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.
Um, no, it's not.
Perhaps you're not aware of the charges Galloway has been facing here.
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.
So does most Britons (and me) who have known and disliked Galloway for many years longer than you.
You seem to be spoiling for a fight.
LOL Grow up please!
I didn't see the hearing, but Coleman may have just been letting Galloway have plenty of rope. Tariq Aziz has reportedly been very cooperative with this committee, and his testimony has yet to be heard.
No. His style was excellent.
Galloway was outright baiting him and Coleman didn't bite. And they did get him under oath and on the record on a few matters.
I don't care for this relentless negativity based on nothing.
I suggest he has neither.
I watched it too and Galloway is in no trouble at all. In fact there is nothing the Senators can do now.
I watched it for a while. He certainly opened a giant can of whupass on that committee.
The British are just pissed we kicked their ass...twice!
What a bunch of girliemen. We had to save them in WWII as well.
Me too. Too lame, I know.
And you say you watched?
If they had proof they would show it.
Clearly you're settling for parroting George Galloway's lines (and lies).
"I don't care for this relentless negativity based on nothing."
I just feel that the committee was very hands-off considering how insulting this guy was and how overwhelming the Senators evidence is.
You know what's amazing? Someone not knowing what they're talking about yet making comments based on misinformation.
By design or ignorance is the only question.
Hmmmmm, I'm leaning toward "by design" at this point.
What proof did they have? Any even slightly objective person could see they never touched him.
I repeat again, I don't like Galloway, and didn't like him decades before you had even heard his name, but there is no honour in pretending to see what is not there.
Telling, isn't it.
Levin was almost dogged in pressing Galloway on the document (to those who are ignorant or ignoring the facts--there were documents and Galloway would not say all were forged) and on the Iraq dealings of his chairman of his charity.
You clearly did not watch the hearing as you claim (or you're spinning like a top).
The first panel was a very detailed offer of documentation and witness statements.
Coleman pointed to some of this in his opening before Galloway spoke.
They have documentation and I'll bet you know it.
This is the deliberate disengenous part I don't like. He didn't say they were not all forgeries, he actually said since he had never seen them before and didn't know what they were, how could he say whether the original documents were forgeries or not.
I did watch it, and since you are so sure of the proof tell us all it then? And be precise please.
Say, didja happen to catch his testimoney re Zuriekat?
I don't think your "he also denied" as if implying a flat denial really is accurate.
Not disingenuous. Factual.
And I directed you to a link to the hearing where more documentation was displayed.