Wednesday 28th of September 2022

Richard Tonkin's blog

Running Against The Grain- What Downer And The Wheat Board Should Have Known

As Prime Minister Howard does an "about face" calls for an inquiry into Australian bribes in Iraq, it appears that knowledge of suspicious financial transfers by the
Australian Wheat Board's trucking company has been available for
several months, possibly well over a year.

According to a LA Times article in June this year, U.S. Embassy offoicials were aware
before this year that Jordanian trucking company Alia may have been
acting as a "front" for bribes to the Saddam regime.

Pieces Of The Puzzle... Rumsfeld and Rupert

I wonder how much "unravelling" is going to occur at the Australian end of the Bush fiasco? A few more problems like the Australian Wheat Board's Bribes to Saddam, David Hicks' mistreatment "on Rumsfeld's Watch", and the "loopholing" of US foreign aid funds through Australian (specifically the Adelaide offices of Halliburton/KBR) bookwork, could show a level of inter-cabinet complicity that runs much deeper than the Ausmin meeting in Adelaide.

I wonder if Rupert Murdoch, "back home" this week to open his new SA Headquarters, will hang around Adelaide for another day to shake hands with Rummy?


 A planned Adelaide protest against U.S. Secretary of Defence has been cancelled by South Australian Authorities, and those gathering at Parliament House without permission wil be "moved on" by police.

Protest spokesman Mr Mike Khizan said in a media release tonight that “Donald Rumsfeld, a man whom many millions of people around the world see as an international war criminal is coming to Adelaide, and in the name of ‘protecting’ him, free speech is being denied and the right to dissent attacked.


 A planned Adelaide protest against U.S. Secretary of Defence has been cancelled by South Australian Authorities, and those gathering at Parliament House without permission wil be "moved on" by police


Protest spokesman Mr Mike Khizan said in a media release tonight that " “Donald Rumsfeld, a man whom many millions of people around the world see as an international war criminal is coming to Adelaide, and in the name of ‘protecting’ him, free speech is being denied and the right to dissent attacked.

Donald Can't Duck

So, the military leader of the world's only "superpower" will be in my home town next week.  I am eagerly looking looking forward to participating in democracy at this time.

If my city is being turned into an support-centre for his objectives, I would like Mr Rumsfeld to be aware of my objections to what is occurring at the behest of  his department and his country's current leadership.

 Mr Rumsfeld, I don't believe that you should be illegally occupying another country, and I don't think we should be helping you.

 I also don't believe that we should be building Star Wars warships for you under the pretext of expanding our own Navy..

Bugger Of An Idea

Consider the prospect that the Australian labour force is being de-waged and "dumebed down" to create a cheap wage-force for the U.S. when Chinese work becomes too financially or pragmatically expensive.

That's all for now.. any takers ? 

Bomb Insurance

It happened so fast that many didn't see it arrive. As the banner of Halliburton was raised over Australia's Parliament House, the few protesters who dared to attend were taken away for questioning.
Awaiting the arrival of the bulletproof Cadillac carrying President Cheney stood a proud Prime Minister, eager as usual to open the door, while a grinning Cabinet formed a line of honor to mark the auspiciousness of the occasion.

"Thanks, John," said the President, with a courteous nod and an ill-concealed wink. "i'll take it from here."

As they stood at the hour-long ceremony marking the takeover by Corporate Military Personel of Australian Defence activites, the small gallery of approved journalists waited for the response to the President's command that all non-shareholders of Halliburton resign from Cabinet
immediately. None of the Ministers were moving, although it was well-known that at least two rebels hadn't "exercised their stock options."

Precedence In New Australian Terror Laws

 First written as comment to a piece on Margo Kingston's Webdiary, in which Kerri Browne has placed the Australian Parliamentary Library's compendium of information regarding the proposed Australian terror legislatiion.  Click here.


When the Commonwealth Heads Of Government meeting was held in Melbourne (late 70's, I think) an Irish friend of our family operated a milk bar somewhere in Victoria, three hundred or so miles from the Big Smoke.



Defence Minister Hill today announced that global defence giant General Dynamics will co-ordinate creation of the Australian Defence Force's new communications system.

