Oct. 29, 2005. 07:27 AM
Hounds closing in on `Gorgeous George'
When he first met his American accusers six months ago in a Senate hearing room, George Galloway verbally walked all over them. Stomped, more like.
Oozing sarcasm, the renegade, anti-war British MP lashed out at charges he had personally profited from the United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq.
"You have nothing on me," he said disdainfully, before launching into an attack on the United States, the war on Iraq, and the "pack of lies" George W. Bush and Co. had told to justify it. If his name appeared on any lists, "they have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad."
Even if you had never heard of Galloway — a firebrand MP who was booted out of the Labour Party in 2003 for his non-stop attacks on leader Tony Blair — it was a boffo performance.
He didn't just talk back to the senators. He talked over and around them.
The committee chairman, Republican Norm Coleman, sat stone-faced throughout. It was hard to tell if he was flummoxed by the chippy Scottish dynamo or, more likely, had been tipped off in advance by Blair's staff.
Galloway later sniffily dismissed him: "To be accused of lack of moral character by Senator Coleman is a bit like being told to sit up straight by the Hunchback of Notre Dame."
That was then.
This week, in two extensively detailed reports from the U.S. Senate and Paul Volcker at the U.N., he is again accused of illegally receiving oil allocations from Saddam's regime which he then traded on.
"I've been blackguarded by this pipsqueak Coleman," Galloway said in Paris yesterday, adding that economist Volcker merely followed the senator's lead. "I am demanding that Coleman publicly clears my name and admits this is a total fabrication."
The chances of that are roughly nil.
Back in May, he had exulted in the apparent rout of his accusers. He wrote a quickie book, Mr. Galloway Goes to Washington, parlaying it into a North American speaking tour in which he excoriated the U.S. to anti-war audiences hungering for an impassioned champion.
The fact that Canada took a pass on the Iraq war meant nothing to Galloway. He told a cheering hall in Toronto last month that it is still part of the "coalition of the killing," a hypocrite for pretending it is not involved in Iraq when its troops in Afghanistan free up American forces for deployment there.
And don't play the 9/11 card, he went on, as the mood in the room started to switch. That event was the result of the "injustice" perpetrated by the West and did not justify Canada "occupying" Afghanistan.Full story.