WASHINGTON -- May 19 -- George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament who has been accused by Sen. Norm Coleman of profiting from the UN oil-for-food program, yesterday addressed the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is chaired by Coleman.
Said Galloway: "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....
"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; 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....
"Have a look at the real oil-for-food scandal. Have a look at ... the first 14 months [during the time of the Coalition Provisional Authority] when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer."[Video of Galloway's remarks is available at: <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video
/2005/05/17/VI2005051700710.html>; a transcript is available at: <http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0517-35.htm>.]
The following are available for interviews:
KATHY KELLY, email@example.com, http://www.vitw.org
Kelly is co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a group which took medicine to Iraq in open violation of the economic sanctions on that country from 1996 until the beginning of the "Shock and Awe" campaign. The U.S. government has charged Voices in the Wilderness with the alleged crime of taking medicines to Iraq. The group awaits a final ruling in federal court, but vows not to pay any fines. Kelly is able to address U.S. policy on Iraq over the last decade, including questions surrounding the
oil-for-food program. She is author of the just-released book "Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison."
[Reuters reported Tuesday that a report by Democrats on the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations "indicates that American imports of Iraqi oil helped finance about 52 percent of clandestine deals carried out illegally under the oil-for-food program at a time when Iraq was under United Nations sanctions."]
JOY GORDON, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.harpers.org/TheUNIsUs.html
Gordon is author of a series of articles on the oil-for-food program and the efficacy of economic sanctions, including a recent piece in Harper's magazine, "The UN is Us: Exposing Saddam Hussein's Silent Partner." On Monday, Gordon testified before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. She said today: "It is crucial that we recognize the role that the United States had in every aspect of what we are now calling 'the failures of the United Nations.' ... UN staff -- on over 70 occasions -- informed every member of the Security Council of price irregularities that indicated likely kickbacks. Not a single member, including the United States, chose to exercise its right to block those contracts to ensure honesty and fair pricing -- even though the U.S. blocked over $5 billion of critical humanitarian goods for other reasons."
PRATAP CHATTERJEE, email@example.com, http://www.corpwatch.org
Today, Halliburton is holding its annual shareholders meeting in downtown Houston. Chatterjee is the director of CorpWatch and author of the recently released book "Iraq, Inc.," and the just-released report "Houston, We Still Have A Problem," available at the above web page. He is in Houston for the Halliburton meeting.
JEREMY SCAHILL, firstname.lastname@example.org,
An investigative journalist, Scahill wrote the article "The Saddam in Rumsfeld's Closet" in August of 2002 about Rumsfeld's meetings with Saddam Hussein. Scahill is acquainted with George Galloway.