Socialist Worker

They lied about war and they're lying now

Issue No. 1848

THE WAR on Iraq was based on blatant lies, and the warmongers are still lying today. The pro-war press owners are trying to smear George Galloway MP and, through him, the anti-war movement.

Before the war Bush and Blair claimed they had documents that 'proved' Saddam Hussein was about to develop nuclear weapons. They said it was absolutely certain that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the African state of Niger. The UN weapons inspectors showed that the supposed documentation was a crude forgery.

Blair's 'carefully researched' dossier, released in February, was exposed as being cut and pasted together from a student's thesis. It was based on 12 year old information, and two magazine articles from 1997.

Bush and Blair still face strong opposition. How convenient it would be for them if they could find evidence linking the anti-war movement to Saddam Hussein.

Now the Daily Telegraph says it has discovered papers that show George Galloway 'was in Saddam's pay'. The Sun splashed the same story on its front page and pages inside. George Galloway strenuously denies the allegations.

The Mariam Appeal, which features in the Telegraph's dossier, was founded to publicise the case of a four year old Iraqi girl who had leukaemia. It campaigned against the sanctions which led to over 500,000 child deaths. In the murky world of supposed 'secret revelations' there have been plenty of cases of forgery and distortion.

Even if every word the Telegraph alleges were true it still would not justify the paper's headline. The paper did not produce a shred of evidence that George Galloway personally ever received a penny from the Iraqi regime. In the past press barons have used lies to witch-hunt those who stand up against the interests of the rich.

Mirror owner and pensions fraudster Robert Maxwell led the witch-hunt against miners' union leader Arthur Scargill in 1990 over allegations of 'money from Libya'. Every mainstream newspaper went along with it. Politicians called for Scargill to be jailed.

An independent inquiry by a QC cleared Scargill. Last year the Mirror's former editor said the smear campaign was a pack of lies. The owners of the Daily Telegraph and the Sun will stoop to pumping out any lies to try to justify the war in Iraq.

Rupert Murdoch's empire includes the Sun, Fox News and the Project for the New American Century's own Weekly Standard. Conrad Black has the Jerusalem Post and the Daily Telegraph.

Fox and the Post both quoted unidentified Pentagon officials who said a factory in Najaf seized by the US on 24 March was producing chemical and biological weapons. The factory did not contain any such weapons.

Conrad Black is a great admirer of US war criminal Henry Kissinger. The Telegraph's editorial on Tuesday made it clear that its real target was the broader anti-war movement. It suggested the movement was 'an ally of the Saddam regime' which 'was prepared to divert money from hungry children in order to finance it'.

This movement said the war was about oil and US power, that it would cause the death and injury of many thousands of Iraqi people and that it would not bring liberation. The movement has been proved right. In villages, towns and cities across Britain ordinary people built a powerful movement in the face of pro-war propaganda and sneering from the vast bulk of the press.

Those networks of people are continuing. That is what really galls pro-war papers like the Telegraph and Sun, who have acted as Bush and Blair's little helpers during their slaughter in Iraq.


'I reject all these claims'

'I HAVE never solicited nor received money from Iraq for our campaign against war and sanctions. I have never seen a barrel of oil, never owned one, never bought one, never sold one.

'From the way these documents have been described to me, I can state that they bear all the hallmarks of having been either forged or doctored and are designed to discredit those who stood against the war.

'They are part of a smear campaign against those who stood against the illegal and bloody war on Iraq and against its occupation by foreign forces. The idea that such documents have, as if to order, come to light just days after the massive assault on Baghdad, the looting and destruction of its ministries and government buildings and the chaos in the country, must be treated as highly suspect.'

Extracts from George Galloway's statement to the BBC


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What We Think
Sat 26 Apr 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1848
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