Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Playing to the Galloway

On May 23, 2005, while newspapers were waxing delirious over the rhetorical drubbing that George Galloway was apparently administering to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the Belmont Club on the old site noted something peculiar about the apparent passivity of the Senators towards Galloway's barbs.

The really striking thing about the Galloway's testimony as transcribed by the Information Clearing House is how the Senators and the Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow were pursuing a non-collision course. Galloway had come to score press and public relations points at which, by all accounts, he was successful at doing. But Senator Coleman and Levin seemed totally uninterested in responding to Galloway's sharp political jibes. It was almost as if the Senators were deaf to his political posturing. Instead, they focused exclusively and repeatedly on two things: Galloway's relationship with Fawaz Zureikat and Tariq Aziz. Zureikat was a board member of Galloway's Mariam foundation who is also implicated in the Oil For Food deals. Tariq Aziz was Saddam's vice president.

During his testimony Senator Coleman asked this seemingly innocuous question of Galloway about his relationship with Fawaz Zureikat.

SEN. COLEMAN: If I can get back to Mr. Zureikat one more time. Do you recall a time when he specifically -- when you had a conversation with him about oil dealings in Iraq?

GALLOWAY: I have already answered that question. I can assure you, Mr. Zureikat never gave me a penny from an oil deal, from a cake deal, from a bread deal, or from any deal. He donated money to our campaign, which we publicly brandished on all of our literature, along with the other donors to the campaign.

SEN. COLEMAN: Again, Mr. Galloway, a simple question. I'm looking for either a yes or no. Did you ever have a conversation with Mr. Zureikat where he informed you that he had oil dealings with Iraq, yes or no?

GALLOWAY: Not before this Daily Telegraph report, no. ...

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D): Thank you, Mr. Galloway.

Later, it was the turn of Senator Levin to ask these mild-mannered questions of the firebrand from Bethnal Green and Bow about his dealings with Tariq Aziz. He was shortly followed by Senator Coleman who asked the same question but with different emphasis.

SEN. LEVIN: ... I wanted just to ask you about Tariq Aziz.


SEN. LEVIN: Tariq Aziz. You've indicated you, you--who you didn't talk to and who you did talk to. Did you have conversations with Tariq Aziz about the award of oil allocations? That's my question.


SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. I'm done. Thank you.

SEN. COLEMAN: Just one follow-up on the Tariq Aziz question. How often did you uh ... Can you describe the relation with Tariq Aziz?

GALLOWAY: Friendly.

SEN. COLEMAN: How often did you meet him?

GALLOWAY: Many times.

SEN. COLEMAN: Can you give an estimate of that?

GALLOWAY: No. Many times.

SEN. COLEMAN: Is it more than five?

GALLOWAY: Yes, sir.

SEN. COLEMAN: More than ten?


SEN. COLEMAN: Fifteen? Around fifteen?

GALLOWAY: Well, we're getting nearer, but I haven't counted. But many times. I'm saying to you "Many times," and I'm saying to you that I was friendly with him.

SEN. COLEMAN: And you describe him as "a very dear friend"?

GALLOWAY: I think you've quoted me as saying "a dear, dear friend." I don't often use the double adjective, but--

SEN. COLEMAN: --I was looking into your heart on that.--

GALLOWAY: --but "friend" I have no problem with. Senator, just before you go on--I do hope that you'll avail yourself of this dossier that I have produced. And I am really speaking through you to Senator Levin. This is what I have said about Saddam Hussein.

SEN. COLEMAN: Well, we'll enter that into the record without objection. I have no further questions of the witness. You're excused, Mr. Galloway.

GALLOWAY: Thank you very much.

In that May post, I wrote that the tone and manner of Galloway's examination suggested that the Senators were trying to establish a specific point for the record, in the hopes of using Galloway's testimony against him later.

In the exchange above it is abundantly clear that both Coleman and Levin simply wanted to enter Galloway's denial of having discussed Oil for Food business with Tariq Aziz in the record. Levin immediately ends his questioning after eliciting Galloway's "Never". Coleman is content to merely establish that Aziz and Galloway were "friends" who had met "many times" before saying "I have no further questions of the witness".

