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Mr. Lewis: Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Galloway: Later.

Leaving aside the fact that, for the crime of telling the rest of us about Israel's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, Mordechai Vanunu is held in solitary confinement, serving a 20-year sentence, and had his jaw wired up in court like Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs" in case he told the court anything else, surely hon. Members, including the friends of Israel who are present, can see that international gangsterism by a country that claims to be a democracy is worse--not better--than gangsterism practised by a regime that makes no such claims.

After all, the Iraqi people have no responsibility whatever for the actions of their Government, because they did not choose their Government and they cannot remove their Government, no matter how much we make them suffer. The Israeli people, however, are entirely responsible for the actions of their Government, because they elected their Government and they can remove their Government.

Mr. Lewis: Does my hon. Friend accept that petty, personal and vindictive attacks do nothing to enhance his argument, but in fact undermine it? Does he accept that Israel is not only a democracy, but engaged in an on-going peace process with the Palestinians? Recent weeks have seen progress in that peace process. My hon. Friend does nothing to help his case when he seeks to rewrite history about the relationship between Israel and its neighbouring countries. The reality is that Israel has been surrounded throughout its history by countries hell bent on its destruction, including the regime in Iraq.

The problem with my hon. Friend's whole argument is that, by turning the issue into a comparison between Israel and Iraq, he lets Saddam Hussein off the hook once again, and reinforces his strength in the Arab world. That is what is so irresponsible about my hon. Friend's argumentabout the British, American and Israeli Governments' responsibility. It is Saddam Hussein who is responsible for the situation that faces the Iraqi people and for the instability in the middle east.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Member for Bury, South (Mr. Lewis) cannot make a speech in an intervention. May I add that moderation should be the hallmark of language in our debates? I have heard nothing out of order so far, but laying the stress on moderation would be helpful in the present atmosphere.

Mr. Galloway: I do not believe that it can be petty and vindictive to allow my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, South, with his well known views, to intervene in my speech four times. Indeed, it is probably generous. I am not sure that the people who live in the illegally occupied Golan Heights, illegally annexed by Israel, look on Tel Aviv as a democracy. I am not sure that the people of southern Lebanon, occupied by Israel since 1982,

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look upon Israel as a democracy. Certainly,the 1.5 million Palestinians who have lived for more than 30 years in occupied West Bank and Gaza have never been allowed to vote. I do not imagine that they look upon Tel Aviv as a democracy. Even if I accept that Israel is a democracy, my point is that crimes committed by a democracy are worse than crimes committed by a dictatorship. That is indisputable.

Has anyone advanced any proposal to punish the people of Israel for the international law breaking of the Government whom they elected? No, unless one counts making them participate in the Eurovision song contest and the European cup winners cup. I know that my right hon. Friend the Minister, as a long-time friend of Israel, does not like the double standards argument, but I assure him that it is an argument permanently on the lips of every Arab, from the most august in the palaces of the friendly Arab states to the man and woman in the street and it is the principal reason why his policy is utterly discredited in the Arab and Muslim world, and more widely.

What about the white knights of UNSCOM, led by Richard Butler? Can my right hon. Friend the Minister hazard a guess why a senior--and I mean very senior--still-serving official of the UN should describe Mr. Butler to me recently, on the basis of more than 20 years' close knowledge of the man, as a "congenital liar"? Is my right hon. Friend aware of the widespread unhappiness in the secretariat of the UN and in the Security Council about the conduct and the style of work of Mr. Butler?

Did my right hon. Friend read the article by David Usborne in The Independent almost a year ago in which he wrote:

An opinion whispered a year ago in the corridors of New York is now openly discussed by everyone, except--it seems--the US Government and our own.

Can my right hon. Friend the Minister understand the widespread view that Mr. Butler is a provocateur who has his men swaggering around Iraq, trying not to resolve the remaining questions between the UN and Iraq, but to create pretexts for continuing the crisis and even to provoke a new and terrible military confrontation? The Arabs feel it, the majority of the permanent five on the security council feel it, and the Minister must know it. That feeling was exacerbated when Mr. Butler's deputy, the former US intelligence officer, Scott Ritter, announced to the world, after leaving his post, that he had indeed collaborated with Israeli intelligence during his time in Baghdad.

While I am on that subject, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said four weeks ago that he would write to me about the revelation--the source of which was in New York, not Baghdad--that four named agents of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad had served under false names and false passports as UNSCOM agents of Mr. Butler in Baghdad. What has been the progress of my right hon. Friend's investigation of that matter, and when will he be in a position to write to me as he promised?

