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kickbacks, stench, corruption « Previous | |Next »
January 19, 2006

Didn't Australia go to war with Iraq to overthrow an odious totalitarian regime and bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East? If I remember, that was the second justification for the Iraqi war, after the first one-- that Iraq has WMD and threatens our security--was discovered to be a barefaced lie.

So what was the previously-owned government Australian Wheat Board (the AWB was sold in 1999 and listed on the stock exchange), doing paying bribes ($300 million in kickbacks from 1999) to the evil dictator so that we could sell more wheat to a totalitarian Iraq? How does that support for a corrupt regime foster the foreign policy objectives of furthering democracy and freedom? It doesn't. Trade and politics are seperate, says the government.

Yet the Foreign Minister's sabre ratling in 2002 had placed the economic interests of the farmers under threat. Hence the bribes by the AWB to ensure that Iraq did not cancel the wheat contracts.

Early signs from the commission of inquiry in Sydney before retired judge Terence Cole indicate that the AWB's actions had the tacit support of the Howard Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:

LeakVH3.jpg
Bill Leak

In paying the bribes the Australian Wheat Board was breaking UN sanctions ( the oil-for-food program) against Iraq that were designed to bring the Baarth regime to heel. The Canadians knew about it as they complained to the UN) and the UN raised concerns about the AWB's illegal operations with the Australian mission to the UN in New York.

The Australian Wheat Board , as the sole exporter of Australian wheat, always knew they were in breach of UN sanctions. So they covered their carefully tracks with inflated contracts and then claimed innocence, when the evidence of corrupt deal started surfacing with the Volker report. The Howard Government's defence has been the usual 'we know nothing about this', and that the problem lay with the UN rather than AWB.

Presumably, Australia's "on the ball" intelligence agencies did not notice that AWB was deceiving and manipulating the UN, repeatedly violating UN sanctions, and paying massive kickbacks to a corrupt and dangerous dictatorship in Iraq.

This is yet another example of bad corporate governance in Australia. Another example of an Australian corporation failing to put its house in order and trying to spin its way out of the black hole.through denying dirty deeds. So they dig themselves ever deeper into the black hole.

Anyhow what's a leftover agrarian socialist entity, now monopoly exporter, like the AWB doing in a competitive free market economy? Shouldn't it be disbanded? Aren't we supposed to be fighting a war on terrorism to defend the values of the free market?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:24 AM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

“A competitive free market economy?” In Australia? Are you joking?

The first casualty of war is truth. We won't know the extent of the lies and deceptions until well after the end of the war in the middle east and Afganistan which is still raging despite all the rehtoric from our neo fascist government. The Wheat Board, caught in the cat and mouse game between Uncle Sam et al and Saddam no doubt found themdselves having to do what Aussie businessmen are famous for, those little brown packets of inducement. That's the way Australians get ahead in a cruel and tough world. the Wheat Board though, got found out, and now must be made the Scapegoat for trying to survive. They were just not clever enough in covering their tracks. What they needed to do was get lessons from the CIA and the other successful liars and cheats on how to avoid public scrutiny.