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IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

Scott Ritter
Saturday May 21, 2005
The Guardian
In the recent parliamentary elections, the British people, given the
choice between standing for the rule of law or embracing partisan
politics, chose the latter, voting with their pocketbooks, even
though it meant re-electing a man who led Britain into an illegal
war of aggression, based on lies and misrepresentation of fact.
Tony Blair is a man who has shown himself more subservient to an
American president with empire in his eyes than to a British
tradition of respect for the rule of law that dates back to the
Magna Carta. There is at least one politician, however, that the
citizens of Britain can today be proud of, regardless of how one
views his politics. This is a man who, back in 2002, had the courage
to stand up to Blair and George Bush, calling Blair a liar and
declaring that both were behaving like "wolves" towards Iraq . For
speaking the truth, he was castigated, thrown out of the Labour
party and smeared with false allegations of corruption - at the same
time as the US government hid its role in enriching Saddam Hussein's
government with illegal kickbacks. He has now charged back, winning
a parliamentary seat previously controlled by the very party that
evicted him.
And now the same man has done something that no other British
politician has been brave enough to do: cross the Atlantic and
confront the United States over the lies spread about the reasons
for war with Iraq, the oil for food agreement and the failure of US
lawmakers to do their own job when it comes to the rule of law.
George Galloway, the politician in question, stared down the US
Senate subcommittee on homeland security and government affairs, and
its notoriously partisan chairman Norm Coleman, and blasted as
totally unfounded the committee's allegations that he had profited
from oil vouchers in exchange for his anti-war stance. He emerged
from the hearing victorious. If only more politicians, British and
American alike, were able to display such courage in the face of the
atmosphere of neoconservative intimidation prevalent in Washington
these days.
Galloway is now the darling of the American left, and has fed punch
lines for late-night comics and generated headlines like the New
York Post's "Brit fries senators in oil". But mainstream America
still seems unable to digest the horrific reality that the MP's
testimony underscored: that Senator Coleman's McCarthy-like hearings
are but a smoke screen for a crime of horrific proportions.
Galloway has nevertheless had the courage to stand up to unjust
charges and an unjust war - and that is the only way that opinion
will shift. Two years ago I wrote that the accusations of corruption
against Galloway were too convenient, designed to silence one of the
Iraq war's harshest critics. The honourable member for Bethnal Green
and Bow has entered the lair of a conservative American political
body to confront it head-on about a war and occupation that many on
both sides of the Atlantic , politicians and public alike, seem only
too willing to sweep under the carpet. So, Mr Galloway, please
accept from this American three cheers for a job well done.
Scott Ritter was a senior UN weapons inspector in Iraq between
1991 and 1998; his new book, Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of
America's Intelligence Conspiracy, will be published this summer
http://mparent7777.blog-city.com/read/1295370.htm