[Marxism] Galloway to face US hearing
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Jscotlive at aol.com
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".
>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
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
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
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'
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
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
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