George Galloway Threatens David T with Libel Action

David T of the liberal hawk blog Harry’s Place has announced that he is being sued by George Galloway and an associate named Kevin Ovenden, who are demanding £50,000 each for a comment which David posted to the Socialist Unity blog. The comment does not mention either man, but it does refer to the aid convoy charity Viva Palestina, of which both men are trustees. David suggests that the organisation is a “Hamas fundraising operation” and scoffs that it would “have been an honest way to advertise their activities” if Viva Palestina’s official t-shirts had included a hadith concerning the killing of Jews, since this Hadith appears in the Hamas covenant. He futher jokes that “he could have sworn” that this hadith was what was written on the t-shirts, but that “google translate must have let me down”.

David T’s comment is not one that I would endorse – and not just because it might prove bad for the wallet. It’s clear that the purpose of the Viva Palestina convoys has to provide humanitarian aid, to publicise conditions in Gaza, and to make a protest against the Israeli blockcade. It is not motivated by anti-Jewish animus, it has not carried items that could be used for violence, and it does not seek to persuade Gazans to support Hamas politically. Further, the recent charity commission report on Viva Palestina has ruled that

From the material the Inquiry examined the Commission found no evidence that the Charity’s property was provided to Hamas.

However, we also read in the report that

Mr Galloway also confirmed that he had handed over £25,000 in cash to Hamas and acknowledged that this was not the Charity’s money. In addition he informed the Inquiry that in order to distance the Charity from this act he had been very clear that it was ‘personal money’ that had been handed to Hamas.

That money was handed over to the Prime Minister of Gaza to make a political point. Galloway said at the time that:

Here is the money. This is not charity. This is not charity. This is not charity. This is politics. The government of Palestine is the best people to decide where this money is needed.

Presumably, Galloway is making a distinction of cash to help the government of Gaza perform its civic functions and cash for Hamas as a political entity. But there is no sign of here of any critical distance from Hamas – and Harry’s Place has responded to the libel threat by showing various photo ops of Galloway with his Hamas hosts in Gaza.

The legal threat seems to me to be badly conceived. I’m sure that Galloway and Overden are against the anti-Jewish hadith in Hamas Covenant, but while it’s there anyone who meets a Hamas governmental official risks being tarnished by association. Blame Hamas for that. And of course it’s annoying when a political opponent extrapolates a supposedly logical chain from one’s activities or position to the conclusion that in  some deeper “objective” sense one is in fact supporting something else, but that’s life and to be allowed to do it is essential to public debate.

There are also some other factors that do not impress – where exactly was the figure of £50,000 a piece plucked from? In 2004 Galloway got £150,000 from the Telegraph after a front-page splash about him; the idea that a mocking comment on a blog (which did not seriously claim to have evidence that Viva Palestina supported the anti-Jewish hadith) should be worth a third of that is risible. And why hasn’t their solicitor asked Socialist Unity to remove the offending comment? It should be an easy matter, since the site’s owner is broadly supportive of Galloway. Unless the solicitor does this, Galloway and Overden might be regarded as having “acquiesced” to the publication – I blogged a case last year which was brought by a blog owner against someone who had left a comment on his site, and the case failed on just these grounds.

31 Responses

  1. HP is a self styled “anti-fascist site”, but I find it dangerously racist site only surpassed by jihadwatch. Even one BNP maestro is a regular contributor at HP called Lee something.

  2. […] David T by Rumbold on 19th March, 2010 at 1:17 PM     David T of Harry’s Place is being sued by George Galloway and one of Mr. Galloway’s collegues, Kevin Ovenden. They are demanding […]

  3. Mr M’s comment:-

    “Even one BNP maestro is a regular contributor at HP called Lee something.”

    Lee John Barnes of the BNP writes crazy comments in the threads at HP and is derided and abused by everyone else. He loathes HP, which is constantly mocking him and the BNP. A “contributor” to a blog means someone who writes posts, not someone who makes comments.

    If we were suing each other all over the place, Mr M’s comment would be a defamatory remark. But as this post says, it’s horribly destructive to public debate if comments at blogs are thought to be actionable.

    The conclusion I come to via GG’s actions is that Harry’s Place has rattled him. For those who care to look through the site over the last few weeks, there’s an entertaining video of GG addressing a meeting re police brutality at a Gaza demo, then calling on the police to remove people who are heckling him at this meeting. I’d link to it, but the Harry’s Place site hasn’t been working well of late.

  4. No, Mr M, Lee guy is there to defend the BNP against the attacks made on it by HP. He used to hang out at Pickled Politics for the same reason.

  5. “HP is a self styled “anti-fascist site”, but I find it dangerously racist site only surpassed by jihadwatch. Even one BNP maestro is a regular contributor at HP called Lee something.

