Capitol Hill showdown

As he prepared to defend himself before a US Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, British politician George Galloway stood accused of profiting from the Iraq oil-for-food programme.

    Galloway launched a scathing attack on US senators

    A senate report published last week said Saddam Hussein's former government gave Galloway 20 million barrels of oil in allocations.

    It claimed that Saddam awarded the contracts to influential foreign officials in an effort to maximise Baghdad's influence abroad.

    But far from showing the usual deference of witnesses before Congress, Galloway defiantly told the committee that its evidence against him was false.

    He also condemned the investigation and demanded to know why it had not questioned him before making the allegations.

    Below are a selection of quotes that Galloway addressed to senators at the hearing, as well as the reaction of Republican Senator Norm Coleman.

    George Galloway

    "Senator, this is the mother of all smoke screens"

    "You have nothing on me ... other than my name on lists ... many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad"

    "Now I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer, you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice"

    "Have a look at the real oil for food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch"

    "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 … I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein at a time when British and American governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas"

    "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"

    Norm Coleman

    "Senior Iraqi officials have confirmed that you, in fact, received oil allocations and that the documents that identify you as an allocation recipient are valid"

    "This was not a wrestling match It wasn't a contest … I was not offended by what he had to say, it was not relevant"

    "The theatre, the dramatics - I was not looking at that. I had one goal and it was to make a record"

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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