes incitement to terrorism) and the amendment would not have passed. It would have taken three more "aye" votes to pass the amendment. All the same, Respect later put out a statement stating that it regretted the vote had been missed. The statement further claimed that Galloway had cleared his diary for all the subsequent votes on the bill.[35] Galloway did attend a subsequent debate on the Bill, and voted against the final reading of the bill, which passed.[36]

Questioned about this in a Guardian interview, Galloway responded: "I am in the Commons every day, apart from when I was banned. What I don't do is vote in the Commons and the reason for that is really quite banal. Almost every vote there is a yes or no vote, for either the prime minister's motion or the opposition leader's amendment. I almost never wish to vote for either, and there is no provision for abstention."[37]

Galloway voted in support of the government's original draft of the religious hatred bill in 2006, which many people had feared would restrict artistic freedom and free speech.[38]

As of September 2009 he still has one of the lowest voting participation records in parliament at 8.4% as a total of 93 votes out of a possible 1113 divisions.[39]

Suspension from the House of Commons

On 17 July 2007, following a four-year inquiry, the House of Commons Select Committee on Standards and Privileges published its sixth report. The committee concluded that there was "no evidence" that Galloway gained any personal benefit from either the former Iraqi regime, or from the Oil-for-Food Programme. It did not examine the bank account of Galloway's former wife or their joint account.

I have not found evidence that Mr Galloway has, directly and personally, unlawfully received moneys from the former Iraqi regime. I have been given evidence by Dr Al-Chalabi of a payment by him of $120,000 to Mr Galloway's former wife, Dr Abu-Zayyad, which derived from a commission payment Dr Al-Chalabi received under the programme. As I do not have access to the bank accounts in question, I do not know whether Mr Galloway benefited in any way from this payment. Nor do I know whether Mr Galloway benefited from a payment of $150,000 to Dr Abu-Zayyad which the US Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations found to have been made by Mr Fawaz Zureikat out of oil contract commission[40]

However, it found that Galloway's use of parliamentary resources to support his work on the Mariam Appeal "went beyond what was reasonable" and recommended he be suspended from the House.

Had these been the only matters before us, we would have confined ourselves to seeking an apology to the House. However, Mr Galloway's conduct aimed at concealing the true source of Iraqi funding of the Mariam Appeal, his conduct towards Mr David Blair and others involved in this inquiry, his unwillingness to cooperate fully with the Commissioner, and his calling into question of the Commissioner's and our own integrity have in our view damaged the reputation of the House. In accordance with precedent, we recommend that he apologise to the House, and be suspended from its service for a period of eighteen actual sitting days. As the House is shortly to go into its Summer Recess, we further recommend that Mr Galloway's period of suspension should begin on 8 October, the day it resumes.[41]

In response, Galloway stated

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 judgement 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.[42]

At a press conference following publication of the report, Galloway stated "To be deprived of the company for 18 days of the honourable ladies and gentleman behind me [in parliament] will be painful ... but I'm intending to struggle on regardless... What really upset them [the committee] is that I always defend myself... I am not a punchbag. If you aim low blows at me, I'll fight back".[43]

The next general election

On 10 August 2007, Galloway confirmed he would stand in Poplar and Limehouse[44][45] where the Labour Party has a notional majority of 3,942.[46] The Labour candidate will be the current Poplar and Canning Town MP Jim Fitzpatrick. Galloway said he had planned to stand down from Parliament at the next election, but was prompted to stay on and fight to win the neighbouring East London constituency after he felt he was unfairly suspended from Parliament for 18 days.

On 3 November 2007, the Socialist Workers Party claimed that Galloway had announced he was splitting from Respect after an internal dispute.[47] Galloway denied this, and together with Respect chair Linda Smith, Vice Chair Salma Yaqoob and 16 other members of the National Council, issued an invitation to a Respect Renewal conference, organised on the same day and time as the scheduled Respect conference.[48]

'Stress ball' incident

On 22 April 2008, Galloway was campaigning in London from an open-top bus. While touring central London ahead of the next week's elections the MP was knocked unconscious by a rubber stress ball which was thrown at him from a first floor window of a nearby office building by an office worker. The ball, around the size of a tennis ball, hit Galloway on the side of the head which caused him to become dazed.[49]

Political views

Galloway advocates greater spending on welfare benefits, and some nationalisation of large industries. Galloway is opposed to abortion, although he supports Respect's pro-choice stance. He opposes Scottish independence but supports the right of the people to vote on the matter via a referendum. He also supports the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, George Galloway supported Solidarity,[50] despite not supporting all their policies, such as Scottish independence. Galloway has attracted most attention for his comments on foreign policy, taking a special interest in Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Iraq and Saddam Hussein

Galloway opposed the 1991 Gulf War and was critical of the effect the subsequent sanctions had on the people of Iraq. He visited Iraq twice and met senior government officials. His involvement caused some critics to deride him as the "member for Baghdad North". In 1994, Galloway faced some of his strongest criticism on his return from a Middle-Eastern visit during which he had met Saddam Hussein "to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war". At the meeting, he reported the support given to Saddam by the people of the Gaza Strip and ended his speech with the phrase "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability,"[51] although Galloway maintains that he was misinterpreted. Galloway's most recent public statement on the matter was in a January 2007 edition of the BBC's Hardtalk in which he states that he was saluting the "Iraqi people".[5] Galloway's speech was translated for Hussein, and Anasal-Tikriti, a friend of Galloways and a Respect candidate, spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain said: "I understand Arabic and it [Galloway's salutation] was taken completely out of context. When he said "you" he meant the Iraqi people, he was saluting their indefatigability, their resolve against sanctions. Even the interpreter got it right and, in Arabic, says salutes the stand of the Iraqi people'."[52]

In 1999, Galloway was criticised for spending Christmas in Iraq with Tariq Aziz, then Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister. In the 17 May 2005, hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Galloway stated that he had had many meetings with Aziz, and characterised their relationship as friendly.[53] After the fall of Saddam, he continued to praise Aziz, calling him "an eminent diplomatic and intellectual person". In 2006 a video surfaced showing Galloway enthusiastically greeting Uday Hussein, Saddam's eldest son, with the title of "Excellency" at Uday's palace in 1999.[54] "The two men also made unflattering comments about the United States and joked about losing weight, going bald and how difficult it is to give up smoking cigars," according to The Scotsman.[55]

In a House of Commons debate on 6 March 2002, Foreign Office Minister Ben Bradshaw said of Galloway that he was "not just an apologist, but a mouthpiece, for the Iraqi regime over many years." Galloway called the Minister a liar and refused to withdraw: "[Bradshaw's] imputation that I am a mouthpiece for a dictator is a clear imputation of dishonour" he said, and the sitting was suspended due to the dispute.[56] Bradshaw later withdrew his allegation, and Galloway apologised for using unparliamentary language. In August 2002, Galloway returned to Iraq and met Saddam Hussein for a second time. According to Galloway, the intention of the trip was to persuade Hussein to re-admit Hans Blix, and the United Nations weapons inspectors into the country.[57]

Galloway signing an asylum seekers petition, sitting on the edge of the StWC stage at the 2005 Make Poverty History rally.

