Skip to comments.British Lawmaker Lashes Out at Senators
Posted on 05/17/2005 1:27:30 PM PDT by Brilliant
WASHINGTON - British lawmaker George Galloway denounced U.S. senators on their home turf Tuesday, denying accusations that he profited from the U.N. oil-for-food program and accusing them of unfairly tarnishing his name.
Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., questioned Galloway's honesty and told reporters, "If in fact he lied to this committee, there will have to be consequences."
Galloway's appearance was an odd spectacle on Capitol Hill: A legislator from a friendly nation, voluntarily testifying under oath, without immunity, at a combative congressional hearing where neither side showed much pretense of diplomatic niceties.
"Now, I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer, you're remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice," Galloway told Coleman, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs investigation subcommittee.
He then accused Coleman of maligning his name before giving him a chance to defend himself and of using the oil-for-food investigation to hide the failures of U.S. policies in Iraq.
"Senator, this is the mother of all smoke screens," he said.
The panel is one of several congressional committees investigating allegations that Saddam Hussein manipulated the $64 billion oil-for-food program to get kickbacks and build international opposition to U.N. sanctions against Iraq set up after the 1991 Gulf War. The program was created as an exception to the sanctions, allowing Saddam to sell oil and use the proceeds to buy food and other humanitarian items.
Coleman's panel last week released documents that it says shows that Galloway and other international figures received valuable oil allocations from Saddam to reward them for their opposition to sanctions. The allocations could be resold for a profit. Among the officials identified besides Galloway were former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua and Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, both of whom denied wrongdoing.
Coleman's subcommittee claimed that Galloway funneled allocations through the Mariam Appeal a fund he established in 1998 to help a 4-year-old Iraqi girl suffering from leukemia and received allocations worth 20 million barrels from 2000 to 2003. Coleman also alleged that Galloway was linked to kickbacks to Saddam, saying the Iraqi leader received more than $300,000 in surcharges on allocations involving Galloway.
Galloway vehemently rejected the accusations.
"You have nothing on me, senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad," he said.
He said that Coleman's panel based some of its accusations on the same fake documents used by The Daily Telegraph newspaper, which he sued for libel and won a $1.4 million libel judgment. The committee says it used different documents.
Coleman pressed Galloway on his relationship with Jordanian businessman Fawaz Zureikat. Galloway described Zureikat as the second largest contributor to the Mariam Appeal, while congressional investigators consider him Galloway's intermediary in receiving oil proceeds.
Asked if he knew that Zureikat was involved in oil deals with Iraq in 2001, Galloway said he knew Zureikat was doing extensive business in Iraq, but didn't know the details.
When Coleman reacted skeptically, Galloway told him, "There are lots of contributors to your political campaign funds. I don't suppose you ask any of them how they made the money they give you."
Galloway also said it was "beyond the realm of the ridiculous" that he would give $300,000 in kickbacks to Saddam.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, both Coleman and the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, questioned Galloway's credibility. Asked if Galloway violated his oath to tell the truth before the committee, Coleman said, "I don't know. We'll have to look over the record."
Galloway has been an outspoken opponent of both Iraq wars and of the U.N. sanctions, which he said were killing innocent Iraqis. He was expelled from Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party after urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq. Galloway was recently re-elected to Parliament this month as a representative of his own anti-Iraq war Respect party.
Well if you have the proof please tell the Senators and the rest please.
"Bully for the Brit!
It's about time that somebody stood up to that sanctimonious thug, Norm Coleman, and said, "HAVE YOU NO DECENCY, SIR?""
Yes, I agree! Bully for the people who were making money from the rape and pillaging of the Iraqi people! We should leave poor little Galloway alone, and that goes for his buddy Saddam too!
"Galloway certainly has balls, if not brains."
Big brass ones, but what control does the U.S. Senate have over him?
Plenty of politicians have big villas. As for his wife, she is NOT Arafats niece. If that is what he was up against no wonder he ran all over the Senators.
