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Shameful vendetta against Galloway

Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News

July 23, 2007, 00:06

They're at it again. The British anti-war MP George Galloway is once again being targeted by the establishment on both sides of the pond. Both the British Parliament's watchdog and the US Justice Department are behaving like dogs salivating over the same juicy bone labelled "Get Galloway".

You've got to feel sorry for the man. How many times is he going to be investigated for the same "crime" when until now there's not a shred of proof against him?

How many more times will the right-wing press seek to libel him and subsequently have to shell out huge sums in damages? How many more fake or unsubstantiated documents are going to turn up?

Galloway faces an 18-day suspension from the House of Commons following his vigorous defence when faced with a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

The report suggests that Galloway had failed to investigate the source of funds donated by a Jordanian businessman to his Mariam Appeal anti-Iraq sanctions charity and alleges that some money was derived from Saddam Hussain's dodgy oil-for-food dealings.

Galloway admits this may be true since his wealthy Jordanian friend conducted regular business with Saddam's Iraq but says he has no knowledge as to whether monies paid to his charity were originally derived from Iraqi oil sales.

He says he was grateful for all donations and it was no business of his to question donors whether or not the cash was kosher. Moreover, the Charity Commissioners have already delved into the matter and found that no money was ever diverted into Galloway's personal accounts.

When Galloway was accused by a Senate Sub-Committee of receiving under the table Iraqi oil allocations, he volunteered to fly to Washington for the purposes of clearing his name. It transpired that the committee had nothing of substance. Galloway trashed their flimsy "evidence" and gave the US a resounding ticking off for going to war on a pack of lies.

Let's be realistic. They're not after him because they think oil for food money took a circuitous route into Galloway's appeal. If that were the case they would have to go after every charity on earth.

Who knows how many murderers, thieves, rapists and mafia bosses have salvaged their consciences by giving to Oxfam? Who can assure us that the Red Cross or the Red Crescent has never received a cent from nasty dictators or unscrupulous oligarchs?

If every recipient of charity monies were duty bound to check on their source there would be a lot more hungry and homeless people in the world. First of all most of the money would go on administration costs and secondly privacy-conscious donors would head for the hills rather than have their bank accounts scrutinised.

Galloway says he should be honoured not hounded. And he's absolutely right. The Mariam Appeal was set-up to get treatment for a little Iraqi girl suffering from cancer and to fight for the end of US-led sanctions against Iraq, responsible for the deaths of millions of Iraqi children.

Moreover, the colourful MP was the first to speak up loudly against the invasion of Iraq and was booted out of the Labour Party for calling George W. Bush and Tony Blair "wolves" while urging British troops not to obey illegal orders.

As Galloway says himself, he was right and they were wrong.

If they had listened to Galloway there would have been no limbless victims of cluster bombs or babies born with deformities due to depleted uranium tank shells.

If they had listened to Galloway, Iraqis would still be Iraqis not Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. There would be no civil war. There would be no millions of displaced persons. There would be no stateless Palestinian refugees from Iraq subsisting behind barbed wire near the Jordanian border.

And there would be no Turkish threats to invade the north and no Sunni concerns about a growing so-called Shiite crescent.

Skewed intelligence

Let's talk guilt. Ask yourself just who are the guilty ones? Those people who skewed intelligence and rapped up the fear factor in order to persuade their publics to accept their ruthless, self-interested agendas or Galloway who cared enough about Iraqi children to risk his career; perhaps even his life? "I have the most powerful enemies of all," he recently declared. No one could argue with that.

It's shameful that the British establishment saw fit to gloss over the whitewashing of the strange death of Dr David Kelly, another man whose words didn't support their warmongering fabrications.

And now it has seen fit to exonerate all those in the cash for honours scandal because of lack of evidence, they say, although just a few weeks ago the police were confident someone would be charged.

But when it comes to their nemesis Galloway it's a different story. There may be no meat on the bone of their allegations but they're determined to chew on it until it breaks, while the Senate Committee hopes to be able to gloat over a shard.

If anyone should be investigated it should be Blair for manipulating and hyping intelligence so as to take his country to war without a UN mandate, against the wishes of many of his cabinet colleagues (as we recently learned) and 80 per cent of his people.

You're a better man than the lot of them Galloway. Keep fighting! Keep safe and God bless you!

Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at lheard@gulfnews.com.

:: Article nr. 34756 sent on 24-jul-2007 05:04 ECT


Link: www.gulfnews.com/opinion/columns/world/10141333.html

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