Audio: George Galloway discusses Chilcot Inquiry with Blair Supporter John Rentoul

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    15th February, 2010

    From John Rentoul’s “Catch-up Service” come these radio audios of a contribution he made to George Galloway’s radio show. Both parts are followed by some of my comments and citations in grey.

    On the day of Tony Blair’s evidence at the Iraq Inquiry JR was a busy boy. Much in demand here, there and everywhere, possibly because he likes to use this phrase when referring to Tony Blair – “the finest ever peace-time leader”, so the press knows where he stands. Although I agree with that completely, I’ve often wondered how JR gets away with it. It invites blustering pfhh-chr-arrghs-whats? from such as Gorgeous George. And so it receives in the second of these exchanges, below:

    I suggest JR drops the “peacetime”. Instead he should just tell it like it is – “OUR FINEST LEADER”. That’ll really rile ’em.

    Back to the script. JR was interviewed by GG on his Talksport Radio programme. Our host sounds almost like a well-rounded, balanced human being here. Probably because he was interviewing one.

    George Galloway discusses the Chilcott inquiry with John Rentoul part 1 (6:35)

    George Galloway discusses Tony Blair testimony in front of the Chilcott inquiry with Blairs biographer John Rentoul.
    Part 1 of 2. From Talksport radio show, January 29th, 2010.

    John Rentoul: “I don’t know what the point of the Chilcot Inquiry is. To learn lessons … one lesson we’ve all learned from Iraq is that we’re not going to try to do anything like that again because no prime minister would be brave enough to intervene in such a situation in the future.”

    GG said , with a (presumably undeserved… poor, dear Iran) question mark in his voice, that Blair seemed to be having a go at Iran.

    JR: “That was part of the way in which he refused to give an inch to his critics, which was impressive, if a bit foolhardy.”

    On WMDs, JR rebuts GG with “yes, Scott Rittter believed that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons … so did Kelly, so did the French intelligence, so did the American intelligence …”

    [He could also have included in that list – Hans Blix.]

    JR: “No, there were no lies told as our finest peace-time prime minister told us today. If it turned out not to be true that is very different from a lie.”

    George Galloway discusses the Chilcott inquiry with John Rentoul part 2 (4:40)

    By sleight of hand and dexterity of tongue Galloway twists Rentoul’s “something turning out not to be true is very different from a lie” into “something turning out to be true is different from a lie. This, presumably, was in order to support the values-laden integrity of his hero, the innocent abroad, the late and not much lamented Saddam. Whatever his reason, it was NOT what Rentoul said, so thus NOT (necessarily) “fair enough” or “true”, Mr G. But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of your prejudice.

    Goerge Galloway with Saddam Hussein. RESPECT all round?

    GG: “Well, that’s fair enough. Something turning out to be true IS different from a lie.”

    ON WMDs GG, who seems to think he is in better command of the ‘facts’ than those who take the opposite view, refers to Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, who said that they’d all been destroyed in 1994.

    JR:  “Which son-in law …?”

    GG: “Hussein Kamel, defected to Jordan and revealed to American interrogators in 1994 that he personally destroyed the remnants of the WMD programme. You won’t match me for facts on this one, John, I promise you.”

    Would that be this Hussein Kamel? The one, along with another son-in-law, both of whom on returning to Iraq were killed three days later by Saddam Hussein’s forces.

    “In August 1995, Raghad and her husband Hussein Kamel al-Majid …and Rana and her husband, Saddam Kamel al-Majid, defected to Jordan, taking their children with them. They returned to Iraq when they received assurances that Saddam would pardon them. Within three days of their return in February 1996, both of the Kamel brothers were attacked and killed in a gunfight with other clan members who considered them traitors. Saddam had made it clear that although pardoned, they would lose all status and would not receive any protection.

    Moral? Don’t marry one of Saddam’s daughters.

    This is the same Hussein Kamel who said this in a September 21, 1995 interview with CNN:

    “This is what made me leave the country, the fact that Saddam Hussein surrounds himself with inefficient ministers and advisers who are not chosen for their competence but according to the whims of the Iraqi president. And as a result of this the whole of Iraq is suffering.”

