Government urged to ban Galloway's Big Brother charity

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Government urged to ban Galloway's Big Brother charity

Postby emad » Sun Jan 15, 2006 2:48 pm

<br>By Melissa Kite and Patrick Hennessy<br>(Filed: 15/01/2006)<br><br>A charity that stands to make a six-figure sum from George Galloway's appearance on Celebrity Big Brother is at the centre of a diplomatic row between Britain, the United States and Israel.<br><br>After days of controversy over Mr Galloway's antics in the Big Brother house, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal that Israel's ambassador to London will hold urgent talks with a Treasury minister this week to demand action be taken against Interpal, the MP's chosen charity.<br><br>The United States is also putting intense pressure on ministers to blacklist the charity, which President George W. Bush has declared a terrorist organisation.<br><br>Interpal, established in 1994, describes itself as "a non-political, non-profit making British charity that focuses solely on the provision of relief and development aid to the poor and needy of Palestine".<br><br>It will benefit from Mr Galloway's appearance fee, expected to be £60,000, and an estimated £100,000 from the text message votes received during the three-week series.<br><br>Interpal, which funds humanitarian and medical projects in the Palestinian territories, has twice been the subject of investigations by the Charity Commission.<br><br>On each occasion it found no evidence of links to terrorism. Despite this, President Bush recently blocked the charity's bank account and declared Interpal a "specially designated global terrorist" organisation. Ministers agreed to talks after the intelligence services advised them to look again at the issue.<br><br>Ibrahim Hewitt, the chairman of Interpal, said: "It is a matter of record that whenever allegations of illegal activity have been made in the past and then subjected to objective scrutiny, Interpal has invariably been given a clean bill of health.<br><br>"Interpal is a British charity and operates in accordance with English Law under the supervision of the Charity Commission, which means that aid is given to beneficiaries purely on the basis of need, not political or religious affiliation.<br><br>"Regrettably, there are many who want to stop the little charitable support we give from actually getting to needy Palestinians. We believe we are targets of the Israeli and US governments purely because we are a Muslim-run charity."<br><br>Last night, a Treasury spokesman said: "We keep this matter under review." Insiders say that Gordon Brown is under "massive domestic and international pressure" to listen to concerns. A senior Whitehall official said: "If the Charity Commission changes its view we would take action immediately."<br><br>Zvi Hefetz, the Israeli ambassador, will meet Ivan Lewis, the economic secretary to the Treasury and a member of Labour Friends of Israel.<br><br>Mr Galloway, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, was lambasted by his constituents this weekend for deserting them and humiliating himself by taking part in Big Brother.<br><br>He boasted on entering the house: "I will talk about racism, bigotry, poverty, the plight of Tower Hamlets, the poorest place in England sandwiched between the twin towers of wealth and privilege in Canary Wharf and the spires of the City."<br><br>Instead, he shocked Muslim constituents by licking imaginary milk from the hands of the actress Rula Lenska.<br><br>Channel 4 said there may have been some editing but said that the main reason for the lack of political debate was that no one else on the show was interested in Mr Galloway's views. A spokesman said: "I know he is quite surprised that no one has asked him about his role. They are just not very inclined to sit round the table and talk to George."<br><br>The anti-war MP boasted of his intention to help Interpal when he entered the house saying "many will eat in the Gaza Strip because I tried". He said of Interpal: "They don't get many opportunities to raise serious amounts of money."<br><br>A Charity Commission investigation in 1996 found that there was no evidence of any channelling of Interpal funds towards the training of suicide bombers.<br><br>The commission said: "It had been alleged that some funds find their way to supporters of terrorism. This is possible in an area of benefit where a significant number of poor and disadvantaged people might support the aims of Hamas.<br><br>"Poverty and need must, however, be the only criteria when deciding how the charity funds are distributed and aid must not be given because of a person's support for terrorism. We found no evidence in the charity of any pro-terrorist bias or indeed any bias of any kind."<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/01/15/ngall15.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/01/15/ixnewstop.html">www.telegraph.co.uk/news/...wstop.html</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br> <p></p><i></i>
emad
 
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Re: Government urged to ban Galloway's Big Brother charity

Postby scollon » Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:03 pm

In my opinion George is and has always been a dodgy bastard. I don't care what his views are or what he does. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Government urged to ban Galloway's Big Brother charity

Postby rocco322 » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:38 pm

The issue shouldn't be Galloway, but should be the fact that Bush and Blair and the powers that be do not want this charity to succeed and have the audacity to call this a "terrorist organization" considering that's a bald faced lie. Theyve been investigated. Twice. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Government urged to ban Galloway's Big Brother charity

Postby scollon » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:51 pm

Actually, I believe Galloway IS the issue here. Blair is more than happy to give him maximum coverage precisely because he's a self serving, publicity seeking liability. For example, he's been on a paid lecture tour of Britain and that just doesn't happen here.<br><br>He makes the whole anti-war movement look shady. That's why congress allowed him to testify in America. The charity is now in the firing line precisely because of George. It gives the Israelis the opportunity to discredit it.<br><br>I knew people that knew George personally, he's a very ambitious operator who has been accused of financial shennanigans long before he was known outside Dundee. <br><br>He has consistently supported the Palestineans, I'll give him that. <p></p><i></i>
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