The Middle Ground.

The Guardian “Backbencher”-newsletter (could not find a web address…) also believes in C-movie screenplays and goes on to explore the middle ground in the Galloway affair. This is what it might look like –

“The Backbencher approached Guardian security affairs editor Richard Norton-Taylor and asked him to untangle the web of intrigue surrounding George Galloway MP.

‘I think the documents relating to George Galloway from the Iraqi foreign ministry, found – fortuitously and by chance – by the DailyTelegraph (hardly a friend of Mr Galloway’s, by the way) were certainly genuine. They could have been found, I suppose, by British intelligence or someone who had an interest in smearing Mr Galloway and then deposited there and the Telegraph reporter pointed in that direction. It’s possible the box was planted, but unlikely, I think. Journalists bump into things and chance has a lot to do with such scoops.

“Having said that, what do they actually mean? Who is the person actually being protected and who is being accused? On the face of it, the documents say Mr Galloway took GBP300,000 plus out of the oil-for-food programme that Iraq had negotiated with the UN and that he wanted more. But did he himself know about the money, let alone get any of it? … Like intelligence people, in my experience, middle men often want money for themselves but blame a third party, in this case Mr Galloway. I think it is very possible that this money didn’t line his pockets at all, but went to these middle men.

There’s no evidence at all that he had it, no bank accounts in Britain or Switzerland, and I must say he’d be a bit of a fool to have taken any money – let alone over GBP300,000 a year – not just from Iraq but directly from a UN-sponsored food programme. I just can’t see that. Certainly, some of the money might have gone to his campaign, the Mariam Appeal, which started off protecting a young Iraqi girl from leukaemia who was given hospital treatment in Glasgow, but became a political campaign which Mr Galloway was very open about. If the money went to the campaign and not for his personal use, then I think he’ll have a very strong case.

Mr Galloway claims it is a smear campaign and that this stuff was planted, even forged. There’s no evidence for that. Now he has also commenced legal action. The question now for the paper is one of proving a negative, but you can’t have a libel case where you subpoena Saddam Hussein and others in the former Iraqi regime. The trouble for the Telegraph is that in such libel cases the burden of proof is on them.'”

Well, maybe we’ll know at some point. But whatever the outcome of the libel suit – or possible party sanctions against Galloway for this affair or earlier statements calling Tony Blair and GWB “Wolves” and urging British troops not to follow orders – this case proves an important rule: Don’t expect to return home with a clean shirt when you go mud catching with Saddam Hussein.