W: So what else did he do?
AM: All the books. All the
[Inaudible question female
interviewer: part of reply audible:-]
It was articles commissioned
W: He published them?
AM: No. We published them.
He contacted the scientists, the scholars [papers rustled,
goes through list of articles]. And he negotiated with them
the cost; say £1,000 and so on.
W: So he was like the editor
AM: No, no. Just the go
between. Just to negotiate. Because he can approach people.
He is well known. The people knew him so he can approach them
and people can approach him without us appearing officially in
the picture. So that they do not offend the Saudi regime or something
W: You had a press conference,
was it, last August, in the House of Commons?
AM: We had a number of conferences.
W: In the Commons...?
[Tape edit, conversation
picks up again when Al Mass'ari appears to be showing
publications to the
W: -January was he chair
AM: He was the organiser.
W: So he was the organiser.
"Mass'ari must stay" campaign.
AM: A comment about money
and other people being needed for that.
W: So there were a whole
lot of conferences in the Commons booked by Galloway.
AM: Yes. I had nothing to
do with this booking at all. Obviously the booking has to be
by the MP. Not for Hawks or something like that. The booking
was of course, free of charge. The Member who books pays the
costs. Of course, there are costs which Saad would pay. [Some
words not audible]. Sometimes there were costs. He put in
bills for [? things] etc. Sometimes not. Normally there
were costs of a few pounds. Saad would repay the costs.
W: Was there another MP who
was working for Hawk? I think John said there was?
W: He means a Councillor,
AM: There is Imran. There
is a someone - I think David - from the Labour party in Glasgow.
W: David Freeman?
AM: I don't know. I don't
know his name. A Labour party activist in Glasgow.
[Question inaudible from
a women interviewer about Glasgow]
AM: No no. They made shirts
"Mass'ari must stay". And stickers. They were used
for my campaign. In Glasgow. When running for rector in Glasgow.
That was one I think in January and one again in February. There
would be stickers and shirts and so on [describes campaign].
W: What was this business
about the mail shots and some Tory MPs complained about it?
AM: [Inaudible] He
was for a considerable time, before he was forced to [inaudible].
He was sending out reports with a cover letter from himself in
House of Commons envelopes. In the UK. Not the airmail.
W: How many would that have
been. How many would have gone out?
AM: Hundreds. Maybe thousands,
maybe even 15,000 [?]. The mailing lists that he gave
us had not very many international addresses, but the UK addresses
W: You don't get those free?
W: The international ones
AM: No. So this once he
gives us the envelopes. We just tucked them in and [? sealed
- this word is not clear] and sent them.
W: Which report was this?
AM: Every few months there
was a report. So three are out.
W: So how many times did
he do that?
AM: For every report.
W: So how many is that?
3 or 4?
AM: For the UK addresses
1000-1300 or so.
W: How many reports?
AM: Three [gives titles].
W: So you have had three
reports and each one would have gone out to thousands of people.
AM: [Inaudible sentence]
But this one had a larger issue. Saad said [several words
inaudible] so there is this one, the bigger one.
W: So three reports and each
went out to thousands in the UK?
AM: Yes, this the bigger
W: So that was what they
were complaining about; what said was, we condemn him for the
use of Commons facilities?
AM: [Inaudible] Yes,
but it was good for us, because we mailed [inaudible] them
to address in the UK.
AM: So I would say I don't
think that in this relationship George made very much money: except-
W: I am sorry. What was
AM: I think George did not
benefit financially over this, unless this secretary or half a
secretary does not exist ... [several words inaudible],
There is of course Imran. Imran is full-time with him. So I
don't know. There may I suppose be something in this secretary
or other. But I do not believe it was merely money-making, but
the other aspects of the political and moral - [inaudible].
W: What do you think - well
obviously the Conservative MPs were annoyed anyway that Al Mass'ari
was making use of House of Commons envelopes and all that to send
out this mail shot?
AM: It was because it was
used for us.
W: Do you think that they
have go a point if they were to say that it is wrong for George
Galloway to be giving you a hand by saving you some money at the
taxpayers expense when he has already got this kind of business
AM: No the fact that there
was sent out our material, with his covering letter inside - this
would bring him political prestige.
Womans voice: [Words inaudible]
and these were House of Commons envelopes.
AM: House of Commons envelopes,
Womans voice: with his own paper,
AM: House of Commons envelopes,
yes. The standard House of Commons envelopes. No postage is
needed, "On Her Majesty's Service": no postage is needed.
So this is what they complained about. They could not complain
about the content. Very much. There is hardly a risk. All they
can say is, fine, fine, this is nothing to do with the House of
Commons, not House of Commons business. That is what they complained
W: So the other thing he
was doing was always putting forward early day motions, either
about you personally or against the Saudi Arabian regime?
AM: That's his habit.
W: Yes, I know he does this
all the time.
