Monday, October 24

George Galloway found lying under oath to US Senate subcommittee

"Galloway needed money to pay for his actions. We gave him oil to sell to make the money."
-- former Iraqi vice-president Taha Yasin Ramadan

The US Senate subcommittee investigating the UN Oil for Food program has found that George Galloway lied under oath about his involvement with the program. According to the UK Guardian the latest report from the committee finds that:

· "Galloway personally solicited and was granted oil allocations from the government of Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein. The Hussein regime granted Galloway and the Mariam Appeal (an organisation he set up to help Iraqis suffering from sanctions) eight allocations totalling 23m barrels from 1999 through to 2003."

· "Galloway's wife, Dr Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received approximately $150,000 in connection with one of those oil allocations."

· "Galloway's political campaign, the Mariam Appeal, received at least $446,000 in connection with the oil allocations granted to Galloway and the Mariam Appeal under the oil-for-food programme."

· "The Hussein regime received improper 'surcharge' payments amounting to $1,642,000 in connection with the oil allocations granted to Galloway and the Mariam Appeal."

· "Galloway knowingly made false or misleading statements under oath before the sub-committee."

Statements from former members of Iraq's qoverment support the paper trail leading to Galloway:
Tariq Aziz, the former [Iraq] deputy prime minister who has been in jail since the US invasion of Iraq, allegedly told the investigation the oil had been allocated in the name of two of Mr Galloway's agents, one of whom was Fawaz Zureikat.

However, he added: "These oil allocations were for the benefit of George Galloway and for Mariam's Appeal. The proceeds from the sale benefited the cause and Mr Galloway."

Mr Aziz is one of the primary witnesses mentioned in the new Senate investigation. It quotes him as authenticating a letter supposedly sent by the head of Iraqi intelligence detailing a meeting between Mr Galloway, Mr Zureikat and an unnamed intelligence officer during which [Galloway] is said to have asked for an increased oil allocation. The letter was published in the Daily Telegraph in 2003. Mr Galloway successfully sued the newspaper, which is currently appealing against the ruling.

According to the new report, Mr Aziz "stated that he recognised the ... letter and recalled seeing it in the past".

Mr Aziz also allegedly told investigators that Mr Galloway had expressed concern to him about "the appearance of taking money directly from the Iraqi government", and asked for his and his wife's name to be omitted from official documents.

However, the report found that several documents, authenticated by former regime officials, did mention Mr Galloway by name. The report quoted the former Iraqi vice-president Taha Yasin Ramadan saying Mr Galloway, who is now an MP for the Respect party, was a "friend of Iraq" who "needed to be compensated for his support".

"Galloway needed money to pay for his actions," Mr Ramadan allegedly told investigators, adding "we gave him oil to sell to make the money".

According to the report, the claim was confirmed by the former minister of oil, Amer Rashid."
Of course Galloway is denying everything and his wife is quoted in the subcommittee's report as denying having received any money.

Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) have led the investigation.

Thinking back to the May 17 testimony before the subcommittee, I well remember how those two very experienced attorneys carefully and politely questioned Galloway, and how they patiently and carefully listened to his insults, accusations and mockery.

At one point Coleman and Levin exchanged a glance but kept a deadpan expression. Roses for Norm Coleman and Carl Levin for their patience, persistence and careful detective work! Suddenly I feel an old song coming on. From May 16 Pundita post:

Vladimir "Lips" Zhirinovsky, "Gorgeous" George Galloway, David B. "Bunny" Chalmers, and Charles "Poofdaddy" Pasqua practicing for their American Idol audition:

"We're NOT crooks doo-wop doo-wop! We're not CROOKS yabba dabba! We got you goin in circles doo-wop!"

Simon to Paula: Who told them there was a Four Tops-barber shop quartet-Frank Sinatra soundalike category?

Paula to Simon: Probably the ABC Primetime crew.

Randy: (Wrapping his head in a towel) Okay dogs, you got 15 seconds.

"Doo-wop Doo-wop doop doop diddy
Talk about the boys from Ripoff City!
Talk to our bankers we ain't signed nothin
Talk to our lawyers we ain't seen nothin
O we're the same old song
Just a diff'rent meaning with the billions gone!
So here is our love song, not fancy or fine
We got you goin in circles
And we did it ouuuuur waaaaaaaaaaay


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