The London Times reports that  "The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will refer the Respect Party MP for possible prosecution after concluding that he gave 'false and misleading' testimony at his appearance before the panel in May." In particular, the Senate alleges they have found a paper trail showing payments leading from Fawaz Zureikat to George Galloway's wife. The Washington Times further reports that "Mr. Galloway personally asked for and received from Mr. Aziz and others eight allocations from 1999 to 2003 for the rights to 23 million barrels of oil." In any trial over perjury, Galloway's response to the Senator's questions in May will loom large. Galloway is laughing the whole thing off. The BBC reports:

But Mr Galloway told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The specific allegation against me is that I lied under oath in front of a senate committee.

"In this case the remedy is clear - they must charge me with perjury and I am ready to fly to the US today, if necessary, to face such a charge because it is simply false."

The Bethnal Green and Bow MP also launched an attack on the senate investigators.

"They have been cavalier with any idea of process and justice so far, but I am still willing to go to the US and I am still willing to face any charge of perjury before the senate committee," he said. 

(Speculation alert) It was Galloway's contempt for the intelligence and capability of his Senatorial pursuers that may have gotten him into this perjury mess in the first place. It wasn't enough to remain silent on his relationship with with Zureikat. Playing to his gallery, Galloway boomed, "I can assure you, Mr. Zureikat never gave me a penny from an oil deal, from a cake deal, from a bread deal, or from any deal." Nice touch about the cake and the bread. Perhaps he couldn't imagine, at the time, why these yokels were asking him simple questions that were beneath his level of rhetorical ability. Even today Galloway may think so little of his adversaries that he was willing to boast on BBC Radio that "I am ready to fly to the US today, if necessary, to face such a charge because it is simply false." He is as smart today as he was then.


Blogger Red River said...

Galloway does not realize and cannot know in his heart what most Americans know - that the US Senate is constructed as much a place of legislation as it is a chamber of prosecution. If it can remove a sitting US President from office, then a boast too far from a third-rate megalomaniac is but a stepping stone to a much greater prize.

Galloway does not understand how American criminal proecution works - it is not a contest of arguement in a public forum, but an amassing of solid evidence that immobilizes the defendant and then buries them, making any court date a foregone thing.

The US Senate is almost totally immune to politics and the press in its end result. It also has the full resources of the Federal Government at its disposal - more so than any mere Federal prosecutor. It is also immune to many of the rules that hamper the FBI as it can call upon any and all Federal Agencies.

10/25/2005 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

We got Capone on tax fraud, and we got Galloway on perjury.

I hope he brings his vanity and contempt with him to prison. I imagine he will be popular.

Jim Croce, had he been watching this thing, would have found himself a brand new analogy.

10/25/2005 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

We simply don't have any hope of "getting" Galloway. There would be little hope if he were a U.S. Citizen. The fact that he is a foreign poltician makes it utterly impossible.
What is important is discrediting him. Most people do not recall specific events but merely a general feeling about something.
Wrechard calls this the Memory Hole. But it is not a Black Hole -things do escape from it - feelings, attitudes, general beliefs.
The Plame Flap, Abue Grabe furor, and New Orleans disaster rhetoric are attempts to induce a general air of discredit over the Bush Administration. Get specific and the discrediting falls apart, but most people are not specific in their memories. These are in part attempts to throw a general air of sameness over all of government. A special investigator is about to release an investigation report that will utterly savage the Clinton Admin; the Democrats are desperate to stop it going public, simultaneously trying to cut the funding for the office in Congress while in the courts filing hundreds of legal motions to delay its completion. They will not succeed - but may well suceeed in promoting a general air of "Well, they're all crooks up there anyway."
Discrediting Galloway will help dicredit all those who opposed the liberation of Iraq.
We need to attain a genral feeling of "Well, all those guys marching in the streets were shills for people on the take, anyway."

10/25/2005 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

If he *were* found guilty of perjury in the U.S. can we lock up an English-person for that? I wouldn't think so.

And would MSM publish it so the rest of the world, or even normal Americans, understood what was going on? I wouldn't think so.

I wonder if someone is trying to get Gorgeous George to roll over and finger an even bigger fish. If, as a previous poster noted, American justice is made up of, "...an amassing of solid evidence that immobilizes the defendant and then buries them..."

