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George Galloway, a British MP, bitchslaps Congress

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George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, delivered this statement to US Senators today who have accused him of corruption

"Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf.

"Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.

"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.

"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.

"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.

"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce.

"You will see from the official parliamentary record, Hansard, from the 15th March 1990 onwards, voluminous evidence that I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do and than any other member of the British or American governments do.

"Now you say in this document, you quote a source, you have the gall to quote a source, without ever having asked me whether the allegation from the source is true, that I am 'the owner of a company which has made substantial profits from trading in Iraqi oil'.

"Senator, I do not own any companies, beyond a small company whose entire purpose, whose sole purpose, is to receive the income from my journalistic earnings from my employer, Associated Newspapers, in London. I do not own a company that's been trading in Iraqi oil. And you have no business to carry a quotation, utterly unsubstantiated and false, implying otherwise.

"Now you have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad. If you had any of the letters against me that you had against Zhirinovsky, and even Pasqua, they would have been up there in your slideshow for the members of your committee today.

"You have my name on lists provided to you by the Duelfer inquiry, provided to him by the convicted bank robber, and fraudster and conman Ahmed Chalabi who many people to their credit in your country now realise played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq.

"There were 270 names on that list originally. That's somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that committee included the former secretary to his Holiness Pope John Paul II, the former head of the African National Congress Presidential office and many others who had one defining characteristic in common: they all stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you vociferously prosecuted and which has led us to this disaster.

"You quote Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Well, you have something on me, I've never met Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Your sub-committee apparently has. But I do know that he's your prisoner, I believe he's in Abu Ghraib prison. I believe he is facing war crimes charges, punishable by death. In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Airbase, in Guantanamo Bay, including 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. But you quote 13 words from Dahar Yassein Ramadan whom I have never met. If he said what he said, then he is wrong.

"And if you had any evidence that I had ever engaged in any actual oil transaction, if you had any evidence that anybody ever gave me any money, it would be before the public and before this committee today because I agreed with your Mr Greenblatt [Mark Greenblatt, legal counsel on the committee].

"Your Mr Greenblatt was absolutely correct. What counts is not the names on the paper, what counts is where's the money. Senator? Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars of money? The answer to that is nobody. And if you had anybody who ever paid me a penny, you would have produced them today.

"Now you refer at length to a company names in these documents as Aredio*Petroleum. I say to you under oath here today: I have never heard of this company, I have never met anyone from this company. This company has never paid a penny to me and I'll tell you something else: I can assure you that Aredio Petroleum has never paid a single penny to the Mariam Appeal Campaign. Not a thin dime. I don't know who Aredio Petroleum are, but I daresay if you were to ask them they would confirm that they have never met me or ever paid me a penny.

"Whilst I'm on that subject, who is this senior former regime official that you spoke to yesterday? Don't you think I have a right to know? Don't you think the Committee and the public have a right to know who this senior former regime official you were quoting against me interviewed yesterday actually is?

"Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes you have made in this set of documents is, to be frank, such a schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that you have made. You assert on page 19, not once but twice, that the documents that you are referring to cover a different period in time from the documents covered by The Daily Telegraph which were a subject of a libel action won by me in the High Court in England late last year.

"You state that The Daily Telegraph article cited documents from 1992 and 1993 whilst you are dealing with documents dating from 2001. Senator, The Daily Telegraph's documents date identically to the documents that you were dealing with in your report here. None of The Daily Telegraph's documents dealt with a period of 1992, 1993. I had never set foot in Iraq until late in 1993 - never in my life. There could possibly be no documents relating to Oil-for-Food matters in 1992, 1993, for the Oil-for-Food scheme did not exist at that time.

"And yet you've allocated a full section of this document to claiming that your documents are from a different era to the Daily Telegraph documents when the opposite is true. Your documents and the Daily Telegraph documents deal with exactly the same period.

"But perhaps you were confusing the Daily Telegraph action with the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor did indeed publish on its front pages a set of allegations against me very similar to the ones that your committee have made. They did indeed rely on documents which started in 1992, 1993. These documents were unmasked by the Christian Science Monitor themselves as forgeries.

