Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Gorgeous George Galloway 2

A number of readers (JG) and commenters have written to say that the Senate only posts prepared statements. Therefore under those terms, Galloway will not have submitted a statement and there is nothing unusual about it not being on the Senate Website and I apologize for the dramatic flourish. More interestingly, commenter Rick Ballard suggests (I think) that the Senate OFF hearings aren't really going anywhere. The Belmont Club post said, "Unless the Oil for Food hearings have come to a complete dead end, Coleman and Levin's examination of Galloway aren't the pointless thrashings of Senators at a loss to respond to the devastating wit of the British MP but tantalizing clues to the direction they wish the investigations to take," to which Rick Ballard said:

I rarely disagree with your analysis but I see zero evidence that calling Mr. Galloway in response to his taunting of the committee served any purpose whatsoever. Look at the lead up to his appearance and you see pure spotlight politics, if he comes the committee gets ink if he refuses, the committee gets ink. On top of that add the leak of the minority report to the Guardian prior to its publication but after the invitation to Galloway and all I see is Washington politics as usual.

To anyone thinking that the minority report was "innoculation" against charges that the Senate was ignoring American misdeeds wrt OFF I would ask - why did the Dem staff spend the majority of 128 pages on transactions that amounted to far less than 1% of the stolen OFF funds? Sen. Coleman may indeed be a bright and honorable man but Carl Levin hisses when he speaks and can slide through grass undetected. The Galloway/Pasqua report is here and the minority report is here. Until I see full exploration of the Strong/Desmarais/Paribas links by this committee I'm afraid that I'm going to regard it as a smokescreen. Don Kofi is a sottocapo figurehead being set up to take a fall for Mr. Big. The PowerCorp/Total/Final/Elf connections are where the real trail leads - that and the material supplier kick backs - not the oil surcharges.

Maybe they are headed for a dead end. It's entirely possible that Rick Ballard is essentially right about the Senate Committee, that it is hunting with blanks. In this scenario there are too many places that the Oil For Food scandal shouldn't go; owing to the extremely sensitive nature of the connections, so only low-hanging fruit like Kojo Annan, Zhirinovsky and George Galloway are going to take the heat. Galloway, with a kind of perverted sense of honor, may have felt the kind of outrage a small timer feels when being made to hold the bag and lashed out at the Senate investigation because he knows he was low man on the totem. It would be sad if Rick Ballard were right, though it is entirely possible. In the case the Oil For Food scandal isn't the road to justice, but simply a fuzzy glimpse into the corrupt world of international politics in the last years of the 20th century.