[Marxism] Galloway to face US hearing

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Fri May 13 05:11:33 MDT 2005


 

Galloway to face US  hearing 

MP to  fly to Washington to deny profiting from oil for food scandal  

David Pallister and Jamie  Wilson in Washington
Friday May 13, 2005
_The  Guardian_ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)  

The independent MP George Galloway will fly to Washington next week to  give 
televised evidence to the Senate committee which accused him of profiting  
from the sale of Iraqi oil.  
Even before the Senate exchange, which promises to be rumbustious, the  
hostilities opened yesterday with the MP claiming the committee had failed to  
respond to emails and letters asking for an opportunity to rebut the  allegations. 
 
In reply, a committee spokesman insisted Mr Galloway had never contacted them 
 by any means "including but not limited to telephone, fax, email, letter, 
Morse  code or carrier pigeon".  
 
_Article continues_ 
(http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,1483173,00.html#article_continue) 
 
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>From his cottage in Portugal  yesterday, Mr Galloway told the Guardian: "I 
did not write to Mr Coleman  personally ... I did not know who he was but I did 
write to vice-president Dick  Cheney in his capacity of chairman of the 
senate."  
In response to the east London MP's angry denunciations of the committee, the 
 chairman, Norm Coleman, said he would be pleased to have him appear at the 
next  hearing on Tuesday.  
"The hearing will begin promptly at 9.30am and there will be a witness chair  
and microphone available for Mr Galloway's use," he said.  
The hearing's title next week will be Oil For Influence: How Saddam Used Oil  
to Reward Politicians and Terrorist Entities Under the United Nations  
Oil-for-Food.  
A spokesman for the committee also contradicted claims by Mr Galloway that he 
 had never been contacted about the allegations.  
"Our investigators used appropriate diplomatic channels to inform Mr Galloway 
 of all the allegations contained in the report. That included the US state  
department and the British embassy," a spokesman said yesterday. Mr Galloway  
responded: "That's interesting but it's news to me. Nobody contacted me."  
A spokesman for the British embassy said last night: "We were only alerted in 
 early May to the imminent release of the report and its rough scope. We  
therefore awaited its release so we could examine the content and detail and  
decide what action, if any, was appropriate. We have drawn the attention of the  
report to the relevant UK authorites: the Charity Commission and HM Revenue 
and  Customs."  
A spokesman for the MP confirmed he would take up the invitation with  
relish."Mr Galloway said, 'Book the flights, let's go, let's give them both  
barrels' ... That's guns not oil."  
Although the report was approved by both Republican and Democrat members, Mr  
Coleman has led efforts to get to the bottom of the oil-for-food scandal in  
which Saddam Hussein illicitly earned billions of dollars.  
Last year he made it plain where he thought responsibility lay by calling for 
 the resignation of the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan.  
Both Democratic and Republican insiders were keen to emphasise the committee  
was not controlled by Republicans. They stressed that - despite having a 
seven  to six Republican leaning - the committee is almost unique in Congress in 
that  it acts in a truly bipartisan manner.  
The investigations it carries out have to be approved by both sides, and  
there is open ac cess to all documents. A Democrat source on the committee told  
the Guardian yesterday that they had signed up fully to the reports'  
conclusions.  
Mr Coleman's spokesman also said when the committee's final report into the  
oil-for-food programme is issued Mr Galloway will be given the chance to  
respond.  
With his usual pugnacity, Mr Galloway spent much of yesterday rejecting the  
allegations that he had personally received vouchers for huge Iraqi oil  
allocations under the UN oil-for-food programme.  
In a rapid-fire series of interviews with TV channels and the press, he  
denounced the Senate subcommittee on investigations which made the allegations  as 
"a lickspittle Republican committee, acting on the wishes of George W Bush".  
The issue was raised at Tony Blair's monthly press conference, but he  
rejected the suggestion of an investigation by the UK authorities.  
Dismissing the allegations as "patently absurd", Mr Galloway said in a  
statement: "Let me repeat. I have never traded in a barrel of oil, or any  vouchers 
for it. I have never seen a barrel of oil apart from the one the Sun  
deposited in my front garden. And no one has acted on my behalf, trading in oil  - 
Middle Eastern, olive, patchouli or other - or in vouchers, whatever they  are." 
 
In a statement, Fawaz Zureikat, the Jordanian businessman through whose  
companies the senate committee report says there is "substantial evidence" that  
Mr Galloway received 20m barrels of oil between 2000 and 2003, said it was an  
"old story without a shred of truth".  
He claimed that there was no connection between him and his company and Mr  
Galloway. 
END.



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