George Galloway likes to pretend that his infamous salute to Saddam Hussein was meant for the Iraqi people not the dictator himself. The RESPECT leader and candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow insists that his status as a frequent flyer to Baghdad during the days of the dictatorship was merely to help the Iraqi people and that he was no friend of the genocidal regime.
But, while attention has been focused on his election campaign and unnoticed by the media, the blog Respect Watch reports that Galloway has been on Arab television recently appealing for the release of Saddam’s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who faces charges of crimes against humanity for his role in the gassing of Kurds at Halabja.
Tariq Aziz is in jail and will be one of the key men to face justice in the new Iraq. Iraqis of all political affiliations hoping to see him, and others responsible for appalling crimes, made to pay for his complicity in atrocities, ethnic cleansing and political terror.
But George Galloway calls Tariq Aziz a ‘political prisoner’, urges his release and in an echo of his salute to Saddam says this of his deputy:
“The obvious fact is that Mr Tariq Aziz is a more respectful man than the people who are holding him now. He is viewed with high esteem worldwide by figures like the Pope in the Vatican and other international figures who have valued his counsel, met him, discussed and negotiated with him. He is an eminent diplomatic and intellectual person.”
Galloway didn’t just suck up to Saddam and his henchmen when they were in power – he is continuing to act on their behalf and give his active support to them now, even after they have been overthrown and are to face justice. He is quite simply unfit to be a parliamentary representative in a democratic society.
Respect Watch have posted the text of Galloway’s full interview with Al-Jazeera, where not one mention is made of the crimes of Saddam’s regime and his friend – Tariq Aziz.
Update: Thanks to reader ‘Sonic’ who has pointed out this website which has published Galloway’s appeal for the release of the ‘political prisoner’, Tariq Aziz. I can’t vouch for its accuracy but it does contain the signatures of two MP’s and two Labour peers as well as Tony Benn and an awful lot of Frenchmen.