Giving evidence in his libel case against the Daily Telegraph newspaper in 2004, Galloway testified that he regarded Saddam as a "bestial dictator" and would have welcomed his removal from power, but not by means of a military attack on Iraq. Galloway also pointed that he was a prominent critic of Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s, as well as of the role of Margaret Thatcher's government in supporting arms sales to Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war. Labour MP Tam Dalyell said during the controversy over whether Galloway should be expelled from the Labour Party that "in the mid-1980s there was only one MP that I can recollect making speeches about human rights in Iraq and this was George Galloway."[58] When the issue of Galloway's meetings with Saddam Hussein is raised, including before the U.S. Senate, Galloway has argued that he had met Saddam "exactly the same number of times as U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns."[59] He continued "I met him to try to bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war".

During a 9 March 2005 interview at the University of Dhaka campus Galloway called for a global alliance between Muslims and progressives: "Not only do I think it’s possible but I think it is vitally necessary and I think it is happening already. It is possible because the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims have the same enemies. Their enemies are the Zionist occupation, American occupation, British occupation of poor countries mainly Muslim countries."[60]

Israel and Palestine

At a 22 July 2006 demonstration (and later in a Socialist Worker op-ed),[61] Galloway stated "Hezbollah has never been a terrorist organisation!" The National Union of Students of the United Kingdom passed a motion condemning Galloway for this statement. The NUS motion said Galloway is "clearly not ignorant of Hezbollah’s history of violence and the killing of innocents..."[62] The NUS sent two letters to Galloway, explaining their condemnation for his praise of Nasrallah who "has called for the killing of Zionists" and "Hezbollah is an organisation with a history of terrorism." The NUS also noted they are not "accusing [him] of being antisemitic or being a Holocaust denier. What we do condemn is your open support for a leader and an organisation that is antisemitic, terrorist and denies the holocaust."[63]

In an interview with the American radio host Alex Jones, Galloway blamed Israel for creating "conditions in the Arab countries and in some European countries to stampede Jewish people ... into the Zionist state". Jones then alleged that the "Zionists" funded Hitler, to which Galloway replied that Zionists used the Jewish people "to create this little settler state on the Mediterranean," whose purpose was "to act as an advance guard for their own interests in the Arab world..."[64] Engage included commentary on the interview that included: "Critically, however, this 21st century Protocols claims to be pro-Jewish; and has studiously replaced 'The Jews' with new bogeymen, 'The Zionists'," and that the interview is a "perversion of past and present Jewish Zionist life".[65] Labour Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman, who has been derided by Galloway as “Israel’s MP on Merseyside,” said: “I think this is just another demonstration of George Galloway’s total hostility toward Jewish national identity and self-determination”. Eric Moonman, former Labour MP and president of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, characterised Galloway's comments as "manipulating many of the facts," and warned that "we must not underestimate the way in which he can influence groups of people who are somewhat naive about the Middle East and Zionism”. Stan Urman, Director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, a group which represents 856,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries, said: “How does one explain pogroms in 1912 and 1932 well before the establishment of the State of Israel?... His comments do not stand the test of historical fact”. Galloway told the UK's Jewish News that he "[stands] by all those comments," and that Zionism "has turned the people of Einstein and Epstein into one apparently represented by Sharon and Netanyahu.”[66]

In a series of speeches broadcast on Arab television, Galloway described Jerusalem and Baghdad as being "raped" by "foreigners". Ronnie Fraser of the Academic Friends of Israel said his speech was an example of destructive incitement and proves Galloway does not understand history.[67]

Galloway was introduced as “a former member of the British Houses of Parliament” during a live interview with Qatari Al-Jazeera television, to which he responded: “I am still a member of parliament and was re-elected five times. On the last occasion I was re-elected despite all the efforts made by the British government, the Zionist movement and the newspapers and news media which are controlled by Zionism.” Mark Gardner, Director of Communications at the Community Security Trust, said, “This is despicable language for a Member of Parliament to use. Suggestions of Jewish media control can only give encouragement to anti-semites of every type". Ben Novick, Director of Media Relations at Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, dismissed Galloway’s allegations about "Zionist control" of the media, adding: “We hope that Al-Jazeera’s premonition of Galloway as a former MP will soon become a reality.”[68]

Galloway expressed support for the Syrian presence of Lebanon 5 months before it ended, telling the Daily Star of Lebanon "Syrian troops in Lebanon maintain stability and protect the country from Israel". In the same article he expressed his opposition to UN resolution 1559 which urged the Lebanese Government to establish control over all its territory.[69]

Blair and Bush

At the national conference of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, on 30 June 2003, Galloway apologised for describing George W. Bush as a "wolf", saying that to do so defamed wolves:

No wolf would commit the sort of crimes against humanity that George Bush committed against the people of Iraq.

On 20 November 2004, George Galloway gave an interview on Abu Dhabi TV in which he said:[70]

The people who invaded and destroyed Iraq and have murdered more than a million Iraqi people by sanctions and war will burn in Hell in the hell-fires, and their name in history will be branded as killers and war criminals for all time. Fallujah is a Guernica, Falluaja is a Stalingrad, and Iraq is in flames as a result of the actions of these criminals. Not the resistance, not anybody else but these criminals who invaded and fell like wolves upon the people of Iraq. And by the way, those Arab regimes which helped them to do it will burn in the same hell-fires.

On 20 June 2005, he appeared on Al Jazeera English to lambast these two leaders and others.[70]

Bush, and Blair, and the prime minister of Japan, and Silvio Berlusconi, these people are criminals, and they are responsible for mass murder in the world, for the war, and for the occupation, through their support for Israel, and through their support for a globalised capitalist economic system, which is the biggest killer the world has ever known. It has killed far more people than Adolf Hitler. It has killed far more people than George Bush. The economic system which these people support, which leaves most of the people in the world hungry, and without clean water to drink. So we're going to put them on trial, the leaders, when they come. They think they're coming for a holiday in a beautiful country called Scotland; in fact, they're coming to their trial....Ancient freedoms, which we had for hundreds of years, are being taken away from us under the name of the war on terror, when the real big terrorists are the governments of Britain and the United States. They are the real rogue states breaking international law, invading other people's countries, killing their children in the name of anti-terrorism, when in fact, all they're achieving is to make more terrorists in the world, not less, to make the world more dangerous, rather than less.

