[News] Galloway v the US Senate: transcript of statement
News at freedomarchives.org
News at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 18 19:51:51 EDT 2005
Galloway Strikes Back
WASHINGTON, 18 May 2005 Appearing voluntarily but clearly under emotional
duress in a packed US Senate hearing room, a defiant George Galloway, the
British member of Parliament, yesterday attacked his American accusers for
their claim that Iraq illegally awarded him lucrative contracts under the
now-defunct United Nations oil-for-food program.
During three hours of testimony that occasionally took on a defiant tone,
the newly elected MP lashed out at his Senate questioners, saying they were
smearing his reputation and engaging in the mother of all smokescreens to
hide the real scandal: That American firms themselves had reaped billions
of dollars in profits from deals struck with former Iraqi leader Saddam
During introductory comments, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee, Norm
Coleman (R-Minnesota), alleged that Galloway conspired to use a charitable
organization from 2000 to 2003 to launder profits from the sale of 20
million barrels of Iraqi oil.
In his defense of this charge, Galloway declared: I am not now nor have I
ever been an oil trader and neither has anyone on my behalf. I was an
opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and American governments and
businessmen were selling him guns and gas.
Testifying under oath, Galloway said the allegations made against him were
full of factual errors and false statements: On the very first page of
your document about me, you assert that I have had many meetings with
Saddam Hussein. This is false, he said. I have had two meetings with
Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August 2002. By no stretch of the
English language can that be described as many meetings. In fact Ive met
him 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. As the sharp exchange unfolded, the
mood in the packed room was electric with occasional snickers from the
audience at Galloways jibes at the senators.
Galloway bluntly confronted Coleman and challenged the attorney to back up
claims the British MP profited handsomely from the now defunct program.
Some of his harshest remarks concerned Colemans support for the US-led
invasion of Iraq that ousted Saddam.
Now 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, Galloway said. Galloway accused Coleman of sullying his
reputation and falsely asserting that he gave money to Saddam. You call
that justice? he asked, adding later: This is utterly preposterous.
The MP told reporters later he felt Coleman had failed in his
cross-examination. Hes not much of a lyncher, he said.
Coleman, in turn, said afterward he did not think Galloway was a credible
witness and that if he lied to the committee there would be consequences.
A maverick kicked out of the British Labour Party for his fervent
opposition to the Iraq war and for personal attacks on Prime Minister Tony
Blair, Galloway used the opportunity to criticize the US invasion of Iraq.
Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you
turned out to be wrong, and 100,000 people have paid with their lives
1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies, he
Coleman, who did not respond to Galloways criticism, stuck to questions
over the MPs dealings in Iraq and quizzed him over Iraqi Oil Ministry
documents the senator said showed he received oil allocations.
Galloway v the US Senate: transcript of statement
TimesonLine (London) - May 18, 2005
By Times Online
George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow,
delivered this statement to US Senators today who have
accused him of corruption
"Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil
trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have
never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold
one - and neither has anyone on my behalf.
"Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few
years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are
remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here
today but last week you already found me guilty. You
traduced my name around the world without ever having
asked me a single question, without ever having
contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned
me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And
you call that justice.
"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in
this dossier and I want to point out areas where there
are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want
to put this in the context where I believe it ought to
be. On the very first page of your document about me
you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam
Hussein. This is false.
"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in
1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the
English language can that be described as "many
meetings" with Saddam Hussein.
"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly
the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him.
The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him
guns and to give him maps the better to target those
guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to
sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the
two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let
Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors
back into the country - a rather better use of two
meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of
State for Defence made of his.
"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and
Americans governments and businessmen were selling him
guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi
embassy when British and American officials were going
in and doing commerce
"You will see from the official parliamentary record,
Hansard, from the 15th March 1990 onwards, voluminous
evidence that I have a rather better record of
opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do and than any
other member of the British or American governments do.
"Now you say in this document, you quote a source, you
have the gall to quote a source, without ever having
asked me whether the allegation from the source is
true, that I am 'the owner of a company which has made
substantial profits from trading in Iraqi oil'.
"Senator, I do not own any companies, beyond a small
company whose entire purpose, whose sole purpose, is to
receive the income from my journalistic earnings from
my employer, Associated Newspapers, in London. I do not
own a company that's been trading in Iraqi oil. And you
have no business to carry a quotation, utterly
unsubstantiated and false, implying otherwise.
"Now 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. If you had any of the letters against me that
you had against Zhirinovsky, and even Pasqua, they
would have been up there in your slideshow for the
members of your committee today.
"You have my name on lists provided to you by the
Duelfer inquiry, provided to him by the convicted bank
robber, and fraudster and conman Ahmed Chalabi who many
people to their credit in your country now realise
played a decisive role in leading your country into the
disaster in Iraq.