"Now, the neo-con websites and newspapers in which you're such a hero, senator, were all absolutely cock-a-hoop at the publication of the Christian Science Monitor documents, they were all absolutely convinced of their authenticity. They were all absolutely convinced that these documents showed me receiving $10 million from the Saddam regime. And they were all lies.

"In the same week as the Daily Telegraph published their documents against me, the Christian Science Monitor published theirs which turned out to be forgeries and the British newspaper, Mail on Sunday, purchased a third set of documents which also upon forensic examination turned out to be forgeries. So there's nothing fanciful about this. Nothing at all fanciful about it.

"The existence of forged documents implicating me in commercial activities with the Iraqi regime is a proven fact. It's a proven fact that these forged documents existed and were being circulated amongst right-wing newspapers in Baghdad and around the world in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi regime.

"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

“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. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 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.

*

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.

"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1616578,00.html

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Galloway's comic relief

Emmett Tyrrell (archive)

May 19, 2005 | Print | Send

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Things are getting very grim here in Washington. The Democrats are fighting a desperate rear-guard action against the Republicans on several fronts. They are fighting to maintain their death grip on federal judicial appointments. They are resisting Social Security reform. They are using every expedient to scandalize the president's designated UN ambassador, John Bolton. This is not a constructive use of power, for the Democrats have no constructive proposals to advance. It is merely a grim assertion of "no" to the political party now controlling the White House and Capitol Hill.

That is why I, as a professional observer of Washington politics, want to thank the Hon. George Galloway, the offbeat member of Parliament, for traveling all the way to Washington from London to provide us with a comic interlude. He has been accused by Senate investigators of profiting from Saddam Hussein's manipulation of the UN oil-for-food scam. Blustering and shaking in what sounded to me like a Scottish accent -- though it could have been the consequence of strong drink -- the Hon. Galloway informed the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that the charge is "utterly preposterous." "I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader, and neither has anyone on my behalf," he solemnized.

This line, of course, is an adaptation of the line once used by American Communists and fellow travelers while appearing before congressional investigations of Communist subversion during the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. Galloway is a ritualistic leftist. He is so left-wing that he was given the heave-ho by his own Labour Party. Somehow he thought it clever to portray himself in the role once made famous by American leftists testifying before Congress. After his appearance, a tumescent Galloway went before the cameras to boast of how his British parliamentary style had bested our more "sedate" congressional proceedings.

Galloway seems unaware that modern America does not feel much sympathy for left-wing subversives. Moreover, with the publication of documents from the intelligence archives of the Soviet Union, it is clear that many of those leftists and Communists from the past really were engaged in subversion for Moscow. The "Red Scare" was a Red Reality. As to how effective this master of British parliamentarian style was before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, consider this. After Galloway proclaimed his innocence and denounced President George W. Bush's Iraqi war as the result of a "pack of lies," Republicans and Democrats came to amiable agreement for the first time in months. As the ranking Democrat on the committee, Sen. Carl Levin, put it, Galloway's performance was "not credible." Levin, like Galloway, opposes the war.

The reason Galloway is not credible is that Levin's committee has documents, mounds of documents, linking European officials to profits from the oil-for-food scam that now appears to be the largest case of political graft in history. Saddam used it to arm himself, buy political allies around the world and fund terrorists. Galloway admits that he met repeatedly with Saddam's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and even with Saddam, twice -- as frequently as did Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Galloway admits puckishly and pointlessly. Galloway does not deny the import of documents showing him working with a Jordanian businessman, Fawaz Zureikat, in various deals in Baghdad. He simply denies that he received money from the 20 million barrels of oil documents say he and Zureikat got.

Galloway's buffoonery aside, the evidence now being displayed by our government explains why so many European politicians were so patient with Saddam's numerous breaches of UN resolutions. There was money in it for them personally. Up until the revelations of the oil-for-food scam, I had thought that the Europeans' refusal to attack Saddam was simply another example of European cowardice. There was in the months before the invasion of Iraq no great debate over weapons of mass destruction. There was only the Europeans' feigned claim that we had not exhausted every diplomatic approach to Saddam. He ignored UN resolutions. He rejected international inspections. He acted willfully and with impunity. Yet at the UN, officials refused to take action. Now we know why: There and in many foreign capitals officials were on the take.