    I think you mean Lee Barnes, who posts ranty comments and gets ‘ragged’ unmercifully by the other commenters for it. He’s not exactly in a community of like-minded people.

    Dave T’s comment re ‘Viva Palestrina’ was obviously a pointed joke – and I would have thought well within the bounds of political debate. Not that I’m a particular fan of the ‘you support x therefore you must support y’ debating tactic, as I get it thrown at me.

  6. Richard, if VP’s aims were ones of sympathetic humanism and simple concern to Gazans, they could have funded direct aid-deliveries to the territory without a long, winding route with maximum media exposure and then seeking a violent confrontation:

    This includes footage of members wearing said T-Shirt:

    Can you hear what they’re chanting at 2 min 20 sec? It’s فلسطين ! فلسطين ! معك كلنا الى يوم الدين Falisteen! Falisteen! ma’ak kulna ila youma deen”… that is, “Palestine, Palestine, we are with you until Judgement Day”. This a reference to the Hadith which David alluded to.

  7. HP has hit a nerve with more than GG, judging by the vulgar Leninist attempting a hatchet job. Here’re HP’s thoughts on Barnes:

    Hardly one of love. If HP is to be associated with this fascist, then so should VP with the fascists and murderous anti-Jewish racists who hang around it.

    Yes, that is what happens when people have no brains.

    How old are you? It’s a common problem when assigned band-width is outstriped by demand.

    I do not poke fun at racists because that is playing with fire.

    No, I’ll bet my right arm you’ve been to HP before, and were thorough mauled. Thickies and those with intellects of 17 year olds often meet this fate.

    But sadly, playing with fire is the norm of this man and people like him.

    What’s this about GG?

  8. Mr. M — as other posters have pointed out, every time Mr. Barnes shows up on HP, he is brutally mocked. What other posters haven’t pointed out is how often the HP authors go out of their way to specifically target him when the make regular posts that touch on the BNP. I find it staggering that anyone would be familiar enough with HP to talk about Barnes but at the same time not know how badly he is kicked and abused regularly on the site. You are either (a) parroting something you heard third hand or (b) fully aware of the above but trying to throw dirt on a group of people because it suits your politics.

    As for the substance. it should be pointed out that Hamas has obligations to their constituents. They have to provide a bare modicum of services to Gaza, and in the absence of “humanitarian” aid from abroad they would take money they would otherwise use to fashion rockets to provide them. How do I know this? Because back in the day after getting into some trouble the Provisional IRA was VERY careful to only raise funds in the US “for the prisoners wives and children” knowing they had to provide for same in any event and that every dollar passed over to them by NYC, South Boston, Chicago and the Aussies was one more dollar raised locally they could use to but guns and semtex with. I say this having been one of the people who enthusiastically contributed back when I was very young and very stupid.

  9. I never knew this man was brutally mocked except an endless x rated engagements with other slanderous people at HP. That is why I hardly viewed topics just to avoid talks of ejaculations and peoples homosexual tendencies as if homosexuality is a crime.

    “HP has hit a nerve with more than GG, judging by the vulgar Leninist attempting a hatchet job”

    I googled this DT’s name to find few articles about himself selling his family to Daily Mail. Look for an article about males only swimming session and you will see how low he sinks to even drag his little child into a publicity stunt. That is definitely no Leninists starting from his love for Daily Mail; a paper mostly read by BNP members.

  10. Anyone unaware of the animus towards Barnes should not be commenting on the matter.

    Stop presenting yourself as aloof from petty blog-spats (which is precisely what you’re doing). It’s as plain as a Soviet pin-up you’re one one of those skulking cowards who return under new names in their obsessional hatred of a lively website. All life is there, and you detest not being in control.

    Googling in the first instance is the tactic of a blaggard, but you didn’t do so. That article was not written by David T.

  11. PS You’re Bob Pitt, ain’t you?

  12. Ignore this waste of cyberspace called M.

  13. Public pool bars father and son from its ‘Muslim-only’ swimming session
    Read more:

    He does not have to write for Daily Mail. Google helped discover much information about spammers who send me unwanted email and people who I come across in positions of influence such as MPs, teachers, clergy, police officers etc. I don’t see why I should treat anybody else who seeks attention any different.

    What will the next article involving DT be, “Muslim men ate my pet”? like bellow:

    Asylum gang had two swans for roasting

  14. As I said, Bob, that article was decided upon by Daily Mail staff. Someone with any knowledge of HP would know that David T’s line was one of gender segregation.

    But you know this. How’re you getting on since your sugar daddy was voted out by Londoners?

  15. I hope you will forgive me Alec, but I also googled your name. I could not tell DT from Alec until I came across “We are all DT” comment at a place called spittoon. Banter and vendetta are too different issues, but some people are just not clever enough.