Mr. Dalyell: A fortnight ago, the former Irish Prime Minister, Albert Reynolds, and I sat in the office of UNSCOM talking to the acting director, the honest

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Finn Jaakko Ylitalo, and Caroline Cross. When we asked about Scott Ritter, they said, "Please don't mention him, we are ashamed."

Mr. Galloway: That is widely felt.

The events of the past week have vindicated absolutely the contentions of those who say that UNSCOM under Butler is bent upon provocation. There was the ridiculous squall over missing or non-existent paperwork which, if we had listened to the preposterous foreign affairs spokesman for the Opposition, would have seen us wipe out 10,000 people over a missing Iraqi air force diary dating back to the 1980s. It was a preposterous call, which was rightly ridiculed by Liberal Democrat spokesmen as well as by our own Government.

What would the bombing, called for by the Opposition spokesman, have achieved? Would it have produced the diary or incinerated it? Does the diary exist or not? Cannot the Minister see that, to seek to elevate this paper chase into a casus belli against a now practically defenceless country simply reduces us to figures of ridicule?

Some of the documents do exist and Iraq has said that the inspectors can read them but not take them away. They must read them in the presence of Prakesh Shah, the respected UN special envoy. What is wrong with that? Are we to wipe out 10,000 Iraqis in order to exercise our inalienable right to photocopy Iraq's whole national archive? If we do, how much support does the Minister think that we will have for such barbarism in the world, on the Security Council or in the Arab League?

The problem with the documents, which Iraq says do not exist, is, in microcosm, the central problem of the whole issue. How can someone be asked to prove a negative? I could insist that the Minister is hoarding a silver threepenny bit in his house and, after he denies it, I could search his house year after year after year, all the while starving his wife and children. I might then say, finally, that the Minister must prove to me that he does not have a silver threepenny bit. That is a recipe for endless confrontation and misery.

Then there is that old reliable chestnut, kept in reserve for that rainy day when even UNSCOM cannot justify its odyssey in Iraq any more, and that is the issue of Kuwait's missing in action. Of course, the United States has great experience of using that one and has made it the stuff of half a dozen Rambo fantasies. The search for the bones of American MIAs kept the embargo against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos going for literally decades, and it is being dusted down again for use in the Gulf as the final excuse for continuing the quiet massacre of sanctions.

Mr. Keith Vaz (Leicester, East): Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Galloway: I must press on.

There is an old saying that when one is in a hole, one should stop digging. Our policy towards Iraq is in a deep hole, neither moral nor effective, yet we seem incapable of devising an exit strategy to get us all out of that hole. Let us take the most recent act of excavation in which my right hon. Friend the Minister of State was involved--the much-trumpeted act of meeting and seeking to unify the Iraqi opposition based in London. It included everyone from the Turkoman Liberationists to something called the Democratic Monarchists who seek to put on a newly

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minted throne in Baghdad one of two pretenders to the kingdom--Sharrif Ali Bin Hussain--who left Iraq when he was still a baby.

Does the Minister really believe that the Turkoman organisation--there are six such organisations of Turkomen, and Turkomen constitute no more than6 per cent. of Iraq's population--or the Democratic Monarchists are serious contenders for power in Baghdad? There is also the so-called Iraqi National Congress, whose CIA funds have been discontinued because of the shambolic and corrupt incompetence it has displayed. Has the Minister spoken to his counterparts in friendly Jordan about the three prison sentences handed out to the INC leader, Mr. Chelabi, for his involvement in the Petra bank fraud scandal?

The Minister met the Shi'ite representatives in the form of Iraq's Islamic Supreme Council. Given the experience of those other holy warriors whom we financed, armed and trained, the Afghan Mujaheddin, is the Minister really sure that that is the company he wishes to keep? Is it the Government's policy to try to help the Shia revolution to power in Baghdad? Do the Government think that Iraq can be ruled by Turkomen or by the two Kurdish parties when they take a break from murdering each other?

I heard the Minister on the admirable Nicky Campbell's phone-in programme on Radio 5 yesterday. He said that he was meeting "constitutional" politicians. Really? On the very day, almost at the very hour when the Minister was pouring tea for his new friends, one of the "constitutional" activists threw two hand grenades into a crowd of people in the Shia holy city of Karbala.

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