©2005 Creators

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so where's the anger about the christian science monitor publishing false stories? :confused:

actually I've found that CSM is one of the most unbiased sources out there.

That article was kind of a weak come back to the guy's performance. I hardly think he was "blustering and shaking".

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Gorgeous George

How a Stalin-admiring Saddam Hussein loyalist wowed the media and won the hearts of the adolescent American left.

by Paul Mirengoff

05/23/2005 12:00:00 AM

AS AN ADOLESCENT, I regularly watched professional wrestling on television. Showing early geek tendencies, I usually enjoyed the ring-side interviews more than the matches themselves. My favorite interviews were the ones where a villain with a thick foreign accent hurled invective at America, attacked the manliness and lineage of his next good-guy foe, and denied committing the dirty deeds witnessed by the television audience the previous week. Whether the foreign villain was named Fritz von Erich, Ivan Koloff, or Professor Tanaka, the critique of America usually centered on the same theme--decadence. Minority groups such as blacks and Jews could not be attacked directly, but if a racist or anti-semitic subtext seeped through, that was okay.

Not all villains remained bad forever, and those who reformed could expect extra rough treatment from their former comrades. Wrestler reformation always occurred dramatically. In the middle of a match, a villain would suddenly join forces with a former antagonist, and the two "strange bedfellows" would subdue, for example, an over-the-top foreigner.

Last week, Washington was treated to a performance worthy of the old World Wrestling Federation.

The featured player, George Galloway, even carries the nickname of the man who invented the modern wrestling villain, Gorgeous George. Physically, Galloway has patented one of the classic bad-guy wrestler looks, the perfectly-attired well-tailored ruffian. Then there's that Scottish accent, at its best when delivering the sneering insult. As when, on his way into the "arena," Galloway called fellow Brit and former "comrade" on the left, Christopher Hitchens, a "drink-sodden ex-Trotskyist popinjay." "Classy" Fred Blassie would have been proud of that one.

Upon reaching the microphones, Gorgeous George followed the wrestling villains' interview handbook (foreigners' chapter) flawlessly. He missed nothing--there was the reference to American decadence ("I know that standards have slipped in Washington"); there was flamboyant name-calling and anti-semitic overtones ("Zionist" and "neo-conservative"); there was the attempt to answer charges of specific misconduct (participating in the oil-for-food scam) with counterchanges of general wrongdoing (supporting an "illegal" war); there were even the "who are you going to believe?" denials.

The only difference was that Galloway doesn't just play a villain on TV. He once praised Saddam Hussein for his "courage, strength, [and] indefatigability."

More specifically, he saluted Saddam for paying suicide-murderers in Israel and the West Bank. The worst day in Galloway's life, he says, was the day the Soviet Union fell. But he found consolation because, "just as Stalin industrialized the Soviet Union, so on a different scale Saddam plotted Iraq's Great Leap Forward." When Britain joined the United States in ending Saddam's great leap, Galloway called for a jihad against its troops and for the troops themselves to disobey "illegal" orders (Galloway had said that prosecution of the war is illegal). Hitchens made many of these points and more during his "grudge match" with Galloway in THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The evidence strongly suggests that Saddam rewarded Galloway's fealty by granting him oil allocations. It was through such allocations that Saddam turned the U.N.'s "oil-for-food" program to his advantage. The regime selected purchasers of Iraqi oil, who then sold it on the market. Instead of selecting traditional oil purchasers, the government preferred foreign officials, journalists, and even terrorist organizations. In exchange for the enormous benefits of being the gatekeepers of Iraqi oil, the purchasers served Iraq's interests, typically by working against the U.N. sanctions and by kicking back money to the regime.

