Gosh, I wish I had his talent for handling his oppressors, and his guts and his fortitude. We unrepresented citizens confronting the courts or any other official body could learn a lot from him. OK, so, like many, he hates Bush and the war in Iraq.
His troubles are about supposedly receiving money in some form derived from the Oil-For-Food program.
Now, I don’t know what is true and what isn’t true, and frankly I don’t care one way or the other.
He was brought before a Senate committee headed by Republican Senator Norm Coleman last May, for questioning.
But they weren’t happy with his answers.
The committee has revealed that they got some of their evidence from – wait for it – Tariq Aziz, former rep and publicist for Saddam Hussein, and others of his ilk.
Listen to Mr. Galloway’s responses and comments, and simply relish them for what they are and how he says them. And remember, he had no lawyer or publicist or other spokesperson speak for him – the well-known and much used refuge of the cowardly. He just used the English language memorably. Actors, and pro ses (pro pers) take heed.
Upon his arrival in this country, he told Reuters “I have no expectation of justice from a group of Christian fundamentalist and Zionist activists under the chairmanship of a neo-con George Bush.” Galloway described Senator Coleman as a “pro-war, neo-con hawk and the lickspittle of George W. Bush,” who, he said, “sought revenge against anyone who did not support the invasion of Iraq.”
At the hearing, he said “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 having written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.”
[A necessary aside here; Me too, so I know how he feels!!]
It came out that senior Iraqi members of the deposed regime have made statements to the committee, including Tariq Aziz, Taha Yasin Ramadan, the former vice-president of the country, and Amer Rashid, the former oil minister, so he questioned the reliability of evidence given by former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, stating that the circumstances of his captivity by American forces calls into question the authenticity of his remarks.
Listen to Galloway some more.
“I’ve never met Ramadan or Rashid but I do know that they are facing charges which may carry a death sentence. As is Tariq Aziz. He has been held incommunicado for two years – and we know what goes on in US-controlled prisons in Iraq – and we also know from his lawyers that he has been offered a deal to testify,” said Galloway. “On the one hand the US government accuses these men of being homicidal maniacs, on the other they assert that their coerced testimony is utterly trustworthy. Well, let Senator Coleman bring them and his unnamed sources to court in a case against me, and we’ll see what the world concludes.”
After the hearing was over, and he was back in England, the Senate committee claimed to have found fresh evidence that Galloway had lied in his testimony. They claimed to have found £85,000 in Iraqi oil money in the bank account of his now ex-wife Dr Armineh Abu-Zayyad. Galloway reiterated his denial of the charges and challenged the US Senate committee to charge him with perjury, and said he was willing to come to Washington to face a trial which he believes would clear his name.
And he accused Senator Coleman with using congressional privilege to attack and smear him.
He said: “I’ve already comprehensively dealt with these allegations — under oath in the High Court and the US Senate — to the Charity Commission and in innumerable media inquiries.”
And so member of parliament George Galloway has thrown down a challenge to the US Senate homeland security committee to charge him with perjury and added “I’ll see you in court”.
Galloway said that he was prepared to fly out immediately to the United States if Senator Norm Coleman was prepared to bring charges. The MP had just seen a press release from the committee which alleges that he gave “false and misleading testimony” on May 17.
“I deny that absolutely. As I’ve said a thousand times, I’ve never benefited personally. Let Coleman bring these charges and I’ll rebut them totally.”
Galloway denies soliciting oil allocations or receiving “one thin dime” from the oil-for-food program. He also denies any knowledge that his estranged wife received approximately $150,000 in connection with oil allocations. “I understand she has made a statement denying this and it certainly came as news to me because it has never been raised.”
He added “It’s Groundhog Day. I’ve already comprehensively dealt with these allegations – under oath in the High Court and the US Senate . . . and in innumerable media inquiries. It seems that Senator Coleman, raising them yet again, is suffering from acute attention deficit disorder. Hell clearly hath no fury than a US senator humiliated. It’s a sneak revenge attack of the most contemptible kind.”
“He has not had the decency to let me know the conclusions he and his cohorts have reached, nor even that he was holding a press conference to smear me. For a lawyer he has a strange concept of justice.”
Galloway continued: “Let me once again repeat. I have never benefited from any oil deal and I have never asked anyone to act on my behalf. I have not made a penny out of oil deals with Iraq or indeed any other kind of deal. This ought to be dead, yet Norm Coleman parrots it once more, from 3000 miles away and protected by privilege.
“These attacks are being mounted against me as a sideshow to divert attention from the real grand larceny – $1.3bn missing from the defence department and $8.8bn from the oil accounts. All of which occurred under the US administration.”
He also said “It is still the case that, despite Senator Coleman promising to do so, I have still not been furnished with the originals or been able to have them independently forensically examined. If you can call them originals, because I understand these are mere photocopies. But even it these are genuine papers the fact remains that anyone’s name can be written on a document. It does not mean that I received anything. How many more times must I say – I did not.”
And finally, he said “The specific allegation against me is that I lied under oath in front of a senate committee. In which case the remedy is clear – they must charge me with perjury and I am ready to fly to the US today, if necessary, to face such a charge because it is simply false.”
Perjury in the US carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The MP representing Bethnal Green and Bow also launched an attack on the senate investigators.
“They have been cavalier with any idea of process and justice so far, but I am still willing to go to the US and I am still willing to face any charge of perjury before the senate committee,” he said.
Process and Justice. Yup.
But don’t try it in L.A. Family Court. You’d get put in jail the day before your trial was due to start. I know.
Delicious stuff!