Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Transcript of George Galloway's Opening Statement to the Senate Committee

This is just pure balls; this man speaks truth to power. I love it. A true patriot; too bad American politicans can't muster this kind of courage. Even if you disagree with the guy's general position on Iraq (which I don't), you have to admit that he risked his entire political career (and was thrown out of the Labor Party for it) to say what he thought was right.

Now this guy strikes me as pro-life!

5 Thoughts:

Blogger Doug said...

Why isn't this entire speech -- in fact, the entire questioning period, which I'd like to see, too -- on CSPAN?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

STILL not on C-SPAN, despite the fact that they have 3 videos from today, and 3 videos from yesterday already up. Search for "Galloway" and you don't get his testimony, you get this:

PLAY C-SPAN Preview Special on British Election

Anti-war candidate George Galloway campaigns against incumbent Labour MP Oona King, who supported the war. They're running in a predominately Muslim constituency in East London. Next, Political Cartoonist Steve Bell of The Guardian and his drawings of recent political ads (called party broadcasts). Then, video of the party leaders campaigning and interviews with journalists covering the British election. Coverage concludes with an interview with David Dimbleby about the BBC's Election night coverage Thursday May 5th.
5/2/2005: WASHINGTON, DC:

Now, am I supposed to NOT take this as at minimum self-censorship?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

By the way, Carl Levin spent his time at the hearing blasting the hypocrisy of Sen. Coleman and his allies. Can you find Levin's comments on C-SPAN, which has 3 separate networks covering all aspects of Congressional business?

See for yourself: hmmm...

So, am I now a "conspiracy theorist?" :)

As soon as C-SPAN streams the testimony, I'll retract my "conspiracy theory;" if not, it ain't no theory.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Partial retraction: This was apparently fully covered by MSNBC, as I just discovered. Still don't know why it's not on CSPAN.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

From Hardball (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7895995/)

Up next, who is accountable for and who benefited from the Iraq oil-for-food scandal? Senator Norm Coleman has been investigating and he‘ll join us when we return.

You‘re watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Hearings on the Iraq oil-for-food scandal started today on Capitol Hill. The Senate Subcommittee on Investigations is looking into how Saddam Hussein manipulated the U.N. program and whether foreign officials from Russia, France, and Britain were involved. Senator Norm Coleman is chairman of the subcommittee.

Senator Coleman, I have to ask you, you were pretty tough on this fellow, Galloway, George Galloway, a member of parliament from Britain. Do you believe he benefited financially from the food-for-oil program?

SEN. NORM COLEMAN ®, MINNESOTA: Yes, without a doubt. Actually, Chris, I was pretty (INAUDIBLE), I just wanted to make a record. I think he was pretty tough. But I think his whole thing has diverted focus from what happened, what he did. His name is on documents that were produced during the time of Saddam. They were documents confirmed by the vice president of Iraq, by Tariq Aziz, by other senior Iraqi officials, a whole bunch of documentary evidence that his name is on there, huge allocations (ph).

The other thing then is that the guy they work with, this guy, Fawaz Zureikat. This is a guy who was his chief representative for one of his charity political groups. This is the guy that gave $600,000 to this particular charity. Galloway was the best man at his wedding. And he said that he didn‘t know that he was doing oil business with Iraq. I simply—he is not credible.

And the last piece, Chris, I‘ve got to tell you, is a certain lack of moral character there. When Carl Levin asked him, even if you knew that this guy, Zureikat, had gotten the money, if you knew that he had gotten the money from—paid kickbacks to Saddam during the course of this whole thing, would you still have accepted the $600,000? And he would not say no. He wouldn‘t.

And in America, I have got to tell you, if we ever found out that money was coming into our political coffers or anything else that came from, you know, sordid or rotten sources, you would say something. So there‘s a lack of moral fiber, a lack of credibility. And in the end I think simply.

MATTHEWS: Did he get any money out of this personally?

COLEMAN: Yes—well, the answer is yes. The difference that we don‘t have with him but we had with some others is we had an American company, BayOil, where—kind of the end-user in this thing. So we could see how much money came in so that we knew they what the allocation holders got. What we got, Chris, was from the Iraqis who put the program together said very clearly that the allocation holders—that this was set up so that they would get money. This was set up so they could then sell this to somebody who would lift the oil.

And again, in this case, what we have is Galloway‘s name on all these documents. And you have the guy lifting the oil is the guy who happened to contribute $600,000 to his carrier.

MATTHEWS: OK. But has he gotten money from this personally, how much was it and how do you know it?

COLEMAN: Well, what you know—this is what we did, Chris, is—it wasn‘t, by the way, just about Galloway. We had documentation about Voloshin, the head of the Russian presidential office, the most powerful guy in Russia, behind these...

MATTHEWS: But I want to stick—about Galloway.