Can you spell J-a-c-q-u-e-s, for example?

10/25/2005 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The nice thing about perjury is that it doesn't have to go anywhere else. Charging Galloway with treason or some similarly large crime would open up a whole can of unwelcome worms. But perjury is such a technical crime that the light will shine only in some corners and leave all the rest in darkness.

Galloway's defense always rested on the fact that they couldn't bring him down without dragging in people who are still in high office today. If he had just kept his mouth shut he could have continue to shelter behind that implicit defense. But by perjuring himself on a subject on which he can be nailed down Galloway has given away the store. My opinion re SpudIslander's question, is that Galloway has given the hatchetmen of both parties a safe way to put him away.

10/25/2005 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

This is more than a mere attempt to discredit Galloway. If that were the sole purpose of this investigation, we would have seen much more of it at the hearings.

Senators are notoriously long-winded and self-important. When they become laconic and unaffected, when they refuse to bite no matter how much bait you lay out, it is time consult your lawyer.

Indictments are coming. You can depend on it.

10/25/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Or K-o-f-i.

10/25/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

me too, undertoad. starting, presumably, from his previous position: "So on one hand we have a bipartisan Senate committee, and on the other we have a man with a big and dirty mouth. "
(nahncee - please: he's not english, he's scottish. and foreign nationals are locked up here everyday.)

10/25/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

This arrogance and hubris are the hemp and knot which will hang this strutting popinjay.

He deserves everything he gets... 23 million barrels, indeed! "Not one cent."


10/25/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

It is time to put Galloway in a dank cell, tightly wrapped in straightjacket to prevent self harm. What a wanker!

The corrupt modern left. Without its media smokescreen, where would it be?

10/25/2005 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/25/2005 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/25/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

peter - and Zarqawi is a hero to the people he represents. But neither he nor Galloway represent the majority whose opinion ultimately will prevail.

10/25/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Off topic somewhat - but does anyone think that the attack on the Palestine Hotel (which is getting a lot of coverage despite that fact that U.S. troops stopped it) - is a case of Z the Terrorist following the "Media is part of the war" advice from Z the Terrorist Advisor?
Or is it just another example of the "Tet Offensive" approach?

10/25/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Everybody seems to believe that a perjury charge based on lying to Congress would have some legal force in the UK, but I don't see it.

No British citizen has ever been arrested in England and hauled off to the US on that basis, and there would be no public support in the UK for bestowing that power on US politicians. It is especially unlikely that British Members of Parliament would ever give their opposite numbers in the US the power to compel a British MP, however much they may disapprove of him, to submit to a US trial.

Galloway can laugh at the US Congress indefinitely as long as he doesn't come here, as I feel sure he plans to do.

10/25/2005 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

peter - "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

10/25/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

OT but sometimes topical here at the Belmont Club.

Bob (http://mindanao.com/blog/?p=294#comments) Bob at the Mindanao blog has been following an interesting story. It has to do with rumors that PGMA has signed off on an agreement with the MILF to give them a chunk of Mindanao to form an independent state. If true this is very bad news, as it would quickly turn into Afghanistan with palm trees and/or possibly degenerate into a civil war in Mindanao.

I don't know how much cred to give the story as it could be a disinformation campaign by PGMA's opponents as it would make no sense from PGMA's standpoint since many of the leaders in Mindanao & the Bisayas are supportive of her.

Wretchard, do you have any insight on all of this?

10/25/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Do we have an extradition treaty with the UK? I would be surprised if we don't. If so, then we can request extradition and I have this feeling he could very well be extradited, after all he is an all around thorn in the side of Labour as well as the Tories.

After all, what sort of jurisdiction did we have over Mark Jimenez who was in the Philippines? He was sent back, tried & convicted and his term is about up (in fact he may already be out).

Also, please spare us the revisionism.

10/25/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

C4: "America does not have jurisdiction over Galloway."
Why not? Because of the nature of the alleged crime?

10/25/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

If there is a there there, we can expect that it will be guarded by most of the European money changers, because in the nether world of banking secrecy and shell companies, are the puppet masters of the world. It appears that the UN set up the scandal from day one as a money laundering operation. George Galloway is a colorful peon, a cutout, and he will be kited by his own.

