Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

British MP George Galloway Tells It like It Is to U.S. Senate Subcommittee

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

British MP George Galloway Tells It like It Is to U.S. Senate Subcommittee

Article excerpt

Senator [Norm Coleman], 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.

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 Hussain. This is false.

I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussain, 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 Hussain. As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussain 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 Hussain than your own secretary of.. .defense made of his.

I was an opponent of Saddam Hussain 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 Hussain 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 realize 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 disaster. …

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