Wednesday, May 18, 2005

stick that in your smoking gun

I doubt Tony Blair would have been too pleased with the prospect of George Galloway facing him across the House of Commons floor. What does surprise me, however, is that he has pulled the remarkably transparent stunt of calling on his buddy in The White House to have the prominent anti-war campaigner publicly accused of profiting financially from the Saddam Hussein regime, a claim that has already been successfully challenged in the British courts following a full libel case against The Daily Telegraph.

Galloway rose to the challenge yesterday and faced the US Senate Committee hearing, in an exercise he compared to Daniel entering the lion’s den. As with that story, the lions were silenced, but in this case it was the British MP’s defiance and profound eloquence that kept the predators at bay.

Here are some of the quotes from George Galloway as he confronted his accusers on a US Senate sub-committee.

· "I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one, and neither has anybody on my behalf."

· "I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice."

· "You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever having written to me or telephoned me, without any contact with me whatsoever and you call that justice."

· "I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns."

· "You have nothing on me Senator [Coleman], except my name on lists of names in Iraq, many of which were drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Iraq."

· "Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars? The answer to that is nobody and if you had anybody who paid me a penny you would have produced them here today."

· "One of the most serious mistakes you have made in this set of documents is such a schoolboy [error] it makes a fool of the efforts you have made."

· "Senator [Coleman], in everything I said about Iraq I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 have paid with their lives, 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies."

· "Senator [Norm Coleman, committee chairman], this is the mother of all smoke screens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth."
· “I opposed the oil-for-food program with all my heart, not for the reasons that you are troubled by it, but because it was a program which saw the death … of a million people, most of them children, in Iraq.”

Despite Galloway’s victory in the recent election, I would suspect that it was more of a moral one than it was one that will prolong his future in British politics. Since Kofi Annan’s days as UN Secretary-General may very well be numbered, I can think of no better replacement than George Galloway himself. There's one to put the cat among the pigeons. Considering the mincemeat he made of Senator Coleman & co, imagine him taking on John Bolton??? I have a feeling Bolton's nomination would be withdrawn pretty quickly.

If you have the time, I suggest you follow this link and play the video file. Whatever your opinion of the war in Iraq, try to focus on the manner with which the man deports himself in his own defence in what had to be intimidating circumstances.


Buffalo said...

Tony Blair rocks. (Am I too old to say that?)

Heidi said...

Daniel in the lion's den, indeed!

James Shott said...

Here on this side of the pond, the view of George Galloway is not so heroic. I will confess that all we have right now are allegations and denials, but the Oil-forFood program is rife with corruption, and my view of Sen. Coleman is that of an honest guy trying to get to the truth. Here is an account of the Senate hearing that is less kind toward Galloway:

Coleman named Galloway as the recipient of payoffs totaling 20 million barrels of oil through the corrupt Oil-for-Food program.

Speaking at the beginning of the hearing, Coleman said Galloway was allotted 20 million barrels of oil to enrich himself in exchange for his support for Saddam Hussein's regime. Majority Counsel for the committee Mark Greenblatt then testified that the barrels came in six phases during the Oil-for-Food program.

"Saddam Hussein's chief lieutenant, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, confirmed in an interview with the subcommittee that Galloway received allocations. In addition ... Ramadan confirmed that Galloway was granted allocations, quote, 'because of his opinions about Iraq. He wants to lift embargo against Iraq.'"

Other Saddam regime officials confirmed that Galloway received allocations, Greenblatt said. He added that one document "indicates that the recipient of this oil allocation was Mariam Appeal, the foundation established by George Galloway, ostensibly to help a four-year-old Iraqi girl named Mariam who was suffering from leukemia. Therefore, it appears that George Galloway used a children's cancer foundation to conceal his oil transaction."

He then said the transactions were conducted through Galloway's agent, Fawaz Zuraiqat, a Jordanian who is president of Middle East Advanced Semiconductor Inc.

I will watch the developments of this story with interest.

JL Pagano said...

Your account has a whole lotta Senate accusations, and not a whole lotta Galloways's defence, which was precisely the theme of his testimony. Like I say, if you want to watch this with interest, take a half hour to watch the video file of the entire exchange.

I notice he seems to be quite the hero on Democrat blogs, btw.

"It was just so amazing to hear his words, the guy fears nothing."

"It was nice to hear PASSION and TRUTH and FACTS for a change."

"This guy is a rock star, a real life Sean Connery type."

"I don't know who this guy is either, but it is so fabulous to see someone who isn't afraid of them."

...all comments left at blondesense, and from what I can see they are all Americans.

James Howard Shott said...

Well, as they say, "the proof is in the pudding." I suppose that cryptic message means "it'll all come out in the wash" or "let's wait and see."

I'm not surprized that this is all over the Dem blogs. It's red meat for them.

But who knows? Galloway may be everything he claims to be, and the Dems might just be right for a change.