Hearing updates

The Senate subcommittee hearing on the Oil-for-Food program has started with opening statements from four senators and is now moving on to testimony by committee counsels.

Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the committee, justifiably pointed out that the hands of a US oil company (Bayoil) and the US government are far from clean when it came to abusing and violating the terms of O-F-F.

Interesting testimony from counsel now about the connections between Bayoil and the ultranationalist Russian politician (and Iraqi oil-allocation recipient) Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Harry adds. Galloway hearing is live on Sky News now.

Galloway has been warned in writing that he is under oath.

In a letter released yesterday, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) warned British Parliament member George Galloway that he will be required to give sworn testimony at a hearing scheduled by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

“All witnesses who testify before the subcommittee are placed under oath, so please be prepared to provide sworn testimony,” Coleman said in the letter.

Witnesses who are caught lying under oath can be charged with perjury in federal courts, although it is unclear whether Galloway, as a member of the British Parliament, could be penalized in this country.

Update: Socialist Worker presents the case that the documents were forged.

The paper also reproduces the nonsense about the Mariam Appeal and the Charity Commission report – not mentioning of course that the commission couldn’t access the Appeal’s documents because they had been moved out of the UK to the Middle East.

* If you can’t see Sky News, or you are fed up of them breaking away to ads and other stuff, the hearing is being webcasted live here.

Galloway is on now.

Update: Shocker. Galloway started his testimony by saying he had never seen, traded, bought or sold a barrel of oil.

Update: Damn. The questioning of Galloway was pretty weak. They didn’t ask about the mysterious financial records of the Mariam Appeal or the Mariam Appeal’s funding of his various travels.

Coleman and Levin were a lot more patient with him than I would have been, especially with his personal attacks on them.

Update: I think Douglas is pretty close to the mark here.