Friday 14th of June 2024

Bringing In The Sheaves

Talk about whistleblowing!  In order to save his own skin (or parts thereof) the former AWB chairman has exposed our Prime and Foreign Ministers as liars of the worst kind.  This is not a matter of "core or non-core" promises but of a national leader being deceitful regarding his decision to engage his country in a war.

Our leader told us that Australia  had not considered invading Iraq until the UN debates that occurred not long before Coalition forces jumped the border (after the Australian SAS's head start.).  Now we learn that Australia's ambassador to the UN was laying groundwork for the military action a year before the event.

If UN ambassador John Dauth had his ear to the ground he would have been aware, at least from US intelligence circles if not from the suddenly deaf ASIO, of the AWB payment system.  You can guess that Dauth was concerned about that information going public.  He was cetainly concerned enough to let Trevor Flugge have what could only be described as extremely sensitive and privileged information.

What Flugge did with this advance knowledge amazes me.  While USAid were preparing a program to resuscitate Iraq's agriculture system.  Flugge's approach to the same problem  was to stuff the boot of his car with a couple of million dollars in cash to give out where he considered appropriate.

At the same time as Flugge was driving around throwing money out the window, our Foreign Minister was trying to keep the wheat boats sailing.  Knowing that the boatload on it's way wouldn't be regarded as  Food-for-Oil, Downer tried, to the UN's disgust and disallowance,  to have it recategorised as post-war aid.

If Australia's ambassador to the UN knew about Australia's invasion plans then it is highly unlikely that our Foreign  Minister and Prime Minister did not.   If Messrs Howard and Downer kept this knowledge secret and gave us another story then they should hold themselves accountable for such an enourmous deception.

While we're talking about lies, I'd like to revisit a big one that Downer made last April  when an Adelaide based Iraqi Professor Of Agriculture Kays Jumas was gunned down by Australian corporate military personnel.  At the time Downer downplayed the death as an example of the low-calibre of CMPs when in fact Jumas was shot by an elite Australian outfit.

If Downer was deceiving again then the wheat inquires have been missing a possibly very important witness.  I hope that even if Commissioner Cole has been unable to look at this aspect that the new US inquiry will examine the circumstances.

I'm sick of the lies, sick of all the deaths being treated as debating points, and tired of watching our leaders spout the rhetoric without care.  Whatever it takes to end this fiasco, it's time to do it.

Downer sweats on Lateline

Check out the Lateline interview with Downer tonight on the ABC website, he describes the idea that the Govt had already decided to go to war a year out as "crackpot conspiracy theories". He doth protest too much. The normally brazen Foreign Minister had an unusually nervous dispositon.


I have an operating theory that whenever Downer uses the words "conspiracy theory" he thinks he's in trouble. For example, this little tidbit.

He was using the phase a fair bit in relation to AWB earlier this year, before the details of Project Rose came out and we knew that there was a cover-up conspiracy.

For lazy readers, this is the relevant part of last night's  transcript:

TONY JONES: Have you spoken to your former UN Ambassador, John Dauth, about whether he told AWB's Trevor Flugge, in 2002, more than a year before the invasion, that Australia would join the US in a war to overthrow Saddam Hussein?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: No, no, he's the High Commissioner in New Zealand. Nobody had made any decision at that time about how events would transpire through the latter part of 2002 and into March 2003. He didn't know what would happen. That was just his - if he did say that, and that's according to Mr Flugge's account, I have no idea whether he said it or not - but that is Mr Flugge's account of Mr Dauth's estimation. As it turned out, he was somewhat prescient, but certainly even the American Government hadn't made any decision at that time. That was before, I think you'll find if you check the history of this, the very substantial military build up in the Persian Gulf in late 2002. So Mr Dauth wouldn't have known, it was just an estimation on his part.

TONY JONES: The obvious implication of the story, the question arising from it is, was he given any kind of secret briefing from the Government that this might happen?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Yes, the old crackpot conspiracy theories. The Government didn't make any decision until 2003 to participate in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime and the military build up by the Americans wasn't even until later in 2002. Of course we hadn't made any decision at that time. I don't think that issue, within the Government, was an issue of great focus in early 2002. But it was for Mr Dauth because he was working there in New York and dealing day by day with the emerging crisis within the UN. If it's an accurate reflection of what he said I have no idea whether it was or it wasn't, and it's really immaterial whether it was or it wasn’t - it certainly wasn't a view based on any briefing, some secret conspiracy that the Australian Government had been involved in with the Americans. Of course not.