COLEMAN: But here‘s my point.

MATTHEWS: How do you know Galloway pocketed money here? You haven‘t told me.

COLEMAN: My point on this is that in all of these, the formula was the same, that the folks who got an allocation got a commission. We have it documented because we have the back end users with BayOil. We can see where the money came from. But in each and every instance, the Iraqis said this was the program, that we gave this to individual politicians. They were then able to—they had value. They were able to monetize it. So again, by virtue of the pattern in each and every one of these cases, the allocation holders got it. Otherwise, Chris, you have got to believe that he got the allocation and that as a gift, he simply gave it away. And that‘s why this guy, Zureikat, put $600,000 into his so-called charity political cause.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much, Senator Norm Coleman, who is chairing the subcommittee investigating the oil-for-food program.

COLEMAN: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

George Galloway is a member of the British Parliament whom Senator Norman Coleman just accused of improperly benefiting from Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq.

Your response, sir.

GEORGE GALLOWAY, MEMBER OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT: Well, to be accused of a lack of moral character by Senator Norm Coleman is a bit like being told to sit up straight by the Hunchback of Notre Dame. This is a man who had an investigation into me, who damned me around the whole world without ever asking me a single question, without ever meeting me, writing to me, telephoning me, without even telling me that he was investigating me. And you heard his answer there.

MATTHEWS: Well, he wouldn‘t answer a particular question about whether you benefited personally.

GALLOWAY: And it‘s the most important question.

MATTHEWS: But he did accuse you of a fiddle. He accused you of benefiting indirectly because a friend of yours gave some money to a charity you were interested in.

GALLOWAY: Yes. But.

MATTHEWS: Is that accurate?

GALLOWAY: This is the $64,000 question. His only answer, when you asked him if I had benefited personally, was to say, I must have done it because other people benefited personally. That‘s simply guilt by association. That‘s tactics that Senator Joe McCarthy would be proud of. I‘m telling you. I have never benefited by one thin dime from Iraq. I have never bought or sold anything in Iraq, to Iraq, from Iraq.

Now we emblazoned the support of the man he was talking about as the chairman of our campaign. Throughout all of our literature, long before the war, long before Norman Coleman was ever held (ph) off (ph), we were telling people that we have three benefactors. One of them is the king of the United Arab Emirates. The second is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. And the third is this businessman, Mr. Zureikat, who does big business in Iraq. No secret about it.

Now if you say to me, it‘s not right to take money for political campaigns from kings and businessmen, you might be right about that, though I doubt if Norman Coleman is in much of a position to throw stones about that. But I personally benefited not one thin dime.

MATTHEWS: Did the charity you care about benefit?

GALLOWAY: It‘s not a charity. It was a political campaign to lift sanctions on Iraq. And of course.

MATTHEWS: Did that campaign benefit from the vouchers that the Saudi Arabian government—rather the government of Saddam Hussein were handing out?

GALLOWAY: Well, I did not ask the king of the United Arab Emirates where he got the money that he donated to our campaign, because it‘s not my business.

MATTHEWS: Did you ask Zureikat?

GALLOWAY: And I never asked Zureikat, although I.

MATTHEWS: So you don‘t know he didn‘t benefit?

GALLOWAY: Let me finish this point. I openly acknowledged at the time, during and since, that he was a businessman doing business with Iraq in the oil-for-food program. Now that was a legal trade. He was making some of the money that he made from his whole business empire available to our campaign. I‘m glad he did. I‘m glad that the crown prince of Arabia did. I‘m glad that.

MATTHEWS: Why were your names on the documents? Why does your name appear on these documents?

GALLOWAY: Well, anyone can write anyone‘s name on a piece of paper. But if had actually lifted oil, bought it, sold it, personally enriched myself, Coleman would have been able to answer your question. And he wasn‘t able to answer your question, because I never did.

MATTHEWS: So you didn‘t make a thin dime, to repeat your defense.

GALLOWAY: Not one thin dime.

MATTHEWS: Then why is Coleman going after you?

GALLOWAY: Because he is the most pro-war, pro-Israel, neocon hawk on the Hill.

MATTHEWS: But why is he going after you, because you‘re antiwar?

GALLOWAY: Well, I‘m coming to that. And by the way, there‘s a lot of competition for that title, a lot of competition for that title. And he is smearing in a smokescreen: Kofi Annan, whose dismissal he demanded; me;

President Chirac; anybody that stood against the United States policy on the war, partly for revenge and partly because it is a useful diversion.

That you and I are talking now about this instead of talking about the big

disaster that people like Norman Coleman has taken the whole world into

MATTHEWS: Iraq.

GALLOWAY: Iraq.

MATTHEWS: Thank you very much. George Galloway of the British Parliament. Back with more HARDBALL in a moment.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 11:49:00 AM  

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