    And referred to here:

    Jordan granted asylum to the Kamels, and there they began to cooperate with UNSCOM and its director Rolf Ekéus, the United StatesCIA and the British MI6. Kamel provided the inspection teams with a wealth of information.

    Kamel confirmed what inspectors had been able to ascertain shortly before his defection, that Iraq had operated a biological warfare program prior to the Gulf War, providing locations for large amounts of undeclared technical documentation. The defection appears to have had a psychological impact in Baghdad due to uncertainty over what Kamel would reveal: soon afterwards, inspectors were invited to revisit weapons sites and new documents were turned over for examination.

    In a January 25, 1999 report to the U.N. Security Council, UNSCOM declared that the history of the Iraqi weapons inspections “must be divided into two parts, separated by the events following the departure from Iraq, in August 1995, of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel.”

    Kamel maintained that Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction and related programs after the end of the first Gulf War.

    “I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons—biological, chemical, missile, nuclear—were destroyed.”

    Britain’s Foreign Office has stated that they disbelieved this claim, while a March 3, 2003 Newsweek report said that Kamel’s revelations were “hushed up” because inspectors “hoped to bluff Saddam [Hussein] into revealing still more.”

    In February 1996, after intermediaries for Saddam Hussein had assured them that all would be forgiven, Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel were convinced to return to Iraq with their wives. Reportedly, immediately upon their return, they were ordered to divorce their wives and were denounced as traitors. Three days after their arrival, on February 23, they refused to surrender to Saddam’s security forces and were killed in a 13-minute firefight at a safe house.

    Looks like you pays your money … and we can see which choice GG prefers to take.

    Back to the plot – the radio show audio:

    GG: “You said he was the finest peacetime prime minister.  I choked back a laugh … Martin Kettle argued in The Guardian that Iraq had effectively destroyed the reputation of the finest peace-time left-of-centre prime minister. Do you agree with that?”

    JR: “I do actually and I think it’s very sad. I think it’s a tragedy in the Shakespearian sense or even the Greek sense that Blair’s reputation has been destroyed by his noble purpose. Because what he was trying to do in Iraq was to fulfil some of the higher ambitions of a moral foreign policy. But you can’t argue that it did destroy his reputation, because it went badly after the invasion, for all the reasons that you and I know, and because the British media has turned against him in quite an alarming and vicious and hysterical way.”

    MAINLY due to the British media, John.

    GG: “Can you still then say that he was right to say he’d do it all again?”

    JR: “I find that kind of formulation unhelpful … because obviously if you could see into the future which you can’t, you would do things differently. What he means is that he is convinced that the war was justified and I do agree with that, yes.”

    GG: “If I were advising him I’d say that the logical thing to say is obviously if we knew then what we know now, that we would have approached this matter differently. I would say that he should stick to the line that he did what he did because he believed something that turned out not to be true.”

    JR: “Yeah… that is … I don’t know, that is what he said, isn’t it?”

    GG: “No, he said ‘I took the decision and I’d do it again’. Well, how can you say that when the reason you took the decision turned out not to be right?

    20/20 Vision, GG?

    JR: “Well, no, no …0ne part of the reason… the point is …”

    GG: “The only legal part, John …”

    JR:  “I accept that.  Saddam Hussein was a threat to international peace and security. The point about WMD is that that was the evidence of the threat and that was the legal base because he was not complying with UN resolutions. Now, if he had complied with UN resolutions Blair’s opinion is that he would have still have constituted a threat to international peace and security…”

    GG: “Well certainly as adumbrated on Fern Britton’s show that’s a recalculation of his position. It’s not what he said of course on the eve of the debate on the vote in parliament when he said that if the Iraqis gave up their WMDs the regime could stay in power.”

    JR: “And he said that in a different form today actually, because he pointed to the example of Colonel Gaddafi and Libya who was a rogue leader … had … WMD ambitions … but who gave them up and was allowed to stay in power and he’s now a great friend of the west and has been admitted into the international community.”

