More allegations have been levelled at the Australian Wheat Board's involvement in supplying food to Iraq during the 1990s. The American CIA alleges that the money paid to middle-men in Iraq funnelled part of the $AUS220 million to Saddam's regime and to Palestinian suicide bomber families.
A judicial inquiry has been set up to investigate the allegations made, and I assume the CIA will produce the documents they say prove that the AWB knew of the kickbacks being paid to transport Australian Wheat to where it was most needed. Worse, that the Australian Government knew of the extra money being paid to facilitate the smooth transportation of our wheat into this very lucrative market.
When the Coalition of the Willing invaded Iraq, Australia had delivered, but had not been paid for, $AUS800 million worth of wheat. Iraq refused to pay, the new government refused to pay, the US refused to clarify the situation and Australia made the wheat a gift to the new struggling nation.
A lot of accusations are coming out of the US in regards to Australia's wheat export to, oh, let's see, countries targeted by American farmers. Preferred markets that Australia has a strong foothold in.
And I am really pissed at the US's accusations. When I first heard about this, I thought it was payback for the lamb incident where by Australia took the US to the International Court over tariffs; the US lost.
Then I read that while the US Government and the CIA are busily sling mud and accusations at us an international politics analyst, Dr Keith Suter, reminded people that it was a board who managed the oil-for-food program under the auspices of the United Nations. Remember that Kofi Annan's son is in trouble for his part in the scandal?
What toasts my buns is the fact that this board is made up of representatives from a number of countries, including the US, the UK, France and Germany. This Board knew what was going on, they managed the program, gave advice to those going in country.
I'd like to know where the accusations are against the board who facilitated and had full knowledge of the Oil-For-Food program. I want to know why the US is accusing the Australian Wheat Board of corruption when Australia had to rely on the recommendations of the Board for facilitating the food transfers. I want to know who from the Board is accepting responsibility for this cluster-fuck and I want to know why, given that the CIA has known about these allegations for some eight years, they chose to reveal it all now?
What is coming up that the CIA has to undermine the credibility of an ally to achieve the US's goal? Has to be agricultural and/or trade, doesn't it. Wheat contracts to Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel or somewhere else? Live sheep exports to Saudi Arabia, perhaps? Beef exports to Japan, maybe? How about sugar or wool?
The one thing we've learned is that the US hates to lose. At anything. To anyone. I can only think that the US will protect its interests, in regards to the Oil for Food scandal, in regards to WMD, in regards to its unfair global trading practices. But, hey, that's international politics.