The substantial evidence of Galloway's participation in this scam is carefully summarized in a report by the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, part of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (the body before which Galloway testified last week). It consists of statements by top Saddam-era Iraqi officials and documents from "SOMO," the Iraqi ministry that administered the oil-for-food program. The incriminating statements include the testimony of former Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan, who told the subcommittee that Galloway was granted oil allocations because of "his opinions about Iraq" and his desire "to lift the embargo against Iraq." In addition, an unnamed former Iraqi official told the U.S. Treasury Department that Galloway "benefited tremendously from the illegal trade of oil by Iraq" as the owner of a company involved in the oil trade scheme.

The documents confirm that Galloway's company received six oil allocations totaling 20 million barrels of oil. Some are charts created after the fall of Saddam's regime listing oil contracts and identifying Galloway by name as the contracting party. Others are contemporaneous documents, created by SOMO while Saddam was still in power, that describe contracts and identify Galloway by name. A typical such document says ". . .please find below the details of the contract signed with Middle East ASI Company (on behalf of Mr. George Galloway)."

What did Gorgeous George have to say about the documents? Why, anyone could have written them. As to the incriminating testimony, we all know how the U.S. treats Iraqi prisoners.

Since SOMO officials have authenticated the documents, Galloway's defense boils down to a claim that the evidence against him is the product of bribery or coercion, coupled with his vehement denial of wrongdoing. As to the credibility of the latter, one should keep in mind that Galloway has asserted that his statement to Saddam, "Sir, I salute you courage, strength, and indefatigability," was directed at the Iraqi people in general.

Leftist bloggers and important elements of the mainstream media gushed over Galloway's wrestling interview-style performance. Some wondered why Democratic senators weren't more like Gorgeous George. Never mind that Britain's Labour party expelled Galloway for bringing the party into disrepute.

Fortunately, the subcommittee's ranking Democrat, Senator Carl Levin, had no desire to be like George. In a version of the "strange bedfellows" wrestling scenario, Levin stood side-by-side with the Republican chairman, Senator Norm Coleman, demanding straight answers to straight questions. In response, Galloway derided Levin for supporting the "illegal" war in Iraq, something Levin says he never did. Maybe the Jewish name fooled Galloway.

At the end of his day in Washington, Galloway, in the words of the Scotsman was "no closer to clearing his name than when he took his seat in front of the subcommittee."

The admirer of Stalin and Saddam had, however, become a hero to the adolescent element of the American left.

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Gorgeous George

How a Stalin-admiring Saddam Hussein loyalist wowed the media and won the hearts of the adolescent American left.

by Paul Mirengoff

05/23/2005 12:00:00 AM

AS AN ADOLESCENT, I regularly watched professional wrestling on television. Showing early geek tendencies, I usually enjoyed the ring-side interviews more than the matches themselves. My favorite interviews were the ones where a villain with a thick foreign accent hurled invective at America, attacked the manliness and lineage of his next good-guy foe, and denied committing the dirty deeds witnessed by the television audience the previous week. Whether the foreign villain was named Fritz von Erich, Ivan Koloff, or Professor Tanaka, the critique of America usually centered on the same theme--decadence. Minority groups such as blacks and Jews could not be attacked directly, but if a racist or anti-semitic subtext seeped through, that was okay.

Not all villains remained bad forever, and those who reformed could expect extra rough treatment from their former comrades. Wrestler reformation always occurred dramatically. In the middle of a match, a villain would suddenly join forces with a former antagonist, and the two "strange bedfellows" would subdue, for example, an over-the-top foreigner.

Last week, Washington was treated to a performance worthy of the old World Wrestling Federation.

The featured player, George Galloway, even carries the nickname of the man who invented the modern wrestling villain, Gorgeous George. Physically, Galloway has patented one of the classic bad-guy wrestler looks, the perfectly-attired well-tailored ruffian. Then there's that Scottish accent, at its best when delivering the sneering insult. As when, on his way into the "arena," Galloway called fellow Brit and former "comrade" on the left, Christopher Hitchens, a "drink-sodden ex-Trotskyist popinjay." "Classy" Fred Blassie would have been proud of that one.

Upon reaching the microphones, Gorgeous George followed the wrestling villains' interview handbook (foreigners' chapter) flawlessly. He missed nothing--there was the reference to American decadence ("I know that standards have slipped in Washington"); there was flamboyant name-calling and anti-semitic overtones ("Zionist" and "neo-conservative"); there was the attempt to answer charges of specific misconduct (participating in the oil-for-food scam) with counterchanges of general wrongdoing (supporting an "illegal" war); there were even the "who are you going to believe?" denials.

