Friday, May 27, 2005
Trying to get Galloway: The Right goes gaga over website
A Norwegian blogger George Gooding decided to check the Mariam Appeal website (which ceased to represent the appeal sometime in 2001), and what he found—or better, what he didn't—has got his knickers in a twist. This got him a link and replay from Clinton W. Taylor, "a lawyer and a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Stanford" writing at the American Spectator and another link from the site of Roger L. Simon, which appears to be one of the more popular right-wing blogs.
Taylor chortled that "the Senate tortoises may yet have the last laugh. Mr. Galloway seems to have told a big, fat whopper under oath, and a tech-savvy blogger has dug up some proof," and Simon, who is apparently a mystery writer, whispered knowingly that "I have specific information the details from Seixon's site have already been forwarded to the Coleman Committee via this blog."
The latest buzz has to do with this exchange during the testimony—
SEN. COLEMAN: So Mr. Galloway, you would have this committee believe that your designated representative from the Mariam's Appeal becomes the chair of the Mariam's Appeal, was listed in Iraqi documents as obviously doing business, oil deals with Iraq, that you never had a conversation with him in 2001 or whether he was doing oil business with Iraq.
GALLOWAY: No, I'm doing better than that. I'm telling you that I knew that he was doing a vast amount of business with Iraq. Much bigger, as I said a couple of answers ago, than any oil business he did. In the airports he was the representative of some of the world's biggest companies in Iraq. He was an extremely wealthy businessman doing very extensive business in Iraq.
Not only did I know that, but I told everyone about it. I emblazoned it in our literature, on our Web site....
What Mr. Gooding was checking for, I presume, was whether the content of Mr. Galloway's speech in the first paragraph above was indeed "emblazoned on the website."
Well, it wasn't, at least not as Americans would understand it. If you consider Mr. Galloway's statement itself, you will see that in a literal sense it is not very likely that this was "emblazoned on the website." What would such an emblazonment look like?
is an extremely wealthy businessman
doing extensive business in Iraq ????
How do you say "tacky" in Norwegian? I think we may have a little class and cultural misunderstanding going on here. Mr. Gooding, the blogger, is Norwegian-American or American-Norwegian. Whatever he is, he isn't British.
What "emblazoned" means to a Brit of class is not what "emblazoned" means to most Americans, who think that "understatement" is when you "take the Fifth"—a privilege that Mr. Galloway did not invoke. When Americans "emblazon" they tend to do it in neon, but in the circles in which Mr. Zureikat undoubtedly moves and with which Mr. Galloway dealt, "emblazoned" means that you have allowed your name to be used—period.
I really don't think George Galloway meant anything more—or anything less—than that.
At another point in his testimony, Mr. Galloway mentioned that his primary contributor was "Sheik Zayed, the ruler of the United Arab Emirates" and his third highest contributor was "the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia." As a contributor "poor" Mr. Zureikat was sandwiched between these august personnages—neither of whose names appear on the Mariam Appeal website, by the way.
Several other points about this website:
- It is not very sophisticated and was probably put together as an afterthought. I cannot imagine that it was a primary vehicle for fundraising. It appears to have been used as a site for news of several of Galloway's projects beyond Mariam's Appeal.
- Nowhere at any date do I see a listing of persons that would correspond to a board of directors. Only the names of "founder members and supporters" are given. (Mr. Zureikat was apparently not among the founder members and supporters.) George Galloway himself is never mentioned as a "chair" or "chairman."
- Mr. Zureikat appears as "International liaison / Rebuilding Baghdad Library Campaign" under the "National Mobilization Committee for the Defence of Iraq." The site says "The Mariam Appeal was established in 1998 by the Emergency Committee on Iraq." I don't know what the interrelationships among all these organizations are, or even if they are distinct organizations. But I would imagine that the British auditors of the Charity Commission sorted all that out.
Galloway before Senate committee this morning (5/17/05)
George Galloway: An item you may have missed (5/18/05)
Complete testimony of George Galloway (5/21/05)
Letter to the PBS NewHour concerning George Galloway (5/24/05)