On 3 February 2006, Galloway was refused entry to Egypt at Cairo Airport and was detained "on grounds of national security", where he had been invited to 'give evidence' at a 'mock trial' of Bush and Blair. After being detained overnight, he said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "apologised on behalf of the Egyptian people", and he was allowed to enter the country. After initial derogatory comments from Galloway and a spokesman from his Respect party regarding Mubarak's pro-Western stance and ties to Bush and Blair, Galloway later commented: "It was a most gracious apology which I accept wholeheartedly. I consider the matter now closed."[71][72]

In an interview with Piers Morgan for GQ Magazine in May 2006, Galloway was asked whether a suicide bomb attack on Tony Blair with "no other casualties" would be morally justifiable "as revenge for the war on Iraq?". He answered "Yes it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it, but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable, and morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq as Blair did." He further stated that if he knew about such a plan that he would inform the relevant authorities, saying: "I would [tell the police], because such an operation would be counterproductive because it would just generate a new wave of anti-Muslim, anti-Arab sentiment whipped up by the press. It would lead to new draconian anti-terror laws, and would probably strengthen the resolve of the British and American services in Iraq rather than weaken it. So yes, I would inform the authorities."[73] Some news analysts, notably Christopher Hitchens, took this to be a call for an attack while appearing not to.[74]

The July 2005 London bombings

In the House of Commons, on the day of the 7 July 2005 London bombings that killed 52 people and injured hundreds, and following a visit to the Royal London Hospital in his constituency where many of the victims had been taken, Galloway condemned the attacks strongly, but argued that they could not be separated from the hatred and bitterness felt among Muslims because of injustices in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan, including injustices, he said, suffered as a result of British foreign policy:

I condemn the act that was committed this morning. I have no need to speculate about its authorship. It is absolutely clear that Islamist extremists, inspired by the al-Qaeda world outlook, are responsible. I condemn it utterly as a despicable act, committed against working people on their way to work, without warning, on tubes and buses. Let there be no equivocation: the primary responsibility for this morning's bloodshed lies with the perpetrators of those acts... The hon. Member for North Durham (Mr. Jones), in an otherwise fine speech, described today's events as "unpredictable". They were not remotely unpredictable. Our own security services predicted them and warned the Government that if we [invaded Iraq] we would be at greater risk from terrorist attacks such as the one that we have suffered this morning... Despicable, yes; but not unpredictable. It was entirely predictable and, I predict, it will not be the last.[75][76]

Winding up the debate for the government in the last moments allotted, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram described Galloway's remarks as "disgraceful" and accused Galloway of "dipping his poisonous tongue in a pool of blood."[77] No time remained for Galloway to intervene and he ran afoul of the Deputy Speaker when trying to make a point of order about Ingram's attack. He later went on to describe Ingram as a "thug" who had committed a "foul-mouthed, deliberately timed, last-10-seconds smear."[78] The men had previously clashed over claims in Galloway's autobiography (see below).

Pakistan coup of 1999

At the time of the 1999 Musharraf coup in Pakistan, he wrote, "In poor third world countries like Pakistan, politics is too important to be left to petty squabbling politicians. Pakistan is always on the brink of breaking apart into its widely disparate components. Only the armed forces can really be counted on to hold such a country together... Democracy is a means, not an end in itself and it has a bad name on the streets of Karachi and Lahore."[79] Nonetheless, on his TalkSport talk radio show, Galloway has been outspoken in criticising the former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf.

Record on LGBT issues

In 1994, Galloway voted in support of the equalisation of the age of consent for homosexuality (which was then 21 years) with that for heterosexuality at 16 years.[80] He also voted against a reduction of the homosexual age of consent to 18.[81] He voted in favour of permitting unmarried and gay couples to adopt children.[82] Critics have claimed that his involvement in the leadership of Respect - which made no explicit mention of gay rights in its 2005 election manifesto[83] and accepted donations from Islamic Party members[84] - raise questions about commitment to those issues, as does his rather poor voting record in parliamentary divisions, 80% of which he missed, during the 2001-5 parliament while still a Glasgow MP.[85] However, Respect's 2005 conference, in which Galloway took part, resolved that explicit defence of equal rights and calls for the end to all discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people would be made in all of its manifestos and principal election materials.[86]

Galloway's assertion on The Wright Stuff chat show (13 March 2008) that the executed boyfriend of homosexual Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi was executed for sex crimes rather than for being homosexual[87] received criticism from Peter Tatchell, among others.[88] Galloway also stated on The Wright Stuff that the case of gay rights in Iran was being used by supporters of war with Iran.

2009 Iranian elections

Galloway has encouraged Western governments to accept the election of the conservative President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, contradicting the position of the exiled Iranian left.[89]

Humanitarian work

Mariam Appeal

In 1998 Galloway founded the Mariam Appeal, intended "to campaign against sanctions on Iraq which are having disastrous effects on the ordinary people of Iraq". The campaign was named after Mariam Hamza, a child flown by the fund from Iraq to Britain to receive treatment for leukaemia. The intention was to raise awareness of the suffering and death of hundreds of thousands of other Iraqi children due to poor health conditions and lack of suitable medicines and facilities, and to campaign for the lifting of the Iraq sanctions that many maintained were responsible for that situation.

The fund received scrutiny during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, after a complaint that Galloway used some of the donation money to pay his travel expenses.[90] Galloway said that the expenses were incurred in his capacity as the Appeal's chairman. Although the Mariam Appeal was never a registered charity and never intended to be such, it was investigated by the Charity Commission. The report of this year-long inquiry, published in June 2004,[91] found that the Mariam Appeal was doing charitable work (and so ought to have registered with them), but did not substantiate allegations that any funds had been misused.