"He has always called Saddam a brutal dictator."
then who said this to Saddam?
"Sir, I salute your courage, your strength and your indefatigability"
If you see the whole video he is talking to the Iraqi people. I knew all this before you did, and I knew Galloway before you did and didn't like him before you had heard of him, but there is much twisting of the truth and half-truths being told - that being one of them.
He was expelled from Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party after urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq.
Just wanted to put those two closer together than the article deigned.
Carl Levin was pretty good, too, which doesn't bode well for Galloway. If the evidence was spinnable I've no doubt the dems would take a more sympathetic tack.
The evidence was not touched and it was a mighty entertaining spectacle calculated by the "outraged" Galloway.
Here's a link to the part of the hearing where Galloway testified. It begins with Coleman laying out the case.
Believe me news was made and the reporters know it.
Everything that communist said in the Senante was a pack of lies. When I saw his speech I became furious!
Didn't we bail out the Brits TWICE? Is this the thanks we get? The Senate should nail him for contempt for sprewing his many many lies.
"Plenty of politicians have big villas."
And all should be questioned, no?
"As for his wife, she is NOT Arafats niece."
Ok, what how was she related?
"If that is what he was up against no wonder he ran all over the Senators."
It was a joke. They should have stepped down and appointed some lawyers to interrogate. The inquiry is incompetent. Of course the facial connections he'll deny. If money was transferred it was under another ruse. Gosh, you'd think politicians would know that...
I'll give him credit, he's a master of avoiding answers. He should be a diplomat.
Coleman had plenty of decency. Galloway on the other hand...
Did you see Carl Levin? He wasn't buying what Galloway was selling either.
It doesn't look good for George Galloway.
Check out the link I just posted at #68.
If you dare.
I'm saying that Galloway appears to be (or have been) a tacit ally of Saddam's-- in that he fought to prevent the war, Saddam's ouster and the sanctions against Iraq. There is no proof needed of this in that it is his actual record.
You can call a man a "brutal dictator" and still do nothing to remove him-- and indeed obstruct his removal. What does this make YOU?
I am NOT saying what Galloway did was illegal-- unless it is shown otherwise. I AM saying that I (and most Americans) would find it supremely distasteful.
You seem to be spoiling for a fight.
A villa in Portugal and Iraqi vouchers are unrelated. Galloway would be a millionaire (this is not a joke) for the amount of money he has made by suing people for libel, including the Iraqi vouchers.
His wife is not related to Arafat in any way.
Finally, Galloway is a top-class politician. If he had milder views he would be a Government minister.
He announced he was coming here after the Committee released the documents last week detailing Galloway's and a couple other European politician's ties to the illegal oil for food scam.
It's his strategy. Some think Coleman baited him. Perhaps. And here he was, under oath.
I completely disagree with your characterization of "inconsequential questions" as it ignores the entire first panel and Coleman's impressive opening welcoming Galloway and even Sen. Levin's consequential questioning.
Dream on. I really watched it and Galloway is in trouble.
Coleman had excellent charges and evidence... but why does it sound like he's falling asleep and doesn't care about what he's saying? He should have been humiliating this guy.
Having respect for the law translates to sanctimony in your and George Galloway's world.
Are you for real? Are all Americans like Ward Churchill?
As for bailing people out, Britain declared war on Hitler while America waited for two years for Hitler to declare war on America, and yet we should kiss your ass. Since when did doing right become wrong?
Name another nation other than Britain who has lost more men or spent more resources helping America in the War on Terror from DAY ONE!
On what are you basing your commentary?
There is much more than "some Iraqi official's testimony". There is documentation.
In fact one line of questioning that Levin pursued was trying to pin Galloway down on one specific document and asked him if the document was a forgery. Galloway would not say that and said it might be real but the information was false.
I do not think Galloway could be pinned down on perjury as he was more slick than Slick, but I do think his testimony "can and will be used against him".