It is unlikely that the Senate will do anything to much shed light on these dealings, back room compromises will be made, quid pro quo. The American public will only be afforded the truth when it is one of their own… conservatives.

10/25/2005 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

rwe - re Baghdad hotel attack, following from this morning's PowerLine blog:

"A word from Major E.

Major E. is our man at Camp Victory in Baghdad. Today he writes to comment on the attack on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, heading his report 'Bombs in Baghdad -- Spectacularly Ineffective':

By now, I am sure that many of your readers have seen the eye-catching video of multiple vehicle bombs detonating in front of a Baghdad hotel. Since it is being broadcast all over the airwaves, I just wanted to remind readers that even though it was an apparent public relations success for the terrorists, the attack was a failure in military terms.

The number of terrorists involved and the follow-on small arms attacks make it clear that the overall goal was to use suicide vehicle bombs to breach the security perimeter, then take over the hotel and hold the international guests as hostages. Instead, they failed to achieve those objectives and the attackers were killed...
" ... continued with more about the effectiveness of the Iraqi soldiers and police.

powerlineblog.co . . .

10/25/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Hold on here guys, Republican talking points all weekend were emphasizing the fact that perjury is not at all a crime. Kay Bailey Hutchinson was explicit that senior Administration traitors who divulged the identity of a NOC CIA agent, an act of betrayal that very likely lead to the death of a CIA agent (an unnamed star was added to the wall at Langley shortly after the revelation that Brewster-Jennings & Associates was a CIA front company) were being condemned only for being conservative. Now it will seem slightly hypocritical if some on the Right are waxing poetically about the horrors of Mr. Galloway committing the suddenly oh so serious crime of perjury while at the same time saying that Rove, Scooter, Cheney and perhaps the President himself are being harassed by the non-charge of perjury when the indictments come down tomorrow.

10/25/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Brewster’s Millions
Now that the front company has been exposed, the Boston company is at risk of being attacked by the enemies of Richard Prior and John Candy. If any more leaks were too occur next all the employees at Langley would be at risk…oops!

But seriously, the tit-for-tat insider trading of classified information with editorial mouth pieces has to stop. Talk about putting a bullet in the back of some ones head, they should have executed John Walker and Aldrich Ames a long time ago. The rest of us would have been rotting in jail for much less.

10/25/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Please don't believe the New York Times, we actually call it New Pravda, and it is quite often full of sh#t.

Actually Cheney and Scooter learned the NOC agent's name from David Wurmser but as you wisely point out, that was no crime since they all had security clearances, although one could question whether they actually had a need to know, but oh, never mind. The crime actually occurred when they leaked this name to six members of the Korporate MSM, you know, the Kool Kids Klub of whore journalists all falling over themselves to spout the Administration line. That my friend, is a crime, it's actually worse than a crime, it is treason. People get shot for treason, or at least they used to. Lying about committing treason in front of a Federal Grand Jury is also a crime. Or at least it use to be until just this last week when Republican political hacks filled the Korporate MSM whore talk shows with their wise words of how these actually weren’t crimes at all. So which is it, is perjury a crime or not?

10/25/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Marcus Aurelius,

There is actually an extradition treaty so strong that it has aroused resentment in certain quarters in the UK.


But it may be that politics, rather than law is going to play a big role.

PeterUK may have a point from a British point of view. From an American domestic political perspective, things get more complicated.

10/25/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Don't imagine Galloway is likely to face sanctions over this in the UK. Lying to Congress is not a crime over there, nor is there any likelihood that it ever will be.

Galloway represents a type which Americans ought to be able to recognize; he's an urban demagogue whose voters have already figured out that 'he's a rogue but he's our rogue'. This type constantly resurfaces in European politics, from Le Pen on the right to many of the Communists on the left.

The underlying reason is that the established elites in Europe are so entrenched, voters often like to support only someone they feel sure will refuse to 'go along to get along'.

10/25/2005 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Coleman says the information that substantiates the perjury charge is going to a federal prosecutor, and that Galloway's case may bring additional indictments from the New York court overseeing Oil For Food cases.

Galloway is finished, notwithstanding PeterUK's valid objections concerning a publicity windfall. When the indictments come down, he will have to confront them. If he does, he goes to jail. If he doesn't, it may get bad enough that he is extradited. Even if he is not extradited and remains hiding in Britain, he will be seen as a coward even to his own people and he will be finished.

