Assault on the Underground

30 03 2011

Category; Politics, Middle East, Media

What an arresting sight on the Northern Line platform at Leicester Square Underground Station: George Galloway addressing the platform from a poster for Press TV; telling us what ‘they‘ don’t want us to hear.

I wonder if he will tell us about his recent inclusion in a two-part World Service Documentary on Useful Idiots through the ages. This is how the programme defined Useful Idiot, a term which originated with Lenin;

Useful idiots, in a broader sense, refers to Western journalists, travellers and intellectuals who gave their blessing – often with evangelistic fervour – to tyrannies and tyrants, thereby convincing politicians and public that utopias rather than Belsens thrived.

Galloway’s most famous, and craven, display of Useful Idiocy was in the presence of Iraqi tyrant and mass-murderer Saddam Hussein.  He has, more recently, claimed that his words were addressed not to Saddam but to the Iraqi people.

But they were directed straight to Saddam. When quoted, the Arabic is often left out, presumably for reasons of understanding. If the Arabic is included there can be no doubt as to what Galloway was saying:

Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you hatta al-nasr, hatta al-nasr, hatta al-Quds [until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem].

Here’s the clip with Galloway saluting Saddam. Click to play it.

A more recent example of his Useful Idiocy was highlighted in the radio documentary, and concerns Press TV, the very paymasters he is promoting (along with himself) on the tube platform.

The programme featured two journalists in Iran during the elections of 2009 and subsequent crack-down by Ahmedinajad’s regime. Maziar Bahari was working for Newsweek when he was arrested, he has particular reason to remember Press TV’s role.

I was arrested and I spent 118 days in Evin Prison, 107 days out of those 118 days in solitary confinement. Basically there were a lot of beatings, punchings, slapping, but repeatedly. They wanted me to confess that I was a spy.

Are you a spy?

No I am not, and I was not and I told them that.

One day he was taken into another room where Press TV was waiting:

There were 3 camera crews there, but it really surprised me to see Press TV in that room because I thought that at least they would try to pretend that they are good journalists. And I don’t think any good journalist in good conscience would interview another journalist in prison, under duress, with a blindfold on his knee, in prison uniform, and cooperate with the interrogator to come up with questions.

This is what a reporter who resigned from Press TV just before the election had to say about the prison at that time:

The first thing that you noticed about this place was the smell, the absolute reek of faeces everywhere. This was hell basically, you felt like you were going beyond the brink of anything normal. The next thing that you notice is the screams and there’s a lot of torture going on there and you hear that and I’ll tell you all this time later it still lives with me.

Press TV is simply a propaganda tool for an illegitimate and repressive state.

I’ve got a reasonable idea what George Galloway thinks ‘they‘ don’t want us to hear. More of his usual swagger and bluster; defending and promoting bad people under the guise of fighting for the rights of the downtrodden.

But I won’t know for sure, because I won’t be tuning in.

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