General Dynamics claims it " has leading market positions in mission-critical information systems and technologies; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and business aviation. It is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, and employs approximately 70,800 people worldwide

The company is to be assisted by the Adelaide-based international defence corporation Tenix (whose consultants have included former Defence Minister Peter Reith) with ADI, Tenix founders Transfield share ADI in a consortium half-owned by European communications group Thales. The two goups have previously proposed merging aspects of their businesses. Thales acts as recruitment centre for ADI.

It's possible to guess who will look after the subcontracting work, but that would be pure speculation

Here's Minister Hill's medoa release:


SA Recruiting In Mumbai For Defence and Research Workers

The S.A. Government is attempting to recruit workers to the State from the commercial centre of India.

Addressing a seminar on ''Living, Working and Studying in South Australia'' in Mumbai this week, S.A. Trade and Industry Minister Paul Holloway said bio-science, automotive, manufacturing, medical research and hospitality were sectors where his country could employ people from the developing countries.

Mr Holloway said that South Australia offers varied job opportunities for overseas workers across a range of key industries including defence, healthcare and engineering.

''If you have skills in these areas, South Australia invites you to be a part of our cutting-edge defence industry,'' he enthused.

The Trade Minister referred to S.A. as the high technology centre of Australia's defence industry, leading the country in shipbuilding, submarine support, aerospace and defence research and development.

In a statement released last March, S.A. Premier Mike Rann said his Government had set a target to boost the number of people employed in the State’s defence industry from 16 000 to 28 000.

Mr Rann said that" Positioning ourselves to win more contracts will help us to achieve so many of South Australia’s Strategic Plan targets on job creation, economic growth, investment, interstate migration, exports, strategic infrastructure and establishing co-operative research centres and centres of excellence."

P.M. Funds National Terror Initiatives

Prime Minister John Howard today announced funding for a new counterterrorsm package.

The funding will support measures agreed upon between the Federal Government and the nations' State Premiers.

Following today's meeting of the Council of Australian Governments’ meeting (COAG) to discuss national counter-terrorism arrangements Mr Howard announced $40 million in additional funding for a range of measures "to deliver increased safety and security to all Australians."

Halliburton Stuffs Up

When you read this L.A. Times story, think about possible ramifications in an area near you::


By T. Christian Miller, Times Staff Writer

QARMAT ALI, Iraq — The failure to rebuild key components of Iraq's
petroleum industry has impeded oil production and may have permanently
damaged the largest of the country's vast oil fields, American and
Iraqi experts say.

The deficiencies have deprived Iraq of hundreds of millions of dollars
in potential revenue needed for national rebuilding efforts and kept
millions of barrels of oil off the world market at a time of growing

Engineering mistakes, poor leadership and shifting
priorities have delayed or led to the cancellation of several projects
critical to restoring Iraq's oil industry, according to interviews with
more than two dozen current and former U.S. and Iraqi officials and
industry experts.

The troubles have been compounded in some cases by security issues,
poor maintenance and disputes between the U.S. and its main contractor,
Houston-based KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., according to the
interviews and documents.

Despite the United States' spending
more than $1.3 billion, oil production remains below the estimated
prewar level of 2.5 million barrels per day and well below a December
2004 goal of up to 3 million barrels per day.

Interviews and
documents from whistle-blowers show problems with at least three
projects deemed crucial to Iraq's oil production:

•  Qarmat Ali
water treatment plant. This massive pumping complex is needed to inject
water into Iraq's southern oil fields to aid in oil extraction. Under a
no-bid contract, KBR was instructed to repair the complex at a cost of
up to $225 million, but not the leaky pipelines carrying water to the
fields. As a result, the water cannot be delivered reliably, raising
concerns that some of Iraq's oil may not be recoverable.

•  Al
Fathah pipelines. As part of the same no-bid contract, the U.S. gave
KBR a job worth up to $70 million to rebuild a pipeline network in
northern Iraq despite concerns that the project was unsound. In the
end, KBR built fewer than half the pipelines, and the project was given
to another contractor. The delay has aggravated oil transport problems,
which have forced Iraq to inject millions of barrels of oil back into
the ground, a harmful practice for the oil fields and the environment.
A government audit is being conducted based on a complaint by a

•  Southern oil well repairs. A $37-million
project to boost production at dozens of Iraqi oil wells was canceled
after KBR refused to proceed without a U.S. guarantee to protect it
from possible lawsuits.


An Adelaide man is seeking to change his nationality in a bid for release from U..S imprisonment.

