Saturday 20th of April 2024

Richard Tonkin's blog

Thinking Like Americans

One of my least favourite ex-premiers, having privatised our water
and electricity and brought the globals into Adelaide, is now telling
us that we need to change our ways.  He says that Americans live to
work while Australians work to live and has addressed Adelaide business (who put all their support behind Olsen's former opposition) with such choice phrases as

"In the U.S. you get a pat on the back ... in Australia someone says who did you rip-off to make that money?"

Halliburton South Australia- The South Coast Scenario

What follows, when you follow it to the other end, makes you wonder
how much infrastructure work is being "disguised" throught the SA
Tourism Budget, and how much of the money will end up in the hands of
Halliburton/KBR. I'm also pondering what funds the current Treasurer,
who was happy to stand on the Assembly floor and accuse the previous
Minister For Transport of using road money "to buy stained glass
windows" (I was there on the day) might be diverting across Cabinet
portfolios to achieve desired objectives.

[extract]

Mail From Snowy Whitewash

There were movements down in Mayo when the memo got around that the kickbacks, through neglect, had leaked away. Brown trousers? More than likely, Downer lost a thousand pounds, and all of DFAT's cracks began to fray.

And Johnny, full of overflow, came down to lend his hand. It was grand to see a Canberra man astride all the gossip from the media, herding stories left and right, and defending all his ministers with pride.

This hardy little memo had been seen around before... Aussie dollars buying bullets in Iraq, but nobody said they'd seen it, and it safely slid away, to be hidden from the public in the dark.

The Highwayman Went Riding

 
Fresh from the elections, Premier Rann is now chastising the RAA (our equivalent of NRMA and RACV) of acting like a political party during the election, and questioning the government's relationship with the peak body, in spite of their denials of heavy-handedness.  Rann may well have saved the state from a major Halliburton gambit.

Given the intrinsic nature of roadway infrastructure to urban planning and
thence property development, in some cases the speed of the arrival
involves a helluva lot of money. A good example is to the south of our
town, where the previously tourist based coastline has been subjected
to a whirlwind of purchase and redevelopment ahead of one of the
state's worst-kept secrets, the proposed four-lane road (tollway?)
being re-championed by the RAA and Liberals a couple of weeks back, and planned by "guess which
company". Certainly parts of the road, on which I travel regularly, are
a death-trap, and a road built in the 50's isn't equipped to handle the
transport loads it now carries. However, the cynic in me can't help
wondering if these issues might be of secondary importance to the
profitability levels of new housing being created for the "population
influx" that the new "dormitory distance" to Adelaide that the new road
would create.

Perhaps It Makes A Difference.

In front of Alexander Downer's office, we stood with our placard to mark the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion.  We weren't many, sadly on 20 or so,  but in the late afternoon city bustle we were certainly noticed by a few hundred. 

A friend of mine had dressed herself in a shirt covered with blood-oozing bullet holes, and stood near where she's scrawled AWB on the footpath.  A quick-eyed, fast framing photographer snapped a shot of the two of us with the letters in the foreground out our feet I('d love a copy, if you're reading this)and went away.  Perhaps we sent messages in different directions... I hope so.

Downer and Rice- US State Department Transcript

Sydney, Australia
March 16, 2006

FOREIGN MINISTER DOWNER: Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by saying
how delighted I am to host this visit to Australia by Secretary Rice.
It's her first visit as the Secretary of State though she was here not
that long ago with President Bush when he was last in Australia. We had
this morning, the first part of the visit, which is our bilateral
meeting, I suppose it’s been an hour or an hour and ten minutes, and we
have a series of other functions and meetings over the next couple of
days, culminating on Saturday in the Trilateral Security Dialogue with
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso.

Three Years After The Invasion, Bugger All

Tomorrow No-War are going to walk around corners on the green lights, and Resistance are going to protest at Downer's King William Street office at 4.30.  So what?

 One thousand people came out in New York.   So what?  15,000 of London's population came out.... so what?

If we don't get out and support these protests, the message that we're sending is that we don't give a damn, and can't be bothered with doing more than paying lip-service to peace.

There's No "I" in "team", and no "You" in Labor

With St Patrick's Day falling on the eve of the South Australian election, I'm having a think before I go for a drink, and I'm thinking that this election campaign has turned into the worst kind of Irish joke.

