Singing the Bite Me Song

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May 17, 2005

George Galloway's Showdown: the Best Quotes

Link: BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | In quotes: Galloway showdown.

Some of my own favorite picks from the transcript below slipped in too.

"Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars? The answer to that is nobody and if you had anybody who paid me a penny you would have produced them here today."

Imagine that! A radical idea for the right-wing in the US today. To actually produce evidence, a smoking gun, instead of trafficking in innuendo and allegation. The effect of calling someone out on these ridiculous practices has the effect for us watchers of standing up and boldly saying, "The emperor has no clothes." Nekkid Norm Coleman. My heart bleeds for him. Do ya think somewhere Paul Wellstone is watching with a sweet smile on his face?

"You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever having written to me or telephoned me, without any contact with me whatsoever and you call that justice."

"You have nothing on me Senator [Coleman], except my name on lists of names in Iraq, many of which were drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Iraq."

""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."

Terrific, to call these assholes on what they've been passing off as arguments and "effective" rhetoric, undoing years of Open Records laws, the Freedom of Information Act, Government Sunshine Laws, just about anything that makes decision-making processes transparent in a true democracy.

Not that anyone would mistake the US government for a true democracy. One "side benefit" of the movement of decisions into stereotypical "back rooms" where cronys make deals and corruption reins in darkness is that actual argument skills declined to such a level that people like Norm Coleman are so ripe to be made an utter fool of, and perhaps even more deliciously, he may not even know it!

"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.

Here is a deliberate rhetorical move directed not to the senators, but to the viewing television audience. While Rumsfeld's trips to make deals with Saddam in the 1980s are widely known OUTSIDE the US, the US media has rarely if ever mentioned the easily documentable fact (hell, there is even a picture, and folks, Rummy was implicated in getting Saddam chemical supplies that he later turned into the weapons he used to gas his own people). By using his bully pulpit to get this out, Galloway ran a tidy end-run around the US Velvet Curtain censorship machine. Outstanding!

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.

What a radical idea, to employ fact-checkers and actually do homework for accusatory documents. When Colin Powell was given a report to take to the UN, a case for Iraq's WMDs, with a whole section cribbed from some master's student thesis! Sorry Mr Galloway, but the disease of errors, bad proofreading, and plagiarism runs rampant on US college campuses too, which is where we try to teach students real argument and rhetoric skills.

(oh please please, somebody publish a formal rhetorical analysis of Galloway's testimony in a scholarly communication journal, mmm-kay?)

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.

The lack of credibility of US's hidden international gulag system finally comes home to roost? And then there's the matter of using "secret evidence" against someone. That's what passes for justice in the US these days. It's right up there with saying someone's specter came to my room and pinched me in the night, so that person should be hanged. This is the nature of the pure hysteria that has swept the US since 9/11.

"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?

I have to say, the presentation of the "schoolboy howler" example is my ALL TIME favorite bit in the whole tirade. SO rich, so wonderfully rich, to have the pomposity of the Senate committee punctured so fully by citing the use of evidence that aims to convict someone of actions in the Oil-for-Food program before the program was even in existence. I about fell out of my chair on that one today. Coleman should have melted like the Wicked Witch of the West with embarrassment. That he didn't speaks volumes.

"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.

Another story that is virtually non-existent behind the US media Velvet Curtain is the true consequences of US sanctions against Iraq after the Gulf War. To the average American media consumer, NO information about the deaths of children and others due to US sanctions has penetrated the velvet, so that this next quote is another shout-out to the TV audience, a way to slip something in sideways that normally gets NO mention in the US. It was a sweet move, a terrific moment.

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.

Another rhetorical penetration of the Velvet Curtain. The US media is in almost universal agreement to not report ANY numbers of Iraqi civilian casualties in the Iraq war, claiming they are impossible to verify. Yet there are amazingly precise numbers of deaths out of Afghanistan for the "riots against Newsweek magazine." As a matter of fact, the US military IS counting those civilian casualties in Iraq, because families are getting financial reimbursal for their losses, but none of those numbers are being released to the public. If the US media quotes a casualty number, it isn't Galloway's 100,000, but something more like 29,000.

Which is quite a bit bigger than the US losses in the WTC and other 9/11 attacks, but we won't talk about that, will we?

I just gotta quote this final bit one more time, it is so wonderful.

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."

May 17, 2005 at 10:23 PM in Best Essays, Current Affairs, Democracy, Favorite Links, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Rhetoric, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism | Permalink


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