AM: But I don't think there
was anything. Because George is very sophisticated. A very intelligent
man. Saad on his side is not only very tight - with money very
tight, he is also suspicious. If George had ever indicated remotely
that he wanted for any early day motion something Saad would react
immediately. Saad is very odd [?] in this respect. He
thinks others should work for him free. Any money, even from
professionals, he is very tight. So any indication - if Saad
ever got the feeling. Or if George ever said I am doing all these
services and you should take that into consideration - any circumstances
at all - then for Saad this immediately would have been a very
[? bad thing]. And Saad kept very close relations with
him. Until now. So I think that George was sufficiently sophisticated
to avoid anything [like this?].
W: So it is easy to expect
an MP to put forward any motions he wanted to put, but if you
also have, in parallel, you know-
AM: Yes. You can discuss
- I discussed with him, even after all this, [inaudible - perhaps
"terms of early day motions"] He will say what
do you think of this; what do you think of that. Nothing ever
about money - "is this a good idea": that's all "should
I have put a motion about this" - or "is this overkilling
the matter". So it is like two friends. It is in no way
connected with any other favour or any ... because it is not like
that with me. So far as I am concerned it would be OK [one
favour for another]. But Saad is not like this. In his company
it would be very bad. His attitude is "if you support me,
that fine". He would be repelled immediately. His nature
is that area is over odd. So I am confident that there could
not be anything like that.
W: I am not suggesting that
he, as Hawk, said "I am going to put down a motion".
But it seems to me that if you have got a business relationship
with someone, in parallel, then you are going to be more helpful
- he would be easier got on the phone than another MP and so on?
AM: Well, yes - but he would
never allow it to appear like that. The only time I ever came
to know the name of Hawk was when he wrote that first proposal.
And then the name of Hawk was mentioned once or twice in our
relationship, that is all.
W: On the proposal-
AM: He only ever once made
a proposal of that kind. Our relationship was with George. With
Hawk, I never had anything with Hawk to do. For the reports I
explain. They came in draft form. In A4. Then we convey them
to Clark Express documents. Putting out of the tables in the
form of graphs and so on is done by Imran. Imran comes here.
He works in the evening upstairs on these tables. And [inaudible]
under George's instructions [describes Imran's work].
AM: [Inaudible comment]
Womans voice: Is George still
working for [inaudible]?
AM: He is not giving me that
impression. I said I don't want to get involved. I will help
you both as much as I can. What can you do [inaudible].
He contacted me yesterday: yesterday he was very excited. Even
yesterday - and for just one year. Because [conversation apparently
unrelated to CDLR]. He expects from George the [usual
?]. And things for his family.
W: You said just now that
he had put in a proposal for PR work. This was after he was already
working for CDLR?
AM: Yes, before that it was
informal. He makes this - he said there is this and this for
stationery, this and this for inviting people. This and this
for a ticket for someone or other. On occasion, £300, £400.
All these costs were very small. There was never any big money
involved here. Small amount money. On a month to month basis.
Or a job to job basis. It was informal. Only at the beginning
he would say "if I do this thing there is a cost".
W: When he had done something.
When he had done a piece of work. Did he just say, did he send
put in an invoice?
AM: Not always. Sometimes
he would say orally how much. It was very informal. But when
he discussed with Saad doing PR for us instead of John and Pat,
Saad said we need something we can read and discuss. Most likely
Saad was not very comfortable about spending more money. So after
that it came in writing. I took it upstairs. I read it once
or twice. Saad has his own copy. He said it sounds good. George
is for our cause - [inaudible] while these are professionals.
Somehow he did not like John and Pat. Whereas my way is not
to like or dislike. I thought this would not be very wise [inaudible]
- so there were areas which George would never be able to do.
They could concentrate on the media, television etc, etc, while
George would concentrate on the community and the Parliament,
the politicians. So Saad eventually said that's it.
W: He put together his proposal
and put it to you after the speaking tour or before?
AM: [surprised] oh
before, I said - much before - April, May maximum.
W: So you actually took it
up in a sense?
AM: Yes. It is a formal
contract in the sense of "we agree". So, it is not
in writing possibly. But yes, we agree. So its a compact.
W: So you shook hands on
AM: Oh yes. The conversation
was very friendly. There was no problem not having a contract.
I don't think George wanted anything in writing.
W: You just said that he
did not want anything in writing. What was all that about?
AM: No, I don't think that
the contract was written. [Inaudible] I guess he did not
want anyone to know that Hawks was doing anything for CDLR or
for the Arabs cause.
W: He did not want it. You
don't know why?
W: He did not want anything
in writing linking Hawk with CDLR.
AM: Him as a person fine.
But Hawk probably not. He did not want anything. Though the
relationship with Hawks was minimal. In my interpretation still,
W: It seems to me that he
was in a business relationship with a human rights cause. He
would presumably be embarrassed about it.
AM: I [suppose ?]
it's possible. Though his co-operation - this relationship was
not ... mainly for money. So there should be no problem in itself.
Because [inaudible sentence]
W: I have nothing else to
ask but I wonder if we might try to find the contract.
AM: The offer.
W: I'm sorry; the offer.
[Discussion where they might find the offer]
End of tape
BY MARK WATTS ("W"), A FREELANCE JOURNALIST WITH DR
SAAD AL FAGIH
DIRECTOR OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENCE OF LEGITIMATE RIGHTS
W: Does it matter how you
get your message across in Parliament: Here to this country.
