Galloway’s a crook – how convenient


Richard Moore

From: "dnordin" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw: [NN] Galloway's a crook - how convenient
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 09:45:38 -0700

 From: Mike Wallace <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: [NN] Galloway's a crook - how convenient
Date: Thursday, April 24, 2003 8:13 PM

Scott Ritter
Friday April 25, 2003
The Guardian

I was shocked to read about the allegations, ostensibly
based upon documents discovered in Iraq, that George
Galloway was somehow compensated financially by the
Iraqi government for championing its cause. I was
shocked because, if these allegations prove to be true,
then the integrity and credibility of a man for whom I
have great respect would be dramatically undermined.

But I was also shocked because of the timing of these
allegations. Having been on the receiving end of smear
campaigns designed to assassinate the character of
someone in opposition to the powers that be, I have
grown highly suspicious of dramatic revelations
conveniently timed to silence a vocal voice of dissent.

The charges made against Galloway are serious and they
should be thoroughly investigated. Do these charges
have any merit? I will continue to operate under the
assumption of innocence until proven guilty. I hope the
charges against George Galloway are baseless but, to be
honest, I simply don't know.

But I do know a few things about George Galloway and
the cause he championed with regards to Iraq. I know
that he helped found the Mariam Appeal, a humanitarian
organisation established in 1998 initially to raise
funds on behalf of an Iraqi girl who suffered from
leukaemia and who, because of economic sanctions, was
unable to receive adequate medical care.

I met Mariam in 1999, when she was a guest of the
Bruderhof Society here in the US, a religious movement
that eschews individual wealth and promotes a simple,
communal life. She was getting treatment for the onset
of blindness caused by medical neglect related to her
leukaemia treatment.

Mariam is a real person, not some political stunt. Her
suffering was genuine. So, too, was the joy of her
maternal grandmother, who accompanied Mariam to the US
when she realised that while Mariam might be blind, she
was going to live, thanks in no small part to the work
of people like George Galloway, whose dramatic
intervention got Mariam out of Iraq and into the hands
of those who could care for her.

I know that Galloway helped set up the British-Iraqi
friendship association. I know because he invited me to
come to London and speak at the association's inaugural
meeting. The message I heard him deliver that night was
one of human kindness and compassion. He spoke out
against the suffering of the Iraqi people under the
effects of a decades-long economic embargo. I heard him
decry the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. But I also
heard him lambast the policies of his own country, and
those of the US, which were subjecting the innocent
people of Iraq to such suffering.

Establishing the friendship association was a
politically incorrect thing to do at the time.

Galloway's political opponents could, and did, make
political hay from such actions, deriding them as
"pro-Saddam". In the months to come, I'm sure many
British people will flock to organisations espousing
friendship between Britain and Iraq, now that it is the
trendy thing to do. Galloway was a friend of the Iraqi
people back when they most needed the friendship and
understanding of the British people.

I know that Galloway was a leading, and highly vocal,
critic of the war with Iraq. He challenged Tony Blair's
policies and statements about the justification for the
war, namely the allegations made by Britain and the US
concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
programmes and its failure to comply with its security
council-mandated obligations to disarm. I know because
I share Galloway's views about the unsustained nature
of the British-American case against Iraq.

He spoke out vociferously against Blair's policies on
Iraq, demanding evidence concerning Iraqi weapons of
mass destruction more substantial than the plagiarised
dossier and forged documents produced by Whitehall. The
case for war, as flimsy as it was in the months before
Operation Iraqi Freedom began, has been shown to date
to be utterly without merit, as no stockpiles of hidden
weapons of mass destruction have been uncovered by the

US and British military forces occupying Iraq.

If it turns out that there are no weapons of mass
destruction or programmes related to their production
and concealment in Iraq, Blair and his government must
be held accountable by the British people for actions
carried out in their name. If British policy was
sustained on the back of a lie, then those who
perpetrated that lie must be called upon to explain
themselves. Now, more than ever, the British people
need a voice of opposition, because it is from the
ranks of the opposition that the matter of policing bad
policy will be raised.

To allow George Galloway to be silenced now, when his
criticisms of British policy over Iraq have been shown
to be fundamentally sound, would be a travesty of
democracy. Rather than casting him aside, the British
people should reconsider his statements in the light of
the emerging reality that it is Blair and not Galloway
who has been saying things worthy of investigation.

* Scott Ritter was formerly chief UN weapons inspector
in Iraq (•••@••.•••)

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Michael D. Wallace
Department of Political Science &
The Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z1


    For the movement, the relevant question is not, "Can we
    work through the political system?", but rather, "Is
    the political system one of the things that needs to be
    fundamentally transformed?"

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