  16. Take your mask off, Bob. This is pathetic.

  17. On the subject of freedom of speech, Alec had no problems with attempts to crush speeches made by the masters of Lee, in 2007. If Lee’s people were no good in 2007, why would he be made a regular poster at HP now?

    Protests held as ‘fascists’ speak at Oxford

    Alec Macpherson: who .. accuse the future captains of industry of playing a sub-Niezshean parlour game with the cherished values of freedom of speech by placing an avowed racist and perjurer on stage together?

    You can’t have your cake and eat it my friend. Libel laws were here before little narcissist kids were braught up with McDonalds. If you can’t live with them, there is plenty of other countries to go and live.

  18. Now, Bob, why would claim he knew nowt about ‘Alec’ beyond a brief Google then link to one of the many Alecs who, just so happens, has my surname?

    PS Tacking the definite article onto hoi polloi? I was so young!

  19. Alec Mcpherson has many friends including David Hirsh of Engage and particpates in all actions against Libel Laws. Funny the things one can find from the internet. Bullying is no good young man, and gets even worse when one becomes a family man as GG is. He is a man who do not use his partner and children for cheap publicity and I respect him for that.

  20. Mr M “He is a man who do not use his partner and children for cheap publicity and I respect him for that”

    Take a look at this.

    “Some people say they’ll kill me. Maybe so; but if they do my son will pick up my banner.

    If they kill my son, my daughter will pick up the banner.

    If they kill her, others will pick up the banner of justice for the Palestinians.”

  21. Stop it, Bob.

  22. […] I don’t know much about the libel laws except that they can operate to silence reasoned debate, as the British Chiropractic Association is trying to do in the case of Simon Singh. The libel laws used as loppers against the pointing fingers of criticism and ridicule have been active again in the last couple of days, this time from the man with a constant itch for litigation, Mr George Galloway, who is in the process of suing David T of Harry’s Place for a facetious remark David T made on the Socialist Unity blog. (background here). […]

  23. ‘I wish he gets burned this time round. Lee guy is surely there because he shares a certain agenda with them just like [snip] mixes with European fascists.’

    Now this is libel and about as easily proven so as the Socialist Lunacy comments which referred to everybody at HP as (and I quote) ‘cheerleaders for Israeli state-terror’.

    Galloway has surrounded himself with a lot of middle-class wallies like Andy Newman and yourself who do the cockweaeal work of covering his oppressor-loving arse while pretending to be a ‘left’. Many of you like the character known as ‘Exile’ are subsequently show themselves to be supporters of the BNP.

  24. HP is a self styled “anti-fascist site”, but I find it dangerously racist site only surpassed by jihadwatch.

    Look, I’m no fan of Harry’s Place but “only surpassed“? And only surpassed by Jihad Watch? Even the Stormfront denizens – this leads us to believe – would feel that David T and Robert Spencer are a leetle bit beyond the pale.

  25. […] to heavy-handed legal tactics at the slightest of provocations. This week it was revealed that the Respect MP George Galloway was suing over a critical comment left on a blog. Regardless of the objectionable nature of the comment (and I’m no great fan of the website […]

  26. Graham, don’t forget that the Socialist Unity website is financed by the wage-packet of someone whose employer supplies the Israeli state.

  27. […] opinions of that site cease to matter when it comes to the legal demand that HP supremo David T has received from George Galloway and Kevin Ovenden. Although I obviously have not had sight of it, apparently […]

  28. I’m sure that Galloway and Overden are against the anti-Jewish hadith in Hamas Covenant,

    From what I can tell neither ‘gentleman’ has ever uttered a single word against any aspect of the Hamas Covenant.

    That ‘covenant’ calls for the death of Jews.

    Were G.G. and comapany hanging around with a bunch of white guys wearing white sheets, would you still be so understanding?

    And apologetic?

    Hamas is far to the right of the BNP.

  29. “White guys wearing white sheets” do not go to the troubles of giving their votes to Respect Party. You are OK June since you will not be getting any terrorists darkies votes. So be happy about the terrorists going somewhere else.

    Look who is doing a G.G:
    UN chief Ban Ki-moon demands Israel ends the Gaza blockade

    The whole world must be becoming “anti-Semitic” if the UN head is now uttering Hamas lines. Isn’t Gaza filled with fresh fruits, and busy bazaars. Why is this small eyes man using words like “suffering”(he cannot see huh)?

  30. You are OK June since you will not be getting any terrorists darkies votes.

    A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist and you’re welcome to their votes, be they light, dark or in between. Every colour can goose-step, but soft racists can’t see that.

    UN chief Ban Ki-moon demands Israel ends the Gaza blockade

    And not a word about Egypt’s?

    And gee, the Turks are threatening to expell 100,000 Armenians simply because the world’s attention is being brought to what Turkey hoped would be a forgotten holocaust.

    Quick! Support the oppressed Turks!

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