A further Charity Commission Report published on 7 June 2007 found that the Appeal had received funds from Fawaz Zureikat that originated from the Oil For Food programme, and concluded that: "Although Mr Galloway, Mr Halford and Mr Al-Mukhtar have confirmed that they were unaware of the source of Mr Zureikat’s donations, the Commission has concluded that the charity trustees should have made further enquiries when accepting such large single and cumulative donations to satisfy themselves as to their origin and legitimacy. The Commission’s conclusion is that the charity trustees did not properly discharge their duty of care as trustees to the Appeal in respect of these donations." They added: "The Commission is also concerned, having considered the totality of the evidence before it, that Mr Galloway may also have known of the connection between the Appeal and the Programme".[92] Galloway responded: "I've always disputed the Commission's retrospective view that a campaign to win a change in national and international policy—a political campaign—was, in fact, a charity."[93]

Viva Palestina aid convoy

In response to the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, in January 2009 Galloway instigated the Viva Palestina aid convoy to the Gaza Strip. On 14 February 2009, after raising over £1 million-worth of humanitarian aid in four weeks, Galloway and hundreds of volunteers launched the convoy comprising approximately 120 vehicles intended for use in the Strip, including a fire engine donated by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), 12 ambulances, a boat and trucks full of medicines, tools, clothes, blankets and gifts for children. The 5,000-mile route passed through Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.[94]

On 20 February, Galloway condemned Lancashire Police after they arrested nine of the volunteers under the Terrorism Act a day before the convoy's launch. Galloway said: "The arrests were clearly deliberately timed for the eve of the departure of the convoy. Photographs of the high-profile snatch on the M65 were immediately fed to the press to maximise the newsworthiness of the smear that was being perpetrated on the convoy." Viva Palestina reported an 80% drop in donations following the broadcast of the arrests and the police allegations on the BBC.[95]

The convoy arrived in Gaza on 9 March,[96] accompanied by approximately 180 extra trucks of aid donated by Libya's Gaddafi Foundation. All the British aid was delivered with the exception of the fire engine and boat which were blocked by the Egyptian government. The boat is to be delivered later in a flotilla of craft which Viva Palestina! intends to take into Gaza harbour.[97] On 10 March 2009, Galloway announced at a press conference in Gaza City attended by several senior Hamas officials: "We are giving you now 100 vehicles and all of their contents, and we make no apology for what I am about to say. We are giving them to the elected government of Palestine," adding he would personally donate three cars and 25,000 pounds to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.[98]

The Charity Commission opened a statutory inquiry into Viva Palestinia! on 23 March 2009, citing concerns over the finances, use of funds for non-charitable purposes, and the lack of "substantive response" to their repeated requests.[99] George Galloway admitted that the appeal had not responded to the requests, but argued that a substantive response was anyway due to be passed to the Charity Commission only hours after they launched the inquiry. He argued that the Charity Commission's actions were suspicious, hinting that they might be politically motivated.[99] On 8 April 2009, Galloway joined Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic to launch Viva Palestina US.[100]

A third Viva Palestina convoy began at the end of 2009. On 8 January 2010, Galloway and his colleague Ron McKay were deported from Egypt immediately upon entry from Gaza. They had been attempting to help take about 200 aid trucks into the Gaza Strip. They were driven by the police to the airport and put on a plane to London. The previous day an Egyptian soldier had been killed during a clash at the border with Hamas loyalists. Several Palestinians were also injured.[101][102]

Corruption allegations and other controversies

Oil for Food

Daily Telegraph libel case

On 22 April 2003, the Daily Telegraph published an article describing documents found by its reporter David Blair in the ruins of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. The documents purport to be records of meetings between Galloway and Iraqi intelligence agents, and state that he had received £375,000 per year from the proceeds of the Oil for Food programme. Galloway completely denied the story, and pointed to the nature of the discovery within an unguarded, bombed-out building as being questionable. He instigated legal action against the newspaper, which was heard in the High Court from 14 November 2004.[103]

On 2 December, Justice David Eady ruled that the story had been "seriously defamatory", and that the Telegraph was "obliged to compensate Mr Galloway ... and to make an award for the purposes of restoring his reputation". Galloway was awarded £150,000 damages plus costs estimated to total £1.2 million. The court did not grant leave to appeal; in order to appeal in the absence of leave, the defendants would have to petition the House of Lords.

The libel case was regarded by both sides as an important test of the Reynolds qualified-privilege defence.[104] The Daily Telegraph did not attempt to claim justification (a defence in which the defendant bears the onus of proving that the defamatory reports are true): "It has never been the Telegraph's case to suggest that the allegations contained in these documents are true".[105] Instead, the paper sought to argue that it acted responsibly because the allegations it reported were of sufficient public interest to outweigh the damage caused to Galloway's reputation. However, the court ruled that, "It was the defendants' primary case that their coverage was no more than 'neutral reportage' ... but the nature, content and tone of their coverage cannot be so described."

The issue of whether the documents were genuine was likewise not at issue at the trial. However, it later transpired that the expert hired by Galloway's lawyers, a forensic expert named Oliver Thorne, said "In my opinion the evidence found fully supports that the vast majority of the submitted documents are authentic."[106] He added "It should be noted that I am unable to comment on the veracity of the information within the disputed Telegraph documents, whether or not they are authentic."

The Telegraph lost their appeal on 25 January 2006, the same day as Galloway's Big Brother eviction, and on 15 February 2006, the newspaper announced it would not be seeking leave to appeal.[citation needed]

Others

The Christian Science Monitor also published a story on 25 April 2003, stating that they had documentary evidence that he had received "more than ten million dollars" from the Iraqi regime. However, on 20 June 2003, the Monitor reported[107] that their own investigation had concluded the documents were sophisticated forgeries, and apologised. Galloway rejected the newspaper's apology, asserted that the affair was a conspiracy against him, and continued a libel claim against the paper.

The Christian Science Monitor settled the claim, paying him an undisclosed sum in damages, on 19 March 2004.[108][109] It emerged that these documents had first been offered to the Daily Telegraph, but they had rejected them. The documents' origin remains obscure.

In January 2004, a further set of allegations were made in al-Mada, a newspaper in Iraq. The newspaper claimed to have found documents in the Iraqi national oil corporation showing that Galloway received (through an intermediary) some of the profits arising from the sale of 19.5 million barrels (3,100,000 m³) of oil. Galloway acknowledged that money had been paid into the Mariam Appeal by Iraqi businessmen who had profited from the UN-run programme, but denied benefiting personally, and maintained that, in any case, there was nothing illicit about this:

It is hard to see what is dishonourable, let alone "illicit", about Arab nationalist businessmen donating some of the profits they made from legitimate UN-controlled business with Iraq to anti-sanctions campaigns, as opposed to, say, keeping their profits for themselves.

The report of the Iraq Survey Group published in October 2004 claimed that Galloway was one of the recipients of a fund used by Iraq to buy influence among foreign politicians. Galloway denied receiving any money from Saddam Hussein's regime. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards had begun an investigation into George Galloway but suspended it when Galloway launched legal action. On 14 December, it was announced that this investigation would resume[citation needed].

