Saturday 6th of June 2020

kept in the dark .....

careful wording


From the ABC

PM denies knowledge of AWB kickbacks

Prime Minister John Howard says comments he made in 2003 about the Iraqi oil-for-food program were not based on any knowledge of AWB's involvement in the payment of kickbacks.


Mushroom sauce

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Andrew Wilkie writes:

“””””””””THE discussion about whether or not the intelligence agencies advised the Howard Government about AWB misconduct is a red herring; evidence again that politicising intelligence can be fruitful for politicians.

.... [children Overboard]

More recently the Government blamed the intelligence agencies for the disconnect between the unambiguous official case for war in Iraq and the failure to find either weapons of mass destruction or evidence of links between Sadden Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda. But even Howard's hand-picked inquisitor, Philip Flood, could not dodge concluding that the intelligence advice provided to the Government had actually been "cautiously" and "with appropriate qualification".....

This year has started off much the same. Only this time it is outsiders — journalists and former spooks — who are helping to take some of the heat off the Government by talking about intelligence agencies failing to warn of AWB's mischief in Iraq. The Government must love this distraction — the intelligence agencies, ONA in particular, being accused of another failure even though spying and reporting on Australians and Australian commercial operations overseas is not their job. If it does encounter such information, perhaps incidentally through a "friendly" intelligence agency such as the British Secret Intelligence Service, it is required to sanitise its reports so that Australian identities are disguised.””””

I do not know how ASIO or the ONA work in fine detail but if they are worth the salt we put on them, they would be no different from the CIA and European agencies that do have specialised commercial spying divisions. I thus disagree slightly here with Andrew’s “commercial operations overseas is not their job”... Or let say I will put a proviso that agencies do not stumble accidentally across such commercial information. It is well known in hard business circle if one wants to transfer very sensitive documentation, it’s only done via trustworthy couriers with briefcase at hand at all time, while being accompanied by discreet minders. Usually two or more couriers travelling on different planes or cars with the same information. There will also be a lock-in of all employees until documents are accepted. NEVER is the sensitive information transferred by wire, telephone or even spoken about, except very “secured” windowless places with minders guarding all entry points.
The Americans regularly accuse the French of spying on their commercial operations while the yanks are doing the same to the French... They simply do it... The case of Boeing versus Airbus is not only an official acknowledged balls-up of subsidies and preferential treatment, it is also of massive spying by private and governmental organisations to gain an edge. When billions of dollars are involved... everything goes.
Thus Andrew is right: Keep the AWB heat where it should be — on the Government.
My feeling here is that the AWB deal was made with the blessing of little George in Washington, to secure a strong war commitment from little Johnnee who by then would have had to know the WMDs was a big hoax from which to get a few favours in return. No two ways about it, a little CIA branch would have known of the AWB kickbacks to Saddam but would have got their instructions not to say anything as it would have been part of “the handshake”...

Andrew, you’re a legend mate...

I smell a rattus .....

How much the Howard government knew about AWB Ltd's payments to Saddam Hussein's regime will be scrutinised in a shareholder class action starting in November.

Lawyers for the grains exporter told the Federal Court yesterday its defence would include proving that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade knew that ''transport fees'' were going to the Iraqi government while United Nations sanctions were in place.

A barrister for AWB, Matthew Darke, said the 2006 inquiry into the kickbacks scandal headed by Terence Cole, QC, had concluded there was no ''direct'' evidence the department knew about the fees.

But Mr Cole's investigation ''may have been somewhat limited because he concluded it was outside his terms of reference to consider whether any officer of the Commonwealth or the Commonwealth itself had contravened any law,'' Mr Darke said.