    GG laughs off JR’s comparison to Libya’s Gaddafi’s position, after giving up WMDs and now being part of the international community.

    GG: “Splendid, John, splendid – a splendid friend of the west, Colonel Gaddafi. That just shows you how cynical that mindset is.”

    It is noteworthy that today Tony Blair’s intervention may have been behind the return to Britain of Nadia Fawzi to her mother in Britain. Andy Burnham referred to this on BBC News today:

    “Mr Burnham, who was among those at the airport, thanked the prime minister, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British Ambassador Sir Vincent Fean, for their help.”

    Neither Mr Blair’s assistance, nor, it follows, Mr Burnham’s thanks TO HIM were quoted at The Guardian here.

    The Guardian’s bias aside, what positive results have YOUR interventions  ever achieved, Galloway?



    1. Another Talksport caller said this to Galloway on 31st May, 2008

    talkSPORT caller wants to gas Tony Blair over smoking ban

    Brian from Portsmouth on the smoking ban in public houses: “I would like to take Mr Blair and his wife, put them in their car, with the exhaust fumes pumped into their car…”

    (interrupted by Galloway):

    “No, no, no, no, we’re not having that. That’s a horrifically violent and wicked piece of imagery, I’m sorry. My dislike of Tony Blair and his wife is as …  as great as anyone’s, but I won’t have that kind of thing said on the …”

    Mr Galloway seemeds, publicly at least, to have moved away from the moral dilemma he admitted to two years earlier in a Piers Morgan interview. He said then that if he knew of an assassination plot against Blair, it would be a moral dilemma for him, even though he would, on balance it seems, report it to the authorities. And why report it, if he secretly dreams of it?

    Mainly because if it were allowed to happen, there would be an uprising in Britain against the perpetrators. That’s what he said, folks. No concerns over a terrorism killing of Blair.

    Reported in May 2006 at The Guardian and here, quote:

    ‘He was also asked whether he would alert the authorities if he knew Mr Blair was to be assassinated by Iraqis.

    Mr Galloway replied: “My goodness this is a moral maze.

    “Yes, I would, because such an operation would be counterproductive because it would just generate a new wave of anti-Muslim, anti-Arab sentiment whipped up by the press.

    “It would lead to new draconian anti-terror laws, and would probably strengthen the resolve of the British and American services in Iraq rather than weaken it. So yes, I would inform the authorities.”’

    You GET that, do you? Not because he should report such a threat as right-minded people would in order to try to prevent Blair’s murder, but because not reporting it and thus not preventing it would lead to more anti-Muslim sentiment! He also states that he wants to WEAKEN the resolve of the west in Iraq.

    On Talksport he moves to criticise his phone-in listener  for such a mindset.  He knows his intervention to this listener will make no difference now. That criminal mindset is already widespread, thanks to our media’s encouragement, or at least lack of discouragement. Thus Tony Blair is the most extensively and expensively protected politician EVER  in Britain, probably worldwide.

    Thank you GG and your kind. Sourced here on YouTube

    You should know, Mr G, that much as I dislike your political views and your behaviour towards Britian and the west, I would still report to the authorities any plan to assassinate you, if I ever heard of one. No ifs, no buts.

    I’m funny like that.

    2. Canadian Sentinel, from March 2009, on George Galloway and the threat he and his like pose to the west (and not just to Tony Blair.)

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    2 Responses to “Audio: George Galloway discusses Chilcot Inquiry with Blair Supporter John Rentoul”

    1. faceless Says:

      That’s quite a lot of work you’ve gone to – none of which really seems to be that revealing…

      all the best!

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        I have a lot of time for Rentoul, almost as much as I have for Blair. As for Galloway, he, his motives, beliefs and irrationality need as much uncovering as possible.

        Btw, if your comment was no more than a spam sentence composed and bulk-mailed for the purpose of marketing clickthroughs, it’s better than the average.


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