U.S. Senate

Allegations
Evidence presented to the Committee (contract M/9/23); George Galloway's name appears next to Fawaz Zureikat in a different font and at an angle to the rest of the text on that line (number 23 in the list

In May 2005, a U.S. Senate committee report[110] accused Galloway along with former French minister Charles Pasqua of receiving the right to buy oil under the UN's oil-for-food scheme. The report was issued by the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican from Minnesota. The report cited further documents from the Iraqi oil ministry and interviews with Iraqi officials.

Coleman's committee said Pasqua had received allocations worth 11 million barrels (1,700,000 m3) from 1999 to 2000, and Galloway received allocations worth 20 million barrels (3,200,000 m3) from 2000 to 2003. The allegations against Pasqua and Galloway, both outspoken opponents of U.N. sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s, have been made before, including in an October report by U.S. arms inspector Charles Duelfer as well as in the various purported documents described earlier in this section. But Coleman's report provided several new details. It also included information from interrogations of former high-ranking officials in U.S. custody, including former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan. Among the claims is that there is new evidence to suggest that the Mariam Appeal, a children's leukaemia charity founded by Galloway, was in fact used to conceal oil payments. The report cites Ramadan as saying under interrogation that Galloway was allocated oil "because of his opinions about Iraq."

Detail of contract M/12/14 (click on image for high-resolution version)

Socialist Worker reported what they say is evidence that the key Iraqi oil ministry documents regarding oil allocations, in which Galloway's name appears six times (contracts M/08/35, M/09/23,[111] M/10/38, M/11/04,[112] M/12/14, M/13/48[113]) have been tampered with. They published a copy of contract M/09/23 and allege that George Galloway's name appears to have been added in a different font and at a different angle to the rest of the text on that line. In these documents (relating to oil allocations 8-13), Galloway is among just a few people whose nationality is never identified, whilst Zureikat is the only one whose nationality is identified in one instance but not in others.[114] Galloway combatively countered the charges by accusing Coleman and other pro-war politicians of covering up the "theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth... on your watch" that had occurred under a post-invasion Coalition Provisional Authority, committed by "Halliburton and other American corporations... with the connivance of your own government."[115][116]

Galloway's response

On 17 May 2005, the committee held a hearing concerning specific allegations (of which Galloway was one part) relating to improprieties surrounding the Oil-for-Food programme. Attending Galloway's oral testimony and enquiring of him were two of the thirteen committee members: the chair (Coleman) and the ranking Democrat (Carl Levin).[117]

Upon Galloway's arrival in the US, he told Reuters, "I have no expectation of justice from a group of Christian fundamentalist and Zionist activists under the chairmanship of a neo-con George Bush". Galloway described Coleman as a "pro-war, neo-con hawk and the lickspittle of George W. Bush", who, he said, sought revenge against anyone who did not support the invasion of Iraq.

In his testimony, Galloway made the following statements in response to the allegations against him:[118]

Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader, and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf. Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.

He questioned the reliability of evidence given by former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, stating that the circumstances of his captivity by American forces call into question the authenticity of the remarks. Galloway also pointed out an error in the report, where documents by The Daily Telegraph were said to have covered an earlier period from those held by the Senate. In fact the report's documents referred to the same period as those used by the The Daily Telegraph, though Galloway pointed out that the presumed forgeries pertaining to the Christian Science Monitor report did refer to an earlier period.

Galloway also denounced the invasion of Iraq as having been based on "a pack of lies" in his Senate testimony. The U.S. media, in reporting his appearance, emphasised his blunt remarks on the war. The British media gave generally more positive coverage; TV presenter Anne Robinson said Galloway "quite frankly put the pride back in British politics" when introducing him for a prime time talk show.[119][120]

Alleged false or misleading testimony

A report by the then-majority Republican Party staff of the United States Senate Committee on Investigations published in October 2005 asserted that Galloway had given false "or misleading"[121] testimony under oath when appearing before them. The report exhibits bank statements it claims show that £85,000 of proceeds from the Oil-for-Food Programme had been paid to Galloway's then-wife Amineh Abu-Zayyad. Galloway reiterated his denial of the charges and challenged the U.S. Senate committee to charge him with perjury. He claimed Coleman's motive was revenge over the embarrassment of his appearance before the committee in May.[122][123][124]

Controversies at university debating societies

On 2 November 2006, The Times reported that Galloway was in a fracas at the Oxford Union. He was there to discuss his book. (Galloway, George (2006). Fidel Castro Handbook. MQ Publications. ISBN 1-84072-688-1. ) In his speech to the Union, Galloway claimed "that democracy in Cuba is more “free” than in the UK", and when questioned on this, he mentioned "that Oxford students are too privileged to understand what he was talking about".[125] Three former state school students who met him afterwards and disputed this description, allege that Galloway said: "I don’t represent anyone’s views. I represent me. I don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks."[125] and: "You are confusing me with someone who gives a fuck". When the students tried to get Galloway to apologise, he asked for them to be removed from the room, but they left of their own accord. His assistant, Kevin Ovenden, alleged that the students Galloway swore at carried offensive placards, which was the cause of his behaviour, although the students denied this.[125] His comments were criticised by several MPs, including Boris Johnson, who said: "there’s no need to swear" and Stephen Pound said: "If he wishes to be respected by anyone other than Fidel Castro he should apologise."[125] A response to the incident on the Oxford Student website can be found.[126]

Sectarian attack at airport

On 10 June 2007, Galloway claimed that he was the victim of a sectarian attack at Glasgow Airport.[127][128] He believes that his attackers were on the way home from attending an Orange Order parade in London and that they attacked him because he is a Celtic fan.[129] However, no arrest was made in connection with this.