I think his comments today sealed his fate. He promised a showdown to the world, and we will give him one. George will get to see how gorgeous he looks in orange.

PeterUK, nobody wants to be in prison. It's five years for each charge, and his behavior ensures that we will prosecute "to the fullest extent of the law." He may be in jail quite a while.

10/25/2005 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Disagree, always, with the idea that it's better not to do anything lest something bad MIGHT happen.

Not upsetting the Middle East applecart is how we got in this situation in the first place.

Prosecute the rogue and let the chips fall where they may.

10/25/2005 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Marcus Aurelius,

"Bob at the Mindanao blog has been following an interesting story. It has to do with rumors that PGMA has signed off on an agreement with the MILF to give them a chunk of Mindanao to form an independent state. If true this is very bad news, as it would quickly turn into Afghanistan with palm trees and/or possibly degenerate into a civil war in Mindanao."

I have no independent confirmation that this is true. But it wouldn't surprise me if Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had cut a deal like that for political advantage. People whose judgment I trust say that her support is at rock bottom. Whether or not there is a better alternative to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo available she may fall notwithstanding. You will also recall she has been making noises about federalism and raised the specter of secession should she be ousted. And there are rumors she is building a private army to survive in a post-cataclysmic Philippines. So while I don't know anything for a fact there's nothing I'd discount.

The Manila papers say that the US Embassy has been scooping up JI and Abu Sayaf rebels by offering large dollar denominated cash rewards. This suggests to me that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is functioning less and less as a disciplined military organization than a confederation of armed factions which can now be hired as bounty hunters.

The US probably has the power to prevent any given faction from seizing power, but no ability to put anyone in particular in place. The place is like a pile of sand. The archipelagic nature of the Philippines gives America certain unique leverage it would not otherwise have in a landbound state. Logistically, the Philippines relies on the eastern Luzon ports of Manila and Batangas; the Visayan port of Cebu and the Mindanao ports of Davao, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro to move the bulk of its goods. Any coup plotters would above all need the ability to shift forces between the islands. Any secessionist force would need to control one or more of these ports to remain viable. If the USN demurred nothing could move. If you look at Bob's site you'll see, sometime back, a picture of one of these Littoral Combat Ships prowling around. Not that it's necessary, but it underscores both the extent and limits of US power in the Philippines. The the US can veto but it cannot nominate.

10/25/2005 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

PeterUK: It seems to me we shouldn't worry about giving Galloway publicity. If anything I'd donate money to him. It may be good for him personally, but it won't be good for the anti-war cause. Screaming long live the Iraqi resistance isn't going to fly, especially in this country. It seems he's the PR equivalent of Zarqawi slaughtering Shi'ites left and right. Perhaps it is more delicate in the UK, but am I wrong?

10/25/2005 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I don't mind Galloway and Sheehan leading the anti-war movement. Two more obnoxious people couldn't be found.

10/25/2005 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Thanks for that. Yeah, I have added Bob's Mindanao blog to my list of regular reads (at least vi RSS aggregator) and saw his report of the USN ships in the area. Thanks for mentioning Bob's blog one a week or so ago.

From what I have been reading it seems to buy PGMA very little to sign off a chunk of Mindanao. I don't see it benefitting her if she holds onto power (I think it makes that less likely) and I see no benefit if she is ousted and has to rely on a private army (ahh, yeah perhaps the price was right). One of the things I seem to recall seeing were reports that leaders of Cebu and Mindanao have threatened secession in the event of her ouster and Bob doesn't seem to think (with good reason) that non-MILFs will stand for an independent Moroland.

Anyway, this is kinda disrupting the flow of the discussion at large I brought this all up on the 10/25th at Blogger Beer (http://bloggerbeer.blogspot.com/2005/10/serious-misstep-by-president-gloria.html) and have been commenting on Bob's site.

Anyway magandang gabi! ;-)

10/25/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

This is exactly what Hitchens and Galloway were doing in their debate in NYC. Galloway playing to the crowd and Hitchens making a careful logical case to the cameras. Guess who had a bigger audience.

10/26/2005 09:42:00 PM  

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