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Triple cross

November 23rd, 2006

The news that AWB Chairman Trevor Flugge was told of the invasion of Iraq, and of Australia’s planned participation in early 2002 adds yet another layer of deception to this amazing story of duplicity.

At the core of the story is of course AWB’s leadership in the subversion of the Oil-for-Food program. AWB connived at the theft of around $100 million dollars from money held in trust for the Iraqi people, handing some back to Saddam Hussein to finance (among other things) the purchase of weapons many of which are now being used by the insurgency and the purchase of political support through payments to the families of suicide bombers. Obviously this required AWB to deceive the United Nations, which it did,

Meanwhile the Australian government was engaged in multiple deceptions, including self-deceptions. It deceived the world, including the UN and the Americans by denying the accusations that were regularly made against AWB. Meanwhile an elaborate system of nods and winks ensured that, while fully aware that AWB was doing “whatever it took” to sell wheat to Saddam, could swear that they had never been told about the systemic bribery going on under their very noses.

More seriously, while stating publicly that war was a last resort, which could be avoided as long as Saddam readmitted weapons inspectors, the Australian government was concealing inside knowledge that US policy was set on war regardless of the required pretext. The latest news indicates that this was the case well before July 2002, when the Downing Street memos recorded the fact.

Now we learn that AWB was part of the inside team, informed of what was going on. This adds yet more layers. First, the legal fiction that the formal privatisation of AWB, with its government-enforced monopoly powers intact, made it a private organisation rather than a government instrumentality has been exposed as a sham. Clearly, the government is just as responsible for the actions of AWB as if they had been those of a government department (of course, with the death of the doctrine ministerial responsibility, that’s not saying much).

More interestingly, AWB was presumably double-crossing its partners in crime on the Iraqi side, taking their money while well aware they were marked for destruction. Or perhaps favoured individuals were tipped off, and warned to prepare themselves for an accommodation with their new rulers – certainly some of them seem to have survived the downfall of the Baath regime with AWB help.

Finally of course, there’s the massive deceptions being perpetrated by the Australian supporters of the Iraq war, nearly all of whom have backed the government to the hilt over its support for AWB (most others have maintained a discreet silence). In this context, I should exempt those who frankly present our participation in the war as a matter of self-interest in backing the Americans, while looking out for the largest possible cut of the spoils of war. But all those who’ve accused war opponents of being objectively pro-Saddam should recognise that the government they support has directly funded Saddam, and indirectly funded Hamas, and the current insurgency.

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  1. November 23rd, 2006 at 20:46 | #1

    jq – I’m finding this post coming up too hard against the left side of the screen on Opera – I just checked its happening on all my browsers IE and Firefox too

  2. November 23rd, 2006 at 20:47 | #2

    it only happens to posts when they are in the commenting view mode.

  3. SJ
    November 23rd, 2006 at 20:58 | #3

    Apparently, we’ve already absolved Howard of any guilt. According to Howard we had our accountability moment back in 2004. Ergo, this is our fault, not his.

  4. November 24th, 2006 at 05:11 | #4

    John, The view that Australia agreed to go to war in 2002 is an unproven claim and very likely to be nothing more than a speculation. Is Flugge being truthful or did he take a guess? Is it ‘news’ or an unproven claim?

    Why do you doubt the veracity of AWB people on one set of issues but, when a truely unreasonable claim is made, support them in another.

    I am amazed that you fall for what is almost certainly fiction. Is it a matter of seeking to believe the worst?

    SJ, We haven’t absolved John Howard of anything. The Cole Report will be released next week and people can make up their minds.

  5. November 24th, 2006 at 06:46 | #5

    DAFT has basically confirmed the story … so much for it being ‘almost certainly fiction’. The spin is that John Dauth, the Australian ambassador to the UN, was only expressing his ‘personal opinion’ to Flugge about what might happen in Iraq. It’s the spin that I reckon is the fiction. Senior public servants don’t engage in uninformed speculation about the future policies of the government that they serve, and most certainly not to other government-sponsored organisations like AWB who will use the information to make crucial commercial decisions.

    I suspect that someone on the Cole Commission’s staff, with the tacit endorsement of Cole himself, has been so sickened by the evidence of government lies and deceit that they have released evidence of the truth even though the report cannot make any mention of it because of the limited terms of reference.

