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Galloway challenges the US Senate committee to charge him

The Respect MP George Galloway has thrown down a challenge to the US Senate homeland security committee to charge him with perjury and "I'll see you in court".

Galloway said that he was prepared to fly out immediately to the United States if Senator Norm Coleman, who heads the committee, was prepared to bring charges. The MP has just seen a press release from the committee which alleges that he gave "false and misleading testimony" on May 17. "I deny that absolutely. As I've said a thousand times, I've never benefited personally. Let Coleman bring these charges and I'll rebut them totally."

It is understood that senior Iraqi members of the deposed regime have made statements to the committee, including Tariq Aziz, Taha Yasin Ramadan, the former vice-president of the country, and Amer Rashid, the former oil minister. "I've never met Ramadan or Rashid but I do know that they are facing charges which may carry a death sentence. As is Tariq Aziz. He has been held incommunicado for two years - and we know what goes on in US-controlled prisons in Iraq - and we also know from his lawyers that he has been offered a deal to testify," said Galloway. "On the one hand the US government accuses these men of being homicidal maniacs, on the other they assert that their coerced testimony is utterly trustworthy. Well, let Senator Coleman bring them and his unnamed sources to court in a case against me, and we'll see what the world concludes."

Galloway denies soliciting oil allocations or receiving "one thin dime" from the oil-for-food programme. He also denies any knowledge that his estranged wife, Dr Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received approximately $150,000 in connection with oil allocations. "I understand she has made a statement denying this and it certainly came as news to me because it has never been raised."

Galloway added that the fact that the Mariam Appeal, a political campaign, had received more than $446,000 from Jordanian businessman Fawaz Zureikat "cannot be news to anyone. The Charity Commission investigated the Mariam Appeal, it scrutinised every penny in and every penny out and totally exonerated me from benefiting financially through the campaign."

"It's Groundhog Day. I've already comprehensively dealt with these allegations under oath in the High Court and the US Senate to the Charity Commission and in innumerable media inquiries. It seems that Senator Coleman, raising them yet again, is suffering from acute attention deficit disorder. Hell clearly hath no fury than a US senator humiliated. It's a sneak revenge attack of the most contemptible kind."

"He has not had the decency to let me know the conclusions he and his cohorts have reached, nor even that he was holding a press conference to smear me. For a lawyer he has a strange concept of justice."

Galloway continued: "Let me once again repeat. I have never benefited from any oil deal and I have never asked anyone to act on my behalf. I have not made a penny out of oil deals with Iraq or indeed any other kind of deal. This ought to be dead, yet Norm Coleman parrots it once more, from 3000 miles away and protected by privilege."

"These attacks are being mounted against me as a sideshow to divert attention from the real grand larceny - $1.3bn missing from the defence department and $8.8bn from the oil accounts. All of which occurred under the US administration."

Galloway also cast doubt on the veracity and provenance of the documents 'discovered' in Baghdad by the Telegraph journalist David Blair. "At the conclusion of the appeal process in the libel case I will be revealing important new information about this," Galloway said. "However it is still the case that, despite Senator Coleman promising to do so, I have still not been furnished with the originals or been able to have them independently forensically examined. If you can call them originals because I understand these are mere photocopies. But even it these are genuine papers the fact remains that anyone's name can be written on a document. It does not mean that I received anything. How many more times must I say - I did not."


October 2005

From the Respect website

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