Support George Galloway
Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Wed May 28 05:29:17 MDT 2003
Here is George Galloway's interview with the Lebanese Daily Star, from
Galloway defiant in face of UK backlash
British Rebel mp warns of us threat toward lebanon and region
Activist says reports of collusion with Saddam Hussein 'completely false'
Daily Star staff
George Galloway, the British MP and most vocal anti-war campaigner in the
Labor government, said Tuesday that Lebanon faces "very grave consequences"
from the coalition victory over Iraq and the aggressive posturing of the
British and American governments against Syria and Iran.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Star at his hotel Tuesday,
Galloway, who was in Lebanon at the invitation of the Gathering of Popular
Committees and Leagues (GPCL), an Arab nationalist movement, was adamant
that the American war on Iraq was just "the end of the beginning" of a
greater war to redraw the map of the Arab world.
"The aggressive posture toward Syria is partly designed to bring about
dangerous effects in Lebanon. Any attempt to sever the relations between
Syria and Lebanon . or pull Lebanon into a kind of isolationism from the
Arab world would be extremely dangerous," he said.
Galloway has been meeting with Lebanese government officials since his
arrival last Wednesday, and spoke over the weekend in Baaqline, Rashidieh
refugee camp in Tyre, and at the Beirut Arab University on Monday, before
touring the Bekaa on Tuesday.
"One reason for the aggression towards Syria is to abandon the Palestinian
cause. Abandonment of the Palestinian cause means not only a betrayal of
Palestinian interests, which are sacred, but also means that hundreds of
thousands of refugees will remain in Lebanon.
"If Arab negotiating strength is smashed then the chances of forcing Israel
to allow the right of return of refugees is zero.
"They (Israel and America) are determined that the refugees should not
return to Palestine. That matters for the refugees but it also matters for
Lebanon and for Lebanon's balance and equilibrium," he continued.
Galloway has been working closely with Maan Bashour, a Lebanese Christian
who is leader of the GPCL, to build what he called a "bridge between the
anti-war, anti-globalization movement in Europe and the Arab national
"Of course that doesn't mean we don't talk to anyone else. I've met with all
sections of the Lebanese community, all religious and political trends, but
my obvious allies are the Arab national(ist) movement and I am proud of my
association with them," he explained.
Galloway said that it was important to be in Lebanon on the anniversary of
the liberation of the South, adding that the liberation should be "studied
by the British and American occupiers of Iraq because if they don't leave of
their own accord soon, they will be drawn into the same cycle of occupation,
violence and resistance that the Israelis found themselves in, in Lebanon."
Speaking of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recent comments stating
AlQaeda leaders had fled to Iran and were behind the Riyadh suicide
bombings earlier this month, Galloway commented that any new attack on Iran
would have frightening consequences for the stability of Lebanon given the
strategic relationship between Syria and Iran and the importance of Iran to
Lebanese Shiites and Hizbullah.
At a dinner in his honor at the Meridian Commodore Hotel on Monday night,
Galloway said that the Bush administration's comments accusing Iran of
harboring Al-Qaeda was a "declaration of war."
"They said Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan and they attacked it. They said they
were in Baghdad, and they attacked it. Next they will attack Iran."
Galloway has been an adamant campaigner for Palestinian rights since the
late 1970s and became well known in the past decade for his campaign to lift
UN sanctions on Iraq.
He led an estimated 2 million anti-war protesters through London prior to
the Iraq war in February and has been openly critical of the American and
British leadership, calling them "emperors" and "wolves," and as a result
has faced what he calls a backlash of "lies and accusations of fantastic
proportions" against him in the British media.
"These emperors are riding to the very edge of their power and creating the
typhoon which will eventually end their rule. I am spending my political
life fighting on the British front," he said.
"Our enemies are rich and they have sharp knives. I can show you my scars."
Galloway is currently suing for libel Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper
and the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor for publishing reports
accusing him of accepting millions of dollars in illicit payments from
Saddam Hussein's regime, based on documents alleged to have been found in
He told The Daily Star that "these two newspaper groups will pay severely
for the publication of what are at worst forgeries, and at best completely
Another British newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, which also purchased
documents from the same "supposed former Iraqi general," stated that they
were unequivocal forgeries after a detailed forensic investigation.
"I did expect a backlash but not this and I didn't expect it as quickly,
after all Baghdad had scarcely fallen when these forgeries and deceptions
were already in print," Galloway said.
"Baghdad is currently a rumor factory, a forgery factory where you can
openly buy bespoke forged documents. There are stacks of blank headed
notepaper belonging to the Iraqi intelligence literally blowing in the
On the question of a potential prosecution against him by the British state
as a "traitor" for his call to British troops in Iraq not to accept "illegal
orders" on Abu Dhabi television in the early days of the war which has
seen him suspended from the Labor Party though not Parliament Galloway
said: "The government would be a laughing stock. It would mean that Blair
was in favor of free speech in Baghdad but not in Britain, that he wanted a
free Parliament in Iraq but not at Westminster."
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