[Marxism] Another British forgery on Iraq

lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Fri Mar 19 07:48:39 MST 2004


Galloway accepts libel damages

MP George Galloway has accepted damages and a public apology over an
American newspaper article that alleged he accepted money from Saddam

Mr Galloway, expelled by Labour for his stance on the Iraq war, said he had
been "completely vindicated".

The Christian Science Monitor admitted a set of documents upon which it
based its story were "almost certainly" fake.

The MP, who described the settlement as "substantial", has always denied
taking cash from the Iraqi regime.

'Immense distress' 

Mr Galloway's solicitor Mark Bateman told Mr Justice Eady at London's High
Court that the allegations which appeared in the Christian Science Monitor
last April were "false and without foundation".

The Independent MP was in court to hear Mr Bateman say the article,
published by The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass,
reported on documents which had been given to a journalist by an Iraqi

He said these purported to show that Mr Galloway had received more than $10m
in return for his support of Saddam Hussein's regime.

"The allegations contained in the Christian Science Monitor's story that Mr
Galloway opposed the UN-imposed sanctions on Iraq and thereafter, opposed
the recent conflict in Iraq because he had been paid by the Iraqi regime are
false and without foundation," said Mr Bateman.


Outside the court, Mr Galloway - who is standing in the European elections
in London under the banner of his new anti-war party Respect - said the
damages were a "complete vindication" of his denial that he had "received
one thin dime from the Iraqi regime, from Saddam Hussein".

"This newspaper alleged that I received $10m. Today they have had to come
before the High Court and in the humblest possible terms apologise infront
of the British people and pay me substantial damages," he told Sky News.

Mr Galloway said he wanted Tony Blair to send British embassy officials to
Baghdad to interview the Iraqi general to "find out why he forged these

The MP was expelled from the Labour party over comments he made in an
interview to an Arab TV station branding Mr Blair and US President George
Bush "wolves". 

Another article from the Guardian at

At the same time as the Christian Monitor forgeries above, the Daily
Telegraph was trumpeting what it claimed was another set of papers showing
that Galloway had accepted money from the Saddam Hussein regime.

Galloway has also initiated a legal action against the Daily Telegraph. This
action is still in the courts.

The Christian Science Monitor had already apologized to Galloway in June of
2003, but the Daily Telegraph stood by its similar charges.

Charles Moore, editor of the Daily Telegraph, said: "The Christian Science
Monitor's retraction has no bearing on The Daily Telegraph's story. Our
story was based on a different set of documents found in a different set of
circumstances. They were not supplied or given to us but unearthed by our
reporter, David Blair, in the foreign ministry in Baghdad. We have complete
confidence in our story, our reporter and the authenticity of our

But the circumstances surrounding Blair's discoveries are very strange
indeed. As you can see below, Blair attempts to disarm suspicion by his own
surprise. What follows is cut and pasted from two Guardian articles:
Subscriptions are free, including a subscription for media services. List
yourself as a student and put down the appropriate school.

Who Is David Blair?

Born and raised in Africa, Blair was the Telegraph's Zimbabwe correspondent
from May 1999 to June 2001, when he was expelled by Robert Mugabe for
criticising the regime.

In 2001 he was named Young Journalist of the Year by the Foreign Press
Association for his coverage of Zimbabwe.

He used his two-year reporting experience in Zimbabwe to write a book,
Degrees In Violence: Robert Mugabe and the Struggle for Power in Zimbabwe,
using first hand accounts to illustrate the effect of Mugabe's 'Third
Chimurenga' or civil war against whites.

Blair was also one of the first western journalists to report from the Jenin
refugee camp after it was attacked by Israeli forces in March 2002. He also
reported extensively from Northern Ireland for the Telegraph prior to taking
up the Zimbabwe post.

Blair said he "happened" on the documents implicating MP George Galloway's
involvement in the food for oil programme while searching through a "heap of
grubby box files" on the floor of the bombed-out Iraqi foreign ministry
while looters "scurried through the corridors".

Though all were "covered with a thick coat of ash and soot", and Blair and
his translator were "working only by the light of one small window," the
Telegraph journalist said his translator "happened on a file marked

Two further files labelled "Britain" and others labelled "United States",
"Security Council" and "France" were also found, but "everything else has
been burnt to a cinder and the paper contents of the folders have been
reduced to white ash".

So was it chance that Blair found the documents?

He seemed to express some surprise at his find in his report. "Why the
contents of the room with the box files survived is a mystery," he wrote.
"Its walls are blackened by fire or smoke, yet most of the folders are

When asked on the BBC's Breakfast programme if the papers could be
forgeries, he said the idea that someone would have planted them on the
off-chance that a journalist would find them and translate them was
"virtually inconceivable".

And if the documents were planted, who stood to benefit? Mr Galloway has
been the strongest critic of the UK and US during the war. Conspiracy
theorists might try to argue that as work to rebuild Iraq begins, destroying
Mr Galloway's credibility would remove one strong dissenting voice.

A number of prominent leftwing MPs, including the former Labour party leader
Michael Foot, have been the subject of smears encouraged directly or
indirectly by the security and intelligence agencies, including false claims
that they were Soviet agents.

I should add that the record of British intelligence services lies and
forgeries is immense. You can start by picking up any authoritative book on
Britain's relationship with Ireland and check the index for "forgery."

The time-line of the Christian Science Monitor forgeries and the extremely
improbable documents "found" by Blair is very revealing.

First came Galloway's attack on Blair and Bush in which he called them
"wolves"; then came the "discoveries" that Galloway was taking money from
Saddam Hussein, one of which is an admitted forgery, the other a probable
one; then came the suspension of Galloway from the Labor Party for urging
British soldiers to refuse to obey illegal orders.

To get some flavor of Galloway's "strong dissenting voice," Marxmail readers
should read the whole of the following. Here is an extract:

Mr Galloway insisted today that he stood by all of his comments, arguing
that the war was illegal and urging British soldiers to refuse to obey what
were "illegal orders. . . .The wolves are Bush and Blair, not the soldiers.
The soldiers are lions led by donkeys, sent to kill and be killed. . . . As
for being a traitor, the people who have betrayed this country are those who
have sold it to a foreign power and who have been the miserable surrogates
of a bigger power for reasons very few people in Britain can understand," he

from Brian Shannon

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