Support for Soviet Union

Galloway once stated "I am on the anti-imperialist left... If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life. If there was a Soviet Union today, we would not be having this conversation about plunging into a new war in the Middle East, and the US would not be rampaging around the globe."[130]

Forbidden to enter Canada

On 20 March 2009, Galloway was advised by the Canada Border Services Agency he was deemed inadmissible to Canada on "security grounds" due to his involvement in the Viva Palestina aid convoy to the Gaza Strip following the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.[131] The Gaza Strip is governed by Hamas, which is on Canada's list of terrorist organisations. This resulted from a personal donation of £25,000 made by Galloway ten days earlier. The Canadians ruled (and maintained on appeal) that this constituted explicit support for Hamas, although Galloway argued it was not the case as the money was intended to be used for aid purposes. [132][133]

Galloway was on a lecture tour of North America, and was due to speak on war prevention and Gaza at events in Mississauga, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Galloway was also described as an "infandous street-corner Cromwell" by Alykhan Velshi, a former lobbyist for the predominantly neoconservative[134] American Enterprise Institute, who was then working as communications director for Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. Galloway described the ban as "idiotic"[135] and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was accused by Jack Layton, leader of Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP), of being a "minister of censorship."[136]

Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, the group who invited Galloway to Canada, sought an emergency injunction to allow for his entry into Canada for the first speech in Toronto citing their rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression.[131] On 30 March 2009, the Federal Court of Canada upheld the decision of the Canada Border Services Agency.[137] Justice Luc Martineau cited non-citizens "do not have an unqualified right to enter in Canada. The admission of a foreign national to this country is a privilege determined by statute, regulation or otherwise, and not as a matter of right." The judge also noted "a proper factual record and the benefit of full legal argument...are lacking at the present time."[131] Subsequently, Galloway cancelled his Canadian tour and instead, delivered his speech over video link from New York to his Canadian audiences.[138]

Forbidden to enter Egypt

On 8 January 2010, Galloway and his colleague Ron McKay were deported from Egypt immediately upon entry from Gaza. He had been attempting to help take 200 aid trucks into the blockaded Gaza Strip. They were driven by the police to the airport and put on a plane to London. The previous day an Egyptian soldier had been killed during clashes at the border with Hamas loyalists. Several Palestinians were also injured.[139] [140] The Foreign Ministry of Egypt released a statement reading: "George Galloway is considered persona non grata and will not be allowed to enter into Egypt again". Shortly after his deportation Galloway said, "It is a badge of honour to be deported by a dictatorship" and "I've been thrown out of better joints than that."[141][142] He also vowed to go back to the Gaza strip. The Daily Record described his mood as "defiant".[142]

Publishing / media activities

Asian Voice

Galloway has been involved in several publishing companies. He owned Asian Voice, which published a newspaper called East from 1996. It later transpired that the Pakistan Government was funding Galloway's company Asian Voice with several hundred-thousand-pounds. "Documents show that the Pakistan government agreed an initial budget for the weekly newspaper of £547,000. According to a memorandum dated 2 January 1996, the Pakistan government proposed to "covertly sponsor" the publication, with money allocated to "the Secret Fund of the High Commissioner for Pakistan in the UK as a special grant for the project".[143] The Commons Committee cleared Galloway of any wrongdoing in this matter.[144]

Autobiography

His autobiography, I'm Not The Only One, was published on 28 April 2004. The book's title is a quotation from the song "Imagine" by John Lennon. Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram applied for an interim interdict to prevent the book's publication. Ingram asserted that Galloway's text, which stated that Ingram "played the flute in a sectarian, anti-Catholic, Protestant-supremacist Orange Order band", was in bad faith and defamatory, although Ingram's lawyers conceded that for a year as a teenager he had been a member of a junior Orange Lodge in Barlanark, Glasgow, and had attended three parades. The Judge, Lord Kingarth, decided to refuse an interim interdict, that the balance of the arguments favoured Galloway's publisher, and that the phrase "sectarian, anti-Catholic, Protestant-supremacist" was fair comment on that organisation. Although Ingram was not and never had been a flute-player, the defending advocate observed that "playing the flute carries no obvious defamatory imputation ... it is not to the discredit of anyone that he plays the flute." The judge ruled that Ingram should pay the full court costs of the hearing.[145]

Celebrity Big Brother

In January 2006 Galloway appeared on the fourth series of the reality show for three weeks. He was seen dancing in a leotard[146] and imitating a cat drinking milk.[147]

talkSPORT

The Mother of All Talk Shows
Genre Political discussion
Running time Friday & Saturday 10.00PM-01.00AM
Country UK
Languages English
Home station talkSPORT
Syndicates Talk 107
Recording studio Central London
Opening theme The theme from Top Cat

On 11 March 2006, Galloway started broadcasting on Britain's biggest commercial radio station, the UTV-owned talkSPORT, and two weeks later started a simultaneous broadcast on Talk 107, TalkSPORT's Edinburgh-based sister station.

Billed as "The Mother Of All Talk Shows", Galloway starts every broadcast by playing the theme from the Top Cat cartoon series. UTV said that Galloway was pulling in record call numbers and the highest ever ratings for its weekend slots, even pulling in more than the station's Football First programme.

On 3 January 2009, a controversy erupted when Galloway was abruptly replaced by the "more balanced" Ian Collins after Galloway was manhandled by riot police at the London protest against the Israel's air bombardment of the Gaza Strip and on the evening of Israel's ground invasion of the territory.[148]

The Real Deal

On 21 May 2007, Galloway started presenting a television programme known as The Real Deal on Raj TV, a channel aimed at the Asian community in Britain available on Sky channel 171. After 10 February 2008, this show is back again and is hosted on Press TV, a Tehran-based channel.

Comment

A 45 minute weekly show that invites the viewers to engage in lively debate with Galloway, on the most contemporary controversial issues focusing on the world today.[149] It is based from the London-bureau of Press TV.

Mazher Mahmood

In March 2006 Galloway claimed in a statement that Mazher Mahmood, an undercover reporter for the News of the World who uses a disguise as a sheikh to frame celebrities, targeted him in an alleged sting operation. Galloway claims that Mahmood and an accomplice tried but failed to implicate him in illegal party funding, and to agree with anti-Semitic statements. Galloway wrote to the Metropolitan police commissioner and the Speaker of the House of Commons about the incident. He also released photographs of Mahmood and revealed other aspects of his activities.[150][151] The News of the World lost a High Court action to prevent publication of photographs of Mahmood.[152]

Fidel Castro Handbook

Galloway also published the Fidel Castro Handbook, a biography of the former Cuban President in 2006 (MQ Publications. ISBN 1-84072-688-1).

Friction Books

In 2005 Galloway established Friction Books, an imprint for fiction and non-fiction, with longstanding associate Ron McKay.[153] Friction claimed its purpose was to publish "books that burn, books that cause controversy and get people talking". As of 2009 it has released at least two books: Paco Ignacio Taibo II novel An Easy Thing[154] and Topple the Mighty by Leon Kuhn and Colin Gile.[155]

Big Brother's Big Mouth

Galloway acted as the guest presenter for the E4 companion programme to the 2007 edition of Big Brother, Big Brother's Big Mouth, from 5 June to 8 June 2007.