  6. Bring Back the Currency Lad’s blog
    November 24th, 2006 at 07:27 | #6

    if Harry had thought about it instead of instantly defending Howard then he would have realised it was in the AWB’s interests to know if and when Iraq was going to be invaded.
    Flugge may well be loose with the truth but you would have to be an idiot of the first order to say this on Dauth’s advice as it could be very easily verified.

    I am afraid Harry Howard has been shown to be lying blatantly yet again.

  7. gordon
    November 24th, 2006 at 08:25 | #7

    I’m not so sure about AWB “leadership in the subversion of the Oil-for-Food program”.
    Back in Feb. 2005, CNN revealed that the US had knowingly permitted illegal oil sales by the
    Saddam regime of much higer value than the AWB kickbacks. If we are to measure “leadership”
    by the size of the fraud, then the US Govt. itself ranks ahead of AWB.

    From the CNN article: “This illicit revenue far exceeds the estimates of what Saddam pocketed through illegal surcharges on his U.N.-approved oil exports and illegal kickbacks on subsequent Iraqi purchases of food, medicine, and supplies — $1.7 billion to $4.4 billion — during the maligned seven-year U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq.

    “The Government Accountability Office estimated last July that Iraq earned $5.7 billion from smuggling oil out of the country, especially to Jordan, Turkey, and Syria between 1996 and 2002″.

  8. Mike Hart
    November 24th, 2006 at 08:55 | #8

    Harry et al, the Cole Report will be restricted in it’s comments to matters of fact and findings, the terms of reference will prevent any straying from its brief, nonetheless the recommendations for criminal prosecutions will be the key outcome. The issue is the terms of reference and the governments political and technical management techniques, effectively kept out any political figure from criminal action other than possible common law prosecution for corruption. I have yet to see a prosecutors office in this country really run with such cases even though the case law is well established. I should know I have worked on enough such Commissions of Inquiry. JQ’s point is valid and from my perspective on the ‘balance of probabilities’ test, substantiated.

    The problem is federal governance at the executive level and the modern managerialism practice of spin rather than truth, their level of honesty and objectivity is simply deplorable. I am with Malcolm Fraser on his views about where they have ended up politically, and I never thought I would share the same turf with Malcolm. The whole AWB business is symptomatic of broader malaise in the body politic. Of course they are liars the problem is they think spin is acceptable communication when it is simply deceptive behaviour with fraudulent objectives. The AWB’s pursuit of profit is striking and the lack of moral culpability of management and the board is apalling. Pity the poor grain grower stuck with them to market their product and produce a cost efficient return, they are getting done at every turn.

    I’m looking forward to the class action by US farmers against the AWB should prove even more interesting, but will probably be forgotten by the public and the media in the rush to our nuclear future as an energy superpower.

  9. jquiggin
    November 24th, 2006 at 09:38 | #9

    Gordon, although it’s semantic, I’d say that smuggling was evasion of the program, not subversion. Also, AWB and the Aust government took a far more active role here – but there’s plenty of hypocrisy to go around here.

  10. November 24th, 2006 at 09:38 | #10

    Today’s Murdoch papers leak that the Cole enquiry (to be released 2:30pm on a Friday) will find DFAT and other government offices innocent, even though that is not part of the terms of enquiry.

    The timing of Flugge’s conversation with Dauth fits a clear pattern. While the most famous Downing Street Memo (“intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy”) is dated July 2002, the six other memos are dated in March, when there was clearly a flurry of activity. Flugges’s minutes are dated February 27, 2002.

    If I were an ambassador to the UN and I told the chairman of a major national exporting body that a pre-emptive, illegal war was “inevitable� a full 12 months before it happened, I would want to know exactly what I was talking about. If I further promised that “�the Australian Government would support and participate in such action�, I would realise that I was putting my job and my personal reputation on the line.

    If, having made such bold predictions, subsequent events proved me right, all the way down to the timing and the dynamics of the opening salvos, I would consider myself a genius on a par with Nostradamus. But if circumstances later proved my comments to be dead in line with the revelations of the Downing Street Memos, I would be very worried indeed.

