Galloway to senator: 'Show me the money'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate panel investigating the U.N. oil-for-food scandal heard a double- barrel defense from a furious British lawmaker accused of skimming.
CNN's Richard Roth spoke to British Parliament member George Galloway after his testimony.
ROTH: I'm with the man of the hour, you might say, here on Capitol Hill, George Galloway, minister of parliament in Britain who testified today at that Senate subcommittee.
You were a little shy.
GALLOWAY: Well, this was a clash of the British parliamentary tradition with the rather more sedate senatorial one. And it's up to you who won. Most of the traffic I'm getting in my ear is that -- is that the British parliamentary tradition won.
ROTH: What do you think your appearance accomplished for a committee which has accused you of oil-for-food corruption?
GALLOWAY: Well, frankly, I wasn't here to melt the hearts of the two members the committee that turned up for the hearing. I was speaking beyond these walls to the watching television audience at home. And I came not as the accused, but as the accuser.
So I don't suppose I did much beyond embarrassing the Sen. Coleman with the absurd thinness of what he had to put on the table. But I hope that I reached a broader public, with my broader case, against the war, against the sanctions, and against the mother of all smoke screens, which is what this Senate committee on investigations is engaged in.
ROTH: They say they talked to a senior Iraqi official, I believe, yesterday, saying that -- saying that you were on the take?
GALLOWAY: Yes, although they wouldn't say who the official was, whether the official's in Abu Ghraib prison, like the rest of the prisoners of the United States, or whether he's received some inducement or other. We don't know, because they won't name him.
And I think the era of secret evidence -- now that we know what we know about the secret evidence that led us into the war on Iraq -- is over. The public don't want to know about secret evidence that leaders can know that other people don't know.
The bottom line is this: if I had ever bought or sold a drop of Iraqi oil, you'd know about it. The man [that] gave me the money would be in front of this camera now. He'd have been in front of that Senate now. There would have been evidence.
"Show me the money," I challenged the Senate chairman. And he can't show me the money because no money ever, ever reached my hands. Our campaign against sanctions and war was funded by the king of the United Arab Emirates, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, two of the most important friends in the Middle East of the United States.
ROTH: Are you -- are you worried about Paul Volcker's investigation, which is U.N.-approved? You praised [U.N. Secretary-General Kofi] Annan today and the U.N. effort to stop the war. But what of -- that report is also looking at businesses for journalists, companies.
GALLOWAY: Sure. Now I have nothing to fear from that because I have never done any business with Iraq, none at all. Not so much as a drop of oil, not so much as a loaf of bread, not so much as a piece of cake. I've never bought or sold anything to or from Iraq.
I did what I did for Iraq for the reasons I've been doing what I've been doing all my political life: because I believe in it.
ROTH: George Galloway, minister of parliament. You took the oath. The committee says you face perjury if the charges are later proven.
GALLOWAY: I'm afraid the liars are on other side of this argument.
ROTH: Thank you very much for your time here on Capitol Hill.