TV and film appearances

  • INN World Report (US) (2009) (TV)[156]
  • Question Time (numerous appearances) - Panellist answering questions
  • As a policeman, in Ugly Rumours "War", 25 February 2007[157]
  • Our Story Our Voice (2007)
  • The Friday Night Project (2007)
  • Offside (BBC Scotland football talk show) (2006-12-04)
  • 30 Greatest Political Comedies (2006) (TV)
  • The Wright Stuff - Panellist
  • The Late Late Show (1 programmes, 2006)
  • Richard & Judy (2 programmes, 2006)
  • Tubridy Tonight (2006)
  • Celebrity Big Brother (23 episodes, 2006)
  • Have I Got News For You - Panellist (2003)

Daily Record column

From 25 June 2007 Galloway has a column in the Daily Record giving his views on Scottish politics.

As an orator

According to the Boston Globe, Galloway is "known, even in the highly articulate world of British politics, for his memorable turns of phrase",[158] whereas The Times finds that he has "the gift of the Glasgow gab, a love of the stage and an inexhaustible fund of self-belief."[159] The Guardian finds him "renowned for his colourful rhetoric and combative debating style"[160] and the Spectator once awarded him Debater of the Year. Sometimes this general acknowledgement of Galloway's rhetorical capacity is accompanied by criticism that he is evasive (Scotsman, "ducked the question"[161]).

See also

References

  1. ^ "Galloway to speak out on Gaza, war". IndyBay. 2009-05-21. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/21/18596731.php. 
  2. ^ "Galloway expelled by Labour". BBC. 2003-10-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3205889.stm. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  3. ^ "George Galloway profile". bbc online. 2007-07-17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4539429.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  4. ^ "Profile of George Galloway", BBC News, 22 April 2003. Retrieved on 8 September 2007.
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External links

Video

General

"MP George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens Debate the Iraq War". Baruch Performing Arts Center. 2005-09-14. http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/bpac/calendar/event.php?id=142. Retrieved 2008-08-21.  (Prequel to Galloway vs Hitchens debate held at CUNY)

Articles and news reports

US Congressional testimony & related

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Roy Jenkins
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead
19871997
Constituency Abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Glasgow Kelvin
19972005
Preceded by
Oona King
Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow
2005–present
Incumbent

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

George Galloway

George Galloway (born August 16, 1954) is a Scottish politician, author and talkshow host noted for his left-wing views, confrontational style, and rhetorical skill. He has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1987 and currently represents Respect for the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. He was previously a Labour Party MP for Glasgow Hillhead and for Glasgow Kelvin.

Sourced

  • Your Excellency, Mr President: I greet you, in the name of the many thousands of people in Britain who stood against the tide and opposed the war and aggression against Iraq and continue to oppose the war by economic means, which is aimed to strangle the life out of the great people of Iraq. I greet you, too, in the name of the Palestinian people, amongst whom I've just spent two weeks in the occupied Palestinian territories. I can honestly tell you that there was not a single person to whom I told I was coming to Iraq and hoping to meet with yourself who did not wish me to convey their heartfelt, fraternal greetings and support. And this was true, especially at the base in the refugee camps of Jabaliyah and Beach Camp in Gaza, in the Balatah refugee camp in Nablus and on the streets of the towns and villages in the occupied lands.

    I thought the president would appreciate knowing that even today, three years after the war, I still met families who were calling their newborn sons Saddam; and that two weeks ago, when I was trapped inside the Orient House, which is the Palestinian headquarters in al-Quds [Jerusalem], with 5,000 armed mustwatinin [settlers] outside demonstrating, pledging to tear down the Palestinian flag from the flagpole, the hundreds of shabab [youths] inside the compound were chanting that they wish to be with a DSh K [machine gun] in Baghdad to avenge the eyes of Abu Jihad. And the Youth Club in Silwan, which is the one of the most resistant of all the villages around Jerusalem, asked me to ask the president's permission if they could enrol him as an honourary member of their club and to present him with this flag from holy Jerusalem.

    I wish to say, sir, that I believe that we are turning the tide in Europe, that the scale of the humanitarian disaster which has been imposed upon the Iraqi people is now becoming more and more widely known and accepted. Fifty-five British members of parliament opposed the war, but 125 are demanding the lifting of the embargo; and this does not include the invisible section of the Conservative Party who must also be moving in that direction, and Sir Edward Heath is being a very persuasive advocate inside the Conservative Party.

    It is my belief that we must convey the very clear picture that 1994 has to be the year of the ending of the embargo against Iraq. Otherwise, famine and all the awful consequences, including acts of despair by Iraqis, will be the result; and this is the message we must convey to civilized opinion in Europe.

    Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability, and I want you to know that we are with you, hatta al-nasr, hatta al-nasr, hatta al-Quds [until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem].

