Friday, April 25, 2003

Galloway's a crook - how convenient (Scott Ritter, London Guardian, April 25, 2003)

Yeah, that Scott Ritter.

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.

Ritter talks of smear campaigns, but when asked about the truth to whether he molested minors, he said that those files were sealed. Not exactly the mark of an innocent man. The fact that the incident in question coincided with his flip flop in Iraq policy, would lead one to believe that he was blackmailed into the switch. Somehow pointing out that a policy change happened after a serious indictment was sealed is a smear.

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.

The idea that sanctions caused the poverty was defeated when we found half a billion dollars in cash that Saddam was keeping instead of improving the lives of his 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.

I'm sure Galloway was a great Orator, Ritter, why else would someone pay him 10,000,000 Quid to say those things?

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.

If the anti--war position has to be funded by a foreign government, then how fundamentally sound are they? And what travesty of democracy? His constituents were hardly electing him to be a paid representative of Iraq.

Ritter is a pathetic figure. He flip-flopped his position about Iraq to stay out of jail and the best he gives us is the Clinton Defense. How dare there be any people out there watching my actions and reporting the evidence, as if the truth were conspiracy to hide the lies. No innocent man has ever reached for that defense.

The fact that Ritter would choose Galloway to side with underscores where he sees himself. Ritter is defending a man who is motivated by something other than principle. Who else might that remind Ritter of?

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