Are you constantly giving press conferences in the House of Commons.
Getting Early Day Motions put down and so on. How does that happen?
AF: We have a least two good
friends in Parliament. One is George Galloway and one is Lord
Avebury. They have been very helpful. Very co-operative. Providing
parliamentary facilities and that sort of thing. My belief is
that your credibility is based on your influence in your own country.
And the British would not have [inaudible] a principle
for the sake of business. We are most happy to [inaudible]
W: And the help that George
Galloway provided for press conferences &c. ...? You met
him I think through Said Aburishe. Did you use his PR company
to deal with press conferences or publicity and so on?
AF: No. He and Lord Avebury
were in those days very much in our favour, personally. As far
as we know. They help us in the sense of making it easier to
go to Parliament. George Galloway, he used his influence as an
MP here. We were not using his as a PR. In our experience both
of them have had the same position for some time. George has
been an active politician here for quite a time. He has developed
activity in Kashmir, in Hindustan. And he is very well known
to other friends. So he is the correct man to have Parliamentary
advice from. Very much with the right experience.
W: But there are two sides
here are there not? There is one side as an MP being very helpful
in Parliament. And on the other and his PR company could help
AF: We do not deal with him
for PR at all. We have other PR which is [unfamiliar name:
in arabic?] I think.
W: I thought you were using
Hawk as well?
AF: We considered this but
we thought this is going to be unwise using Hawk because people
would say "no, he is only doing it for the money, the practice
of PR. It will make his services and advice less helpful. His
advice and his service would be as sincere as it would be, without
money. So we thought it would be better not to have - to do this
W: He does it without a contract.
So what does he actually do? On the PR side?
AF: Well he has helped us
with one or two press conferences in the House of Commons. This
has nothing to do with [? PR]. He doesn't do this for
money. If any costs are needed to bring in a crew or somebody
to take [recordings ?] for us, we pay for this. It is
not George Galloway's job or Lord Avebury's to pay for this.
But that is totally parliamentary. Nothing to do with money at
all. What else? He knows some journalists and tries [inaudible].
Whether he is successful or not - I do not know. He has other
W: When he is doing your
press conferences or something like that - there would be no costs.
I thought he did other things. But on the PR side, I thought
he organised a speaking tour where-
AF: Why are you so keen on
all of this?
W: It is interesting, isn't
it. First of all providing support - PR support - on the House
of Commons. And, on the other hand, providing parliamentary support-
AF: Interesting for you perhaps.
With all respect, I don't want to give destructive information
to incriminate somebody. [Inaudible] As far as I know
- of course there may be something I do not know - but up to now
I believe that what this man has done he has done for personal
belief. He believes in what we are doing. Spending time and
effort because this is his belief. And he has done this sort
of work for some other people [gives arabic names] who
had similar problems and he had done this without pay. What we
pay him is the cost of a room or the cost of a conference or the
cost of a [film] crew, or the cost of a lunch or the cost
of a trip. We are fully convinced that this man is [several
W: Did he, in the course
of last year, - my impression from Al Mass'ari was that he [?
provided] CDLR's PR strategy last year - "this is what
I can do for you, don't use Pat and John. Use my company ..."
AF: First of all he has never
[organised CDLR' strategy ?]. Second, he never put any
proposal. We asked him for advice, to help us in the idea of
how to run our campaign. As a politician and as a journalist.
He is still there. He used to write and he still writes. Alright,
we are using someone who is not in the centre of Parliament.
He is not liked a lot by many parliamentarians. But what can
you do. Because of Saudi [? pressure] other people do
not want to deal with us. This man, as far as we know, is very
much in favour of our campaign. We have to appreciate that.
As for providing help and support we have to be grateful.
W: Let us get his clear.
Did you not have a discussion internally within CDLR in which
you discussed what you were going to do. Whether to have Hawk-
AF: Do we have to discuss
this subject? It is now almost an allegation.
W: I just want to get to
the bottom of this subject.
AF: I have told you [?
the position]. It might be interesting for you not [?
for me]. You can ask for this information from someone else.
But I don't want to be involved in this. I believe totally that
George Galloway was doing this [inaudible] cause. This
was his reason. Not for the sake of any money. He gave his time
which might have been [? spent] somewhere else for the
sake of CDLR. As far as I know, God knows the scripts [?],
as far as I know he did this [inaudible] he did this for
his personal life. Anything else we have not covered?
W: Did you have a discussion
with Al Mass'ari about using George Galloway's PR company?
AF: I had a discussion with
Mass'ari whether to involve George Galloway more or less. Nothing
about his PR company.
W: Have you ever heard of
AF: It is known to me. But
I have never dealt with him as someone as a client but as an experienced
politician giving me very good advice.
W: He never wrote to you
on Hawk letterheads.
AF: Well, once or twice,
but the contents were not business [inaudible] - notes
about his impressions of meetings, that sort of thing.
W: It is interesting that
he was very prominent in the campaign with Al Mass'ari in-
AF: Can you turn that off
End of Tape