"There were 270 names on that list originally. That's
somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to
deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that
committee included the former secretary to his Holiness
Pope John Paul II, the former head of the African
National Congress Presidential office and many others
who had one defining characteristic in common: they all
stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you
vociferously prosecuted and which has led us to this
"You quote Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Well, you have
something on me, I've never met Mr Dahar Yassein
Ramadan. Your sub-committee apparently has. But I do
know that he's your prisoner, I believe he's in Abu
Ghraib prison. I believe he is facing war crimes
charges, punishable by death. In these circumstances,
knowing what the world knows about how you treat
prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Airbase, in
Guantanamo Bay, including I may say, British citizens
being held in those places.
"I'm not sure how much credibility anyone would put on
anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those
circumstances. But you quote 13 words from Dahar
Yassein Ramadan whom I have never met. If he said what
he said, then he is wrong.
"And if you had any evidence that I had ever engaged in
any actual oil transaction, if you had any evidence
that anybody ever gave me any money, it would be before
the public and before this committee today because I
agreed with your Mr Greenblatt [Mark Greenblatt, legal
counsel on the committee].
"Your Mr Greenblatt was absolutely correct. What counts
is not the names on the paper, what counts is where's
the money. Senator? Who paid me hundreds of thousands
of dollars of money? The answer to that is nobody. And
if you had anybody who ever paid me a penny, you would
have produced them today.
"Now you refer at length to a company names in these
documents as Aredio Petroleum. I say to you under oath
here today: I have never heard of this company, I have
never met anyone from this company. This company has
never paid a penny to me and I'll tell you something
else: I can assure you that Aredio Petroleum has never
paid a single penny to the Mariam Appeal Campaign. Not
a thin dime. I don't know who Aredio Petroleum are, but
I daresay if you were to ask them they would confirm
that they have never met me or ever paid me a penny.
"Whilst I'm on that subject, who is this senior former
regime official that you spoke to yesterday? Don't you
think I have a right to know? Don't you think the
Committee and the public have a right to know who this
senior former regime official you were quoting against
me interviewed yesterday actually is?
"Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes you have
made in this set of documents is, to be frank, such a
schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that
you have made. You assert on page 19, not once but
twice, that the documents that you are referring to
cover a different period in time from the documents
covered by The Daily Telegraph which were a subject of
a libel action won by me in the High Court in England
late last year.
"You state that The Daily Telegraph article cited
documents from 1992 and 1993 whilst you are dealing
with documents dating from 2001. Senator, The Daily
Telegraph's documents date identically to the documents
that you were dealing with in your report here. None of
The Daily Telegraph's documents dealt with a period of
1992, 1993. I had never set foot in Iraq until late in
1993 - never in my life. There could possibly be no
documents relating to Oil-for-Food matters in 1992,
1993, for the Oil-for-Food scheme did not exist at that
"And yet you've allocated a full section of this
document to claiming that your documents are from a
different era to the Daily Telegraph documents when the
opposite is true. Your documents and the Daily
Telegraph documents deal with exactly the same period.
"But perhaps you were confusing the Daily Telegraph
action with the Christian Science Monitor. The
Christian Science Monitor did indeed publish on its
front pages a set of allegations against me very
similar to the ones that your committee have made. They
did indeed rely on documents which started in 1992,
1993. These documents were unmasked by the Christian
Science Monitor themselves as forgeries.
"Now, the neo-con websites and newspapers in which
you're such a hero, senator, were all absolutely cock-
a-hoop at the publication of the Christian Science
Monitor documents, they were all absolutely convinced
of their authenticity. They were all absolutely
convinced that these documents showed me receiving $10
million from the Saddam regime. And they were all lies.
"In the same week as the Daily Telegraph published
their documents against me, the Christian Science
Monitor published theirs which turned out to be
forgeries and the British newspaper, Mail on Sunday,
purchased a third set of documents which also upon
forensic examination turned out to be forgeries. So
there's nothing fanciful about this. Nothing at all
fanciful about it.
"The existence of forged documents implicating me in
commercial activities with the Iraqi regime is a proven
fact. It's a proven fact that these forged documents
existed and were being circulated amongst right-wing
newspapers in Baghdad and around the world in the
immediate aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi regime.
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the
policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's
blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the
sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most
of them children, most of them died before they even
knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other
reason other than that they were Iraqis with the
misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and
soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did
commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your
case for the war was a pack of lies.
I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims
did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the
world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no
connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to
your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the
atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to
your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a
British and American invasion of their country and that
the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the
end, but merely the end of the beginning.
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out
to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000
people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American
soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000
of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a
pack of lies.
If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose
dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to
President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of
corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and
the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in
the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the
mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert
attention from the crimes that you supported, from the
theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.
"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a
look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad,
the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth
went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton
and other American corporations that stole not only
Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.
"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter,
that you were shipping out of the country and selling,
the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look
at the $800 million you gave to American military
commanders to hand out around the country without even
counting it or weighing it.
"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the
newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in
this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were
not me or Russian politicians or French politicians.
The real sanctions busters were your own companies with
the connivance of your own Government."
Here's the most dynamic four minutes of British MP
James Galloway's testimony before the US Senate. Worth
watching and spreading.
The Freedom Archives
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