The only difference was that Galloway doesn't just play a villain on TV. He once praised Saddam Hussein for his "courage, strength, [and] indefatigability."

More specifically, he saluted Saddam for paying suicide-murderers in Israel and the West Bank. The worst day in Galloway's life, he says, was the day the Soviet Union fell. But he found consolation because, "just as Stalin industrialized the Soviet Union, so on a different scale Saddam plotted Iraq's Great Leap Forward." When Britain joined the United States in ending Saddam's great leap, Galloway called for a jihad against its troops and for the troops themselves to disobey "illegal" orders (Galloway had said that prosecution of the war is illegal). Hitchens made many of these points and more during his "grudge match" with Galloway in THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The evidence strongly suggests that Saddam rewarded Galloway's fealty by granting him oil allocations. It was through such allocations that Saddam turned the U.N.'s "oil-for-food" program to his advantage. The regime selected purchasers of Iraqi oil, who then sold it on the market. Instead of selecting traditional oil purchasers, the government preferred foreign officials, journalists, and even terrorist organizations. In exchange for the enormous benefits of being the gatekeepers of Iraqi oil, the purchasers served Iraq's interests, typically by working against the U.N. sanctions and by kicking back money to the regime.

The substantial evidence of Galloway's participation in this scam is carefully summarized in a report by the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, part of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (the body before which Galloway testified last week). It consists of statements by top Saddam-era Iraqi officials and documents from "SOMO," the Iraqi ministry that administered the oil-for-food program. The incriminating statements include the testimony of former Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan, who told the subcommittee that Galloway was granted oil allocations because of "his opinions about Iraq" and his desire "to lift the embargo against Iraq." In addition, an unnamed former Iraqi official told the U.S. Treasury Department that Galloway "benefited tremendously from the illegal trade of oil by Iraq" as the owner of a company involved in the oil trade scheme.

The documents confirm that Galloway's company received six oil allocations totaling 20 million barrels of oil. Some are charts created after the fall of Saddam's regime listing oil contracts and identifying Galloway by name as the contracting party. Others are contemporaneous documents, created by SOMO while Saddam was still in power, that describe contracts and identify Galloway by name. A typical such document says ". . .please find below the details of the contract signed with Middle East ASI Company (on behalf of Mr. George Galloway)."

What did Gorgeous George have to say about the documents? Why, anyone could have written them. As to the incriminating testimony, we all know how the U.S. treats Iraqi prisoners.

Since SOMO officials have authenticated the documents, Galloway's defense boils down to a claim that the evidence against him is the product of bribery or coercion, coupled with his vehement denial of wrongdoing. As to the credibility of the latter, one should keep in mind that Galloway has asserted that his statement to Saddam, "Sir, I salute you courage, strength, and indefatigability," was directed at the Iraqi people in general.

Leftist bloggers and important elements of the mainstream media gushed over Galloway's wrestling interview-style performance. Some wondered why Democratic senators weren't more like Gorgeous George. Never mind that Britain's Labour party expelled Galloway for bringing the party into disrepute.

Fortunately, the subcommittee's ranking Democrat, Senator Carl Levin, had no desire to be like George. In a version of the "strange bedfellows" wrestling scenario, Levin stood side-by-side with the Republican chairman, Senator Norm Coleman, demanding straight answers to straight questions. In response, Galloway derided Levin for supporting the "illegal" war in Iraq, something Levin says he never did. Maybe the Jewish name fooled Galloway.

At the end of his day in Washington, Galloway, in the words of the Scotsman was "no closer to clearing his name than when he took his seat in front of the subcommittee."

The admirer of Stalin and Saddam had, however, become a hero to the adolescent element of the American left.

Who on the american left supports this guy? What most people on the left and right are saying is that even with all this overwhelming evidence against him ALL senators were dumbstruck and put in their place. He Owned them and made them look like fools who had no idea what they were doing. I thought our senators were more intelligent than wrestling fans

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