David Hicks was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001, and has since been imprisoned at the U..S.'s Halliburton-constructed Guantanemo Bay installation.

Hicks is one of only five Guantanemo prisoners to be charged of the 500 currently incarcerated there.

Hick's U.S. lawyer Major Michael Mori says that Hick's application would be granted automatically because he has an English mother. This information only came to light when Hicks was discussing the recent Australia-England cricket matches. David's father, Adelaide resident Terry Hicks said that on being asked how he felt about Australia's recent match loss"David's answer was that he didn't feel that patriotic as far as the Australians and the English go because his mother was still a British national and still carried a UK passport. It threw Major Mori."

While Prime Minister John Howard has refused to comment on the matter, Foreign Affairs minister Alexander Downer said that ""If Mr Hicks and his lawyers want to try to circumvent justice by going to some other country and they think that will help them, that's a matter between him and that country,"

Mr Downer has revealed that he has been aware of Hick's intention since the start of the month. and told ABC Radio that the issue was raised in his meeting with U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Shadow Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has accused the Government of trying to pre-empt Mr Hicks's application, saying that "Have they actually been making comments in the last month urging the US to speed up Mr Hicks' trial, all along thinking that they had to get this going before some embarrassing story like today's revelations came out?"

Halliburton And WMDs- September 2001

The day before the tragedy of September 11 2001, Halliburton announced a Russian WMD reduction program.  The media release is interesting to read in hindsight  I.t's worth wondering how many related programs might  be being implemented in different locations.







FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 10, 2001


- A Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) Government Operations team has been
selected by the Department of Defense's (DOD) Defense Threat Reduction
Agency (DTRA) to participate in the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)
program. KBR is the engineering and construction segment of Halliburton
(NYSE: HAL). The CTR program was established by DOD to respond to the
threat of proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological Weapons of
Mass Destruction (WMD) and related expertise and knowledge from the
states of the Former Soviet Union.

The KBR team is one of five contracting teams chosen to provide support
for the CTR program under a five-year initial contract, with one
five-year option based on performance for an estimated $5 billion.

The objectives of the contract include the acceleration of strategic
and tactical arms reduction; enhancing the safety, security and control
of WMD; assisting the United States and other governments in
eliminating WMD, their delivery systems, supporting subsystems, and
associated infrastructure; and preventing proliferation.

The KBR team includes Devonport Management Limited; Black & Veatch
International; Byelocorp Scientific, Inc; Duke Engineering &
Services; EAI Corporation; Edlow International Company; Harding ESE,
Inc.; Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion and Russian Operations; and
SRS Technologies.

To perform the tasks related to the contract objectives, KBR will set
up a primary project office in Moscow. Currently, KBR is executing a
$283 million project for the DTRA in Russia to eliminate liquid-fueled
Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) and their silos. In
addition, KBR recently completed a four-year contract for the DTRA in
Kazakhstan where Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles were dismantled
and the land returned to the government for agricultural use.

"We are committed to assisting the government in providing a safe and
efficient means of reducing and eliminating the threat of weapons of
mass destruction," said Dave Lesar, chairman, president, and CEO of
Halliburton. "We have the experience and we are a trusted employer in

KBR opened a corporate office in Moscow in 1991.

Kellogg Brown & Root’s Government Operations is one of the world's
leading providers of government support services. It employs 20,000
people around the world in the Americas, UK, Europe, Africa and
Asia-Pacific. KBR offers lifecycle and program management from
conceptual studies, engineering, project management and construction to
operations, maintenance and logistics for major programs anywhere in
the world.

Halliburton Company, founded in 1919, is the world's largest provider
of products and services to the petroleum and energy industries. The
company serves its customers with a broad range of products and
services through its Energy Services Group and Engineering and
Construction business segments.

Letter From Scott Parkin

Sorry, I am so late in writing this email to all of you. I have been kind of overwhelmed with media calls, reading emails and catching up on sleep.

When I set out for Australia last May, I had thought I might have a memorable trip, maybe a little snorkling, learn to surf and maybe network with some activists and do some skillshares. And then this happened. Never in my wildest dreams.

This has been a combination of the most surreal yet inspiring week of my life. I am completely overwhelmed and blown away by all of the events and even more so by the response of all of you and lots of other people in your country and around the world.

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