No, Mr Galloway, you're not in the clear yet
By Charles Moore, Editor of The Daily Telegraph
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"What's happening with George Galloway, then?" people ask me, and I find that many of them think that The Daily Telegraph has long since received a libel writ from the Labour MP. This is not surprising, for in the two months since we published official Iraqi documents purporting to show that Mr Galloway took large sums from Saddam Hussein's regime, the Labour backbencher has spoken repeatedly, excitedly and inaccurately about the case.
He has talked of "black propaganda" and "intelligence hocus-pocus". He has even suggested that we might be in the business of churning out forgeries in Arabic to destroy him. He has spread scurrilous misrepresentations of our correspondent David Blair's account of how he found these documents. But he has failed to cast any doubt on their authenticity. And, no, he has not yet issued a libel writ.
What Mr Galloway can now justifiably say is that an entirely different set of documents was doubtful. Yesterday the Christian Science Monitor in Boston confirmed that papers it published purporting to show that Mr Galloway accepted Iraqi largesse running into millions of dollars were "almost certainly" fakes. The Mail on Sunday has already exposed as crude forgeries further papers from the same source.
These revelations have no bearing whatsoever on our story, but in telling Sky News yesterday how the Monitor's experts had unmasked their documents as forgeries, Mr Galloway promised that ours too would "meet the same fate". He was ignoring the fact that those experts went on to say they believed ours to be consistent with genuine Iraqi documents.
"This tells you something," he hinted to BBC radio on Tuesday. "There is a market in forged documents about me." There may be a market, but The Daily Telegraph is not part of it: we paid nothing for our story, no one supplied it to us, and our documents are not forged.