The "bread and circuses" environment created by the combination of the Festival of Arts, the Fringe, WOMAD, the Adelaide Cup (moved for the first time into this month)  have contributed to a city-wide mild sense of euphoria that has dulled the population to the action, or lack thereof, in SA's political arena.

Hell, the Liberals only started advertising on the telly this week.  Did they believe that blitzing the Sunday night movies and The Simpsons was going to reverse the effect  of Labor's incessant  media campaign? The media preview of the ad even misspelled Labour with a "U". Do they really want to win?

Halliburton Overcharging for Katrina Cleanup- Pentagon Inspector-General

 Reprinted from Halliburton Watch:

WASHINGTON, March 11 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- Halliburton's KBR
subsidiary may have over-billed the Navy for labor costs during
clean-up work in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, the Pentagon's
inspector general reported March 3rd. The report said KBR's subcontractors had been billing for
labor at rates "significantly higher" than the prevailing market rate.

Hurricane Ivan came ashore near Gulf Shores, Alabama, on September 16, 2004 as a Category 3 storm.

Ethics of Ministerial Investment

 Should senior members of any Government focused on privatisation be
allowed to make signifigant fincancial gains from their involvement?

It turns out that a company Downer holds shares in made a
killing on the AWB's launch.  Argo investments bought the shares on
their first day out (in 2001) and then sold them for a profit ten days
later.

Downer says that trying to pin him this way is drawing a
long bow.  Maybe he's right, but there are a few particularly pointy
arrows aimed at him.

What if Downer's activities, and those of
the other three current and former Federal Ministers with cash in the
company, create an environment of profitability for Argo to exploit. 
Did Argo also make a killing on the recent Qinetiq float in the UK, thus allowing the ministers to profit on the technologies propogated by the War On Terror.? Or what about a company that reaps rewards from providing support facilities for troop, such as the highly profitable Halliburton?

Speech Note's For Downer's SA Liberal Fundraiser Lunch (In Adelaide this Friday)

Thank you for attending this State Liberal Party Fundraiser- the more money raised for them through my name, the more I own them.

Most have you have probably been wondering if I work for Prime Minister Howard or President Bush.  The truth is that I actually work for both, in that I'm "on secondment" to the White House.  It must give the listener great reassurance to know that when I speak it is the voice of authority that you hear.

We had to start the War On Terror- without new markets to exploit the US economy would implode within decades, taking all the money we'd invested in Carlyle and Halliburton with it  As long as the war doesn't end, everything will be fine.

Everyone In Cabinet Knew Saddam Was Grabbin' It !

 When you finish reading this you'll wonder what other lies we're being told.

Was Terence Cole's request for those with information to step
forward a plea or a threat of revelation?  Caroline Overington's
detailing of those who received the ominous cable suggest the latter
premise is worth considering.

 [extract]

The scam was outlined in a diplomatic cable
dated April 10, 2001 from Bronte Moules, an official at Australia's permanent mission to the UN in New York.

It was widely distributed through the top echelons of government, including the Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, Trade Minister Mark Vaile and then-minister for agriculture Warren Truss.

Halliburton's Australian Defence Work (From The Horse's Mouth)

 Have a look at Halliburton's proud involvement in defending Australia

Our Projects include:

Coastwatch
KBR provided advice to Coastwatch, an Australian Customs Service
division, during its ongoing consultation with industry on future
capabilities. [Note Coastwatch now shares the JORN radar system with the US Missile Shield]

Patrol Boat Replacement

KBR is providing ongoing support to this Australian Navy capability acquisition project.

Joint Project 126
KBR provided a full study team to this Australian Defence Force Theatre
Distribution System project. Our team completed the project definition
study that will be used as the basis for the project's future scope and
direction.

Project Echidna
KBR is delivering long-term assistance to this large Australian defence
electronic warfare project, including acquisition strategy, tender
evaluation, systems engineering and planning support.

Land 134
KBR provided tender preparation and evaluation services as well as
integrated logistics support services to the Combat Training Centre
Live Simulation Range Instrumentation and Information System project.

Project PARAKEET
KBR delivered systems engineering, integrated logistics support and
project management for the Australian Army's trunk communications
system.

Yes, Minister- Three Points Of View

This sounds like the kind of conversation probably occurring in DFAT round about now

"There is the excuse we used for the Munich Agreement: It occurred
before certain important facts were known, and couldn't happen again."

"What important facts?"

"Well, that Hitler wanted to conquer Europe."

"I thought that everybody knew that."

"Not the Foreign Office."

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