Sunday, May 15, 2005

Saddam, I salute your courage 

A friend of this blog, eminent journalist and writer William Shawcross doesn't mince words about Gorgeous George:
Roy Greenslade's famous talent for cool analysis deserted him in his apologia for George Galloway (No need for balance, May 13). He claims that Galloway is not being given a fair crack of the whip by the media. What nonsense. Mr Galloway is a clever bully, brutal in his criticism of others but so thin-skinned that he resorts instantly to the libel laws to cow his own critics.

Whatever the truth about his relationship to the Oil for Food programme, much more important is that Galloway was for many years the most diligent propagandist of one of the most fascistic of modern leaders.

In 1994 Mr Galloway stood before Saddam Hussein and said: "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 ... I thought the president would appreciate to know that even today, three years after the war, I still meet families who are calling their newborn sons Saddam. Sir, I salute your courage, your strength your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem." (The Times, January 20 1994.)

In 1994, Saddam was already well known (inter alia) for having gassed the Kurds, murdered thousands of his political opponents, practised brutal ethnic cleansing on the Marsh Arabs, attempted to expunge a member of the UN and kidnapped hundreds of Kuwaiti citizens (all later found to be murdered).

Saddam killed more Muslims than any other leader alive. Yet for years Galloway lobbied for Saddam. And now he has the effrontery to pose as a defender of Muslims. That is Mr Galloway's offence and I suggest to Mr Greenslade that it is a very good reason for people to dislike and to criticise him.
Meanwhile, Gorgeous George is flying into Washington to defend his good name from a "smear" by the US Senate Committee, which believes it has significant evidence that George was a wholly owned subsidiary of Iraqi Baath Party:
The newly elected MP for Bethnal Green and Bow believes the senators have been manipulated by US intelligence into accepting false claims that he and a close former business associate were secretly given the rights to sell 20 million barrels of Iraqi oil.
The report notes that "in typical style, Mr Galloway is planning to give his inquisitors 'both barrels'." Oh dear, that's an unfortunate choice of words.

Sadly, "The Independent" just can't seem to be able to help itself:
This Tuesday's event [the hearing] carries echoes of the McCarthy era of the 1950s, when witch-hunting senators, led by Joe McCarthy, interrogated film-makers, actors, writers, soldiers, civil servants and trade unionists for being suspected Communists.
Actually, since contrary to revisionism "The Independent"-style, many of those interrogated were indeed Communists or fellow travelers, the echoes aren't too auspicious for George.


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