Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mother of All Smokescreens!

George Galloway has always been a bit of a maverick in British politics, refusing to toe Tony Blair’s pro-US line. Prior to the invasion of Iraq he flew to Iraq to chitchat with Saddam Hussein. He is naturally one of the most anti-war British MPs.

The US Senate committee hearing into Iraqi illegal oil deals during Saddam Hussein's rule, thought they could browbeat and intimidate him into admitting to an allegation that he had profited from illegal oil deals with Saddam, and summoned him to a Senate hearing.

Note: The ultimate in hypocrisy was revealed when a staff of the Democratic Party submitted that the USA under President Bush had turned a blind eye to US dealings in the illegal oil trade, accounting for 52% of the kickbacks paid to Saddam Hussein for cheap oil.

To everyone's surprise Galloway went most willingly to Washington, and then to the senators' utter shock (because they have been used to and were expecting deferential responses), they found that they had become the accused rather than Galloway. As he promised, Galloway gave them ‘both barrels’ of his scorn. I saw his brilliant ‘take no prisoner’ performance on TV. Some of his ‘gems’ that I could remember from the TV news (and recalled with the help of the BBC and CNN reports have been:

(1) "Now I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer, you [chairman Norm Coleman] are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice."

(2) “I visited Saddam Hussein exactly as many times as Donald Rumsfeld has met with him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns."

(3) "I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do, and than any member of the British or American governments do" alluding to the US former support of Saddam Hussein

(4) "I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11, 2001."

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong. And 100,000 people have paid with their lives -- 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies, 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever, on a pack of lies."

(5) "You have my name on lists provided to you by the convicted bank robber and fraudster and con man 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."

(6) "In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Air Base [Afghanistan], in Guantanamo Bay - including, if I may say, British citizens being held in those places -- I'm not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances" referring to the allegations against him that came from Iraqi prisoners held by the US.

(7) "Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported."

It was a one-man ‘shock & awe’ assault on the 13 US senators in the lions' den, leaving the inquisitors dumbfounded and in complete disarray.

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