Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Australian Foreign Minister In International Bribe Scandal

Mr Downer, the beginning of the inquiry into possible corrupt practices by the Australian Wheat Board in Iraq will be notable in hindsight as the beginning of your demise as Australian Foreign Minister..

How easily the mighty can fall. One minute you're touted to head the International Atomic Energy Agency, the next you're about to become embroiled in an international bribery scandal !

Remember, back in 96, when you announced Australian Wheat being involved in the Iraqi Oil-For-Food Program? You werre happy to look for kudos back then regarding AWB involvment, but I guess you'd love to turn back time now, wouldn't you?

Those lines written to you a year later by the Governor Of Texas , that hung so proudly on your Adelaide offfice wall, must seem as empty words now. Remember them?

Australia is a very important
ally of the United States, and should I ever be in the position to
reconfirm that alliance, I look forward to doing so. I hope to see you
again. Respectfully yours, George W. Bush.

Since then you've "earned your stripes" by simultaneously goading the Koreans and reintroducing Australia to fear of missile warface and have been truly an asset in campaigning for the Free Trade Agreement. However, this doesn't look like being enough to "save" your diplomatic "skin"

Back over on the "minus side of the ledger", your inconsistencies made Doug Wood's release almost unusable as a US photo-op of Bush-Coalition-achieved success. However, by a change in plan the job was done, so your tactical ineptitude did no real damage

You created a little loss of face for Condi RIce when you said that her security couldn't handle Adelaide's "Leftist Protesters", but nothing irreparable. "Condi", as you love to call her, is now seeing you in Washington. I wonder if relationships are as sugary as last time? If Laura Bush is speaking for the Family Regime, then "Condi," as the next Bush Presidential candidate, might consider your new status as making for as less than a vote-winning "photo op". When she finds that you've been using your US State Department contacts to smooth the AWB issues behind her back and have obviously still failed to rectify the main problem, do you think she'll be happy with you? Unlikely. Doctor Rice, as she'll probably now prefer to be referred to as, is apparently not in any hurry to fill your requests that the US considers Australia important enough to have an American Ambassador. Do you consider this as rubbing your nose in your international diplomatic standing? I suggest that you should.

Had things gone the "right way" it would be you opening the roads into Iran, an official leading the Coalition into another justified war. In spite of the six million dollars a year Australian gives to the IAEA budget and all of Bush's pushing, you didn't get the IAEA job, making you a bit of a "spent bullet " in global terms.

Do you think the US President will want to know you now that you're involved in bribery scandal over sales of Aussie wheat to Iraq? Are the strings tjhat were pulled for you last year, when you protested the US banning of our wheat, available to you any more? When the UN exposed the AWB trickery, the government department that you represent wasn't involved in the fiasco. Now that it is, Alex, you've just become a political liabily to the Bush Whitehouse.

You've also lost your US publicity credibility factor as a spokesman for the international success of the Coalition. What will Mr and Mrs US Public think when they learn that a chief minister from Down Under was lining the pockets of the man whose defeat was the reason for which their sons and daughters died ? It won't help George's opinion polls at all.

According to The Age, AWB witnesses at last year's inquiry into the Oil For Food deliberately mislead the United Nation's investigation. Given that the former chief of the AWB has stated awareness that several of his officials "went to Canberra to talk to DFAT" isn't anyone in the position of Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs in the centre of a cyclone of ethical breaches?

Alexander, four months ago you were, in your own words, representing Australia to the United Nations. The void of puppet coalition ally inside the UN has, it seems, been filled by the imminent appointment as Australian Ambassodor to the United Nations of Federal Defence Minister Robert Hill

You have the opportunity to leave this public office with comparative dignity and grace. Prudence would advocate carpe diem.

Better luck as Treasurer.

Around two thousand years ago there was a bloke called Pontius Pilate (who turns out to be a Scot) who was much more honest in matters of population crucifixion than the Australian Cabinet is being. Howard, Hill and Downer are about to wash their hands in the Green Room (to borrow from the theatre) by changing jobs, no doubt to assuage any Westminster System generated guilt of their participation in PNAC's ideals. Our new Prime Minister Costello will be able to say he had nothing to do with the destructive force of Armageddon (currently under an Isreali army base) as he was busy balancing the budget at the time.

As we speak I'm listening to PM.. news from the inquiry today, which is sounding like an episode of Yes, Minister. Downer was definitely spoken to personally about AWB's problems in payment, but only in a broader conceptual sense. (transcript when it's online) Another good hand-wash!

The international division of Daimler Chrysler, also named in the Volker report as bribing Saddam, has demonstrated what our Prime Minister has been forced to do. It has suspended six of its executives

AWB Chief Executive Andrew Lindberg has taken another approach, saying today that although he believed he was telling the UN inquiry the truth, new knowledge has lead him to no longer stand by his earlier testimony.


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