This letter from campaigning anti-capitalist journalist Greg Palast is a comment on our Open Letter to Tony Benn (Solidarity 3/83), a piece which detailed now a number of Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis had signed a petition calling for Tariq Aziz to be released from jail. The petition was launched in the UK by George Galloway.
I don’t know all the facts, but it does seem you’ve done a heck of a lot of hard and valuable work deconstructing fake “causes” like support for a war criminal such as Tariq Aziz.
As someone who went to jail during the Seventies protesting the criminality of Nixon and Kissinger, I find it embarrassing that anyone calling themselves “left” could flippantly support Saddam’s monstrous Kissinger, Tariq Aziz who, with his Westernized upper-class manners and habits, charms us out of the fact that he was point-man, if not strategist, for murder of Kurds and other Iraqis by the thousands.
Today, American progressives demand Republicans denounce the criminal and immoral behavior of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney — which I’ve worked hard to expose. We cannot hope to support our positions if we morally mirror the right.
This is difficult road. I’m obviously taking a lot of heat from some misguided leftists regarding my expose of Galloway. And it is true that some progressive news outlets have blacklisted me. But thankfully, they are few and tiny. It turns out that one radio host who decided to block my broadcasts because “Palast is a Zionist” was himself removed from the Pacifica Radio Network stations for his Stalinist love of censorship. I am now banned from his tiny show and it matters not.
It is a great irony that my investigations of Galloway began in 2003 when I defended him on Channel 4 television. I sought additional material from Galloway and other sources to bolster that defence and to my surprise, found more that damned him than supported him. As a journalist, I could not bury the findings.
The good news: following my notes, most American progressives distanced themselves from him and his book tour collapsed (sales, I’m told, of only a thousand copies). The major left radio network, Pacifica, offered Galloway a chance to debate or challenge me on air. He hid.
The sad tale of George G ended on 24 September when I spoke at the giant Washington anti-war rally, covered nationally, along with Cindy Sheehan whose son was killed in Iraq. Sheehan is America’s principal anti-war spokesperson. Mr Galloway was not given an invitation to speak… so he was relegated to a pathetic rump rally which his fringe sponsors boosted by claiming Sheehan would speak there with him. She told me that she would make no such appearance.
Therefore, I don’t want to give the impression that the US progressive and anti-war movements have lost their minds. We were all charmed by Mr Galloway’s attack on the craven Republican senators who voted for the war; but once Americans knew a bit more about the man, interest in him withered.