Friday, May 20, 2005

A George Galloway Reader

Here is a selection of googled stuff that was interesting to me. I haven't organized it too well and not everything has links, but you'll get the idea. Toward the bottom there are surpisingly negative entries from Indymedia.UK and the AWL, another left wing group.

  • The Guardian
  • Simon Hattenstone
  • Monday September 16, 2002

(Guardian interview selection)

If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life.

… Che Guevara, whom he calls his ultimate hero. Why? "Because he sacrificed everything for the revolutionary cause, to liberate the world. And because he was a person with poetry in his soul."

(end of Guardian interview selection)

(Wikipedia 5/20/2005)

1994 "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability." Supposedly of the Iraqi people.

1996? (–or as early as 1988)

An investigation by BBC Newsnight found that Galloway had secured payments of £60,000 and £135,000 from the Pakistani governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Galloway insisted this was for advertising space and bulk copies, … [Benazier Bhutto … was re-elected in 1993 but was dismissed three years later amid various corruption scandals. (Wikipedia)]

2002

… denied he was inciting the Iraqis to attack British soldiers, but said that "it would be best for them [British soldiers] to refuse to obey illegal orders."

(end of Wikipedia 5/20/2005)

(wikiquote selection)

1994 speech

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 …

I greet you, too, in the name of the Palestinian people, … to convey their heartfelt, fraternal greetings and support. … I thought the president would appreciate knowing that even today, three years after the war, I still met families who were 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 hatta al-nasr, hatta al-nasr, hatta al-Quds [preceding words in Arabic which mean until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem].

Galloway has said that the speech was for the benefit of the Iraqi people collectively and has repeatedly expressed his regret over his flattering remarks directed at the Iraqi dictator. The comment represents a shift in attitude towards Saddam Hussein, where he had previously publically declared his contempt for he Iraqi regime, its suppression of the Iraqi Communist Party and its relationship to the governments of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

(end of wikiquote selection)

(Scotsman 5/18/2005)

Asked whether Mr Galloway violated his oath to tell the truth before the committee, Mr Coleman said: "I don’t know. We’ll have to look over the record. I just don’t think he was a credible witness."

And it was a Democrat senator, Carl Levin, rather than the Republican committee chairman, Norm Coleman, who gave him the hardest time as Mr Galloway sought to turn the tables on his inquisitors, leaving him no closer to clearing his name than when he took his seat in front of the sub-committee of the Senate’s homeland security and government affairs committee in Washington.

Time and again, Mr Levin questioned him, requesting wearily that he deliver a straight answer to a straight question. But Mr Galloway could, or would not.

The Respect MP clearly thought he came out on top, and said so bluntly afterwards, describing the chairman as "not much of a lyncher".

Asked whether Mr Galloway violated his oath to tell the truth before the committee, Mr Coleman said: "I don’t know. We’ll have to look over the record. I just don’t think he was a credible witness."

Under repeated questioning, Mr Galloway conceded that Mr Zureikat did have extensive business dealings with the Saddam regime but, challenged over whether his friend’s generous contributions to the Mariam Appeal - £900,000 by his own previous assessments - could have come from the sale of oil, he stonewalled.

Urged to say if he would repay the cash if it could be proved to have come from such a source, he again ducked the question. Mr Galloway first met Mr Zureikat, a Jordanian businessman, through his now-estranged wife Amineh Abu-Zayyad, who had attended the same university in Jordan. The men became friends and set up the Mariam Appeal in 1998.

(end of Scotsman article 5/18/2005)

(from indymedia, Trevor Stanley 4/26/2005)

A weblogger in Iraqi Kurdistan has written an open letter to George Galloway, the Respect Party election candidate whose numerous meetings with Iraqi military dictator Saddam Hussein bolstered the military regime and dismayed many Iraqis.

Kurdo's words contain in microcosm the response of many Iraqi bloggers to Galloway's recent encounter with Iraqi blogger Salam Pax:

Dear Mr. Galloway,

I know that you are campaigning hard to win the hearts and minds of the British public, and I wish you good luck in failing. I and many other people from Iraq, just like the father of the Iraqi blogs, Salam Pax, will never forget the scenes in which you were sitting and joking with Saddam Hussein on the screens of the Iraqi television.

We were wondering what you were laughing about. Were the jokes of the dictator who filled the lands and the rivers with mass graves, who terminated birds and rivers, who did not differentiate between a killing baby and a soldier, were his jokes too funny? Or were you laughing at the Iraqi people for having a leader like Saddam Hussein?!

Galloway was recently publicly confronted at the launch of his party's manifesto by Salam Pax, whose pseudonym means 'peace peace'. Salam Pax asked Galloway why he supported immediate withdrawal of British troops from Iraq when polls show only one fifth of Iraqi citizens support such a move. Galloway was dismissive of the blogger, contending that the opinions of the Iraqis were irrelevant to British policy in Iraq.

Kurdo also said in his open letter;

The people of Iraq regardless of our ethnic and sectarian differences are happy about the removal of Saddam Hussein and are working hard to bring back peace and stability to our new baby democracy.

I know that many people in the world can not understand this and your harsh comment to Salam Pax that your country's troops have nothing to do with Saddam Hussein's removal and should not have intervened, are only adding more salt to our deep wounds.

I know you now will regard me as a Kurdish collaborator and accuse me, just like you accuse any freedom-loving and Saddam-hating person of Iraq of "selling your country".

We are not related to anyone in power in Iraq. We are just ordinary people loving freedom and democracy and want to live free just like anyone else in the world. We do not appreciate you stealing our cause and using it to steal the hearts and minds of the British public for your own benefits.

(end indymedia selection)

(Link to Al Jazeera transcript of Galloway speech 10/23/2005)

… But let me be clear about this, I condemn terrorism as an instrument of policy.

But with this caveat that, for me, terrorism is the use of force, violence and subversion against civilians and political activists by whoever is wielding the weaponry. State terrorism, including illegal war, puts the terrorism of such organised ideological criminals as al-Qaida into context, as two sides of the same evil coin.

I will not condemn the just war of populations of occupied territories when they resist, in any way that they can …

(end Al Jazeera selection)

(editorial against Galloway from Alliance for Worker’s Liberty – socialist organization -- 3/29/2002)

… what exactly it is that attracts George Galloway to Iraq. Many of us oppose sanctions against Iraq. George Galloway appears to have a special, positive devotion to Iraq. Even if right now the first responsibility is to oppose war, Galloway's attitude has been no different for many years. Why?

Light on what motivates Galloway might do something to dispel the impression that Galloway confuses the Iraqi regime with the Iraqi people, and that he favours the Iraqi Arab Sunnis and the Sunni-based regime, which oppresses a majority of the state's people …

[… words to the effect that] decent socialists would not want to be seen dead with him.

(end of AWL editorial)

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