    • "'I greet you in the name of thousands of Britons'", The Times, January 20, 1994, citing BBC monitoring service at 9 PM on January 19 as its source.
    • Speech to Saddam Hussein, January 19, 1994.[1]
  • "I am on the anti-imperialist left." The Stalinist left? "I wouldn't define it that way because of the pejoratives loaded around it; that would be making a rod for your own back. If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life. If there was a Soviet Union today, we would not be having this conversation about plunging into a new war in the Middle East, and the US would not be rampaging around the globe."
    • Simon Hattenstone, "Saddam and me", The Guardian, September 16, 2002
  • There are elections and elections, there are many Arab presidents who are elected with 99.9, 94.7, 87.4 percent of the vote in elections but nobody believes these elections. They're not real elections and the election that's going to be held in Iraq in January, if it is held at all - and there is a big question mark over that – will not be a real election. How can you have a real election with hundreds of thousands of Crusader soldiers occupying the country, drawing up the electoral law, deciding who is allowed to take part in the elections, and utterly dominating the political life of the country?
  • The people who invaded and destroyed Iraq and have murdered more than a million Iraqi people by sanctions and war will burn in Hell in the hell-fires, and their name in history will be branded as killers and war criminals for all time. Fallujah is a Guernica, Falluaja is a Stalingrad, and Iraq is in flames as a result of the actions of these criminals. Not the resistance, not anybody else but these criminals who invaded and fell like wolves upon the people of Iraq. And by the way, those Arab regimes which helped them to do it will burn in the same hell-fires.
  • Why don't you go and take some more drugs, you druggie?
    • Johann Hari, The Independent, April 21, 2005
    • In response to Hari's question on how many people have been killed by Galloway's friend Tariq Aziz.
  • Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf. Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.
  • I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defense made of his.
  • You have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad. There were 270 names on that list originally. That's somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that committee included the former secretary to his Holiness Pope John Paul II, the former head of the African National Congress Presidential office and many others who had one defining characteristic in common: they all stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you vociferously prosecuted and which has led us to this disaster.
  • I am speaking for tens of millions, and maybe more, around the world, who know the truth about Iraq. Who know that the real criminals are in Washington. Not in the United Nations. The real criminals are in the White House, not in the Elysee Palace. The real criminals are in the Congress, not in the anti-war movement.
  • Bush, and Blair, and the prime minister of Japan, and Berlusconi, these people are criminals, and they are responsible for mass murder in the world, for the war, and for the occupation, through their support for Israel, and through their support for a globalized capitalist economic system, which is the biggest killer the world has ever known. It has killed far more people than Adolf Hitler. It has killed far more people than George Bush. The economic system which these people support, which leaves most of the people in the world hungry, and without clean water to drink. So we're going to put them on trial, the leaders, when they come. They think they're coming for a holiday in a beautiful country called Scotland; in fact, they're coming to their trial.
  • I can't mention, I'm sorry to say, any Arab leader... Where is the... Nasser? Where is the Arab leader who will stand up and tell these people the truth? This is what we are waiting for.
  • We want to make reparation to the Palestinian people for the crimes of Balfour which were committed in the building behind me, when one person, on behalf of one country, promised a second people the lands of a third people - the Palestinians. We are determined that we should stop the privatization of basic services of the British people. We are determined to defend the liberty of the British people which is being taken away day by day under the name of anti-terrorism. Ancient freedoms, which we had for hundreds of years, are being taken away from us under the name of the war on terror, when the real big terrorists are the governments of Britain and the United States. They are the real rogue states breaking international law, invading other people's countries, killing their children in the name of anti-terrorism, when in fact, all they're achieving is to make more terrorists in the world, not less, to make the world more dangerous, rather than less. These are our priorities.
  • The most foreign fighters in Iraq are wearing British and American uniforms. The level of self-delusion is bordering frankly on the racist. The vast majority of the people of Iraq are against the occupation of Iraq by the American and British forces.
  • People like Mr Hitchens are ready to fight to the last drop of other people's blood, and it's utterly and completely contemptible.
  • All dignified people in the world, whether Arabs or Muslims or others with dignity, are very proud of the speech made by president Bashar al-Assad a few days ago here in Damascus. For me he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that's why I'm proud to be here.
  • The reason that Syria is facing this crisis is not because of any bad thing which Syria has done or any weaknesses within its democracy, or within its economy, or within its human rights record - and there are weaknesses in all three of these. The reason why Syria is being threatened is not because of anything bad which she did, but because of the good which she is doing. That's the reason why Syria is being threatened - because she will not betray the Palestinian resistance, because she will not betray the Lebanese resistance, Hizbullah, because she will not sign a shameful surrender-peace with General Sharon, and above all - more than any of these others - because Syria will not allow her country to be used as a military base for America to crush the resistance in Iraq. These are the reasons why Syria is being targeted by these imperial powers.
  • So I say to you, citizens of the last Arab country, this is a time for courage, for unity, for wisdom, for determination, to face these enemies with the dignity your president has shown, and I believe, God willing, we will prevail and triumph, wa-salam aleikum.
  • This murder of Hariri was deliberately planned and executed precisely to implicate Syria and to set in train the events which have unfolded.
  • Not at all; not at all... as is obvious now; now they admit that. He was hated by political opponents as he suppressed all opposition political forces, but he wasn't hated by the ordinary Iraqi - no, not at all.
    • "Galloway Party Turn on him", Daily Record, January 12, 2006
    • Responding to Rula Lenska's question "Was he [Saddam] hated by the ordinary [Iraqi] people?" while in the Celebrity Big Brother 2006 house.
  • Pipe down Mr Indignation. We'll see what the viewers thought of your double standards, your indignation about me and the aplomb with which you become a lying plutocrat in your gentleman's club.
  • Poor me, poor me, pour me another.
    • "Big Brother's history of bother", BBC News online, January 17, 2007
    • Referring to recovering alcoholic Michael Barrymore while in the Celebrity Big Brother 2006 house.
  • I had three goals and all of them were met.
    • Interview in Metro, May 2, 2006
    • Asked whether appearing on Celebrity Big Brother was a mistake.
  • Israel is invading Lebanon and has killed thirty times more Lebanese civilians than have died in Israel, so it’s you who should be justifying the evident bias which is written on every line on your face, and is in every nuance of your voice, and is loaded in every question that you ask.
  • One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. You are totally wrong in saying that in most people’s eyes Hezbollah are terrorists. In most people’s eyes Israel is a terrorist state. It’s the fact that you cannot comprehend that fact that leads to bias that runs through all of your reporting and every question that you’ve asked me in this interview!
  • What a silly question! What a silly person you are! Hezbollah is winning the war; you can see on the other half of the screen. Hezbollah is more popular today in Lebanon amongst Christians, amongst Sunnis, amongst Shiite, amongst all Arabs, amongst all Muslims that it has ever been. It’s Israel who’s lost the war, and Bush and Blair for politically organizing the war, who’ve lost politically. This is a defeat of Bush and Blair and Israel. Everybody but you can see it!
  • You don’t give a damn! You don’t give a damn, you don’t even know about the Palestinian families! You don’t even know that they exist! Tell me the name of one member of the seven members of the same family slaughtered on the beach in Gaza by an Israeli warship. You don’t even know their names! But you know the name of every Israeli soldier who has been taken prisoner in this conflict. Because you believe whether you know it or not that Israeli blood is more valuable than the blood of Lebanese or Palestinians. That’s the truth, and the discerning of your viewers already know it.
    • Interview on Sky News, August 6, 2006
    • After Sky news reporter says about isreali soldiers:"I have to say some people might find it offensive when there are more families mourning their dead."
  • Well, I don’t agree that it’s genocide, but I definitely agree that there’s suffering going on there.
  • These extremist Islamists locked me in a room and threatened to hang me because we are the democratic alternative to them. We say to young Muslims: we know that you’re angry, you’re right to be angry. But the best way to be angry is to hit the government where it hurts, through politics, through the ballot box, through elections, through engaging with non-Muslims to build a broad front to bring about a change in policies at home and abroad.
  • Christianity doesn't come into it. George Bush and Tony Blair are not Christians. Religious people believe in the prophets, peace be upon them. Bush believes in the profits and how to get a piece of them. So don't ever confuse this with a war of civilizations.
  • Interview with George Stroumboulopoulos of the CBC's The Hour, November 20, 2006

References

  1. Galloway disputes the reporting of this quote and has repeatedly stated that the conclusion was a salute to "the Iraqi people" rather than Saddam Hussein personally.

External links

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