    It makes you wonder how many people are in the know on this stuff. If Flugge and Dauth knew in early 2002 that a US invasion was “inevitable�, how many others must have known? No wonder nobody want to talk about “crackpot conspiracy theories� (as Downer said on Lateline last night).

    The AWB was privatised in 1999, when UN sanctions against Iraq had already been in place for nine years. I can’t help wondering what deals with Saddam were already in place at the time of privatisation. It’s always a good idea to fatten the pig before you take it to market.

  11. November 24th, 2006 at 09:46 | #11

    PS from SMH: “The report will be handed to Governor-General Michael Jeffery at 2.30pm (AEDT) on Friday before it goes to the government, which will table it in parliament some time next week.”

  12. November 24th, 2006 at 11:08 | #12

    SJ wrote: Apparently, we’ve already absolved Howard of any guilt. According to Howard we had our accountability moment back in 2004. Ergo, this is our fault, not his.

    This is an argument I have become all too familiar with lately.

    Out of interest, are you able to say where John Howard said this? I couldn’t spot it on google news. Thanks.

  13. Katz
    November 24th, 2006 at 11:21 | #13

    As I understand it, the Dauth predictions were noted in AWB Board Minutes long before the US attempted, and failed in the UN, to concoct a casus belli against Iraq.

    Thus neither Flugge nor the rest of the AWB Board can be accused of constructing this story retrospectively.

    Thus the question rises as to the nature of Dauth’s conversations with AWB.

    1. Who initiated the contact?

    2. Was Dauth a party to invasion planning?

    3. If so, did his political masters authorise Dauth to divulge certain information?

    4. What information was he authorised to divulge, and to whom?

    5. When was this AWB Board Minute known to the Counsel Assisting the Cole Commission?

    6. If it was known before the end of the hearings, why wasn’t Dauth required to testify to the Cole Commission?

  14. November 24th, 2006 at 11:48 | #14

    Thanksgiving is over, so it’s time for some global attention on this matter. David Swanson has christened them The Melbourne Minutes:

    “Where have we heard that word “inevitable” before? Oh, yeah: the Downing Street Minutes: “Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” …

    The past six years of near zero Congressional oversight in Washington is one reason Americans’ knowledge of the planning of the Iraq War comes largely from foreign sources. But, if members of the Australian government were passing word around, I shudder to think how many people in the right circles in Washington, D.C., knew the score but kept their mouths shut and are keeping them shut to this very day. It’s clear that members of the U.S. corporate media elite were in the know. In fact, if you ask them to condescend to notice this Australian news, they’ll almost certainly tell you it’s “old news,” that they knew it all four years ago. They did, but they didn’t tell the rest of us.

    Now, here we are years later, still killing and dying in Iraq, and proposing to attack Iran on the basis of lies almost identical to those used to justify the initial attack on Iraq. “

  15. November 24th, 2006 at 12:18 | #15

    More lefty conspiracy theories!

  16. FDB
    November 24th, 2006 at 12:54 | #16

    Come on, CL. Try harder, dude.

    Tell us how even if it’s true it’s Labor’s fault.

  17. smiths
    November 24th, 2006 at 12:55 | #17

    help, i am having a moment of cognitive dissonance,
    we all agree except harry that this large, international group of men and women, on various levels of government, business and military made a war decision,
    behind closed doors, that they then put into motion secretly and executed their plan,
    but,
    conspiracy theorists are wackos, and no large secret operation could occur because it would be too difficult to keep quiet,

    so what is the word for their actions?

  18. November 24th, 2006 at 13:13 | #18

    Dare I say it, John? Will you apologise for suggesting government criminality on AWB? Will you admit you were wrong?

  19. Katz
    November 24th, 2006 at 13:52 | #19

    Perhaps CL would like to point out where JQ has made unwarranted allegations of criminality by the Howard Government.

    Does CL recognise the difference between criminality and mendacity?

  20. jquiggin
    November 24th, 2006 at 14:14 | #20

    For the record, here are my predictions on the AWB business from last January.

    * Both Downer and Howard knew that the AWB was paying kickbacks to the Iraqi regime

    * This information was transmitted in a way that preserves deniability, so no conclusive proof will emerge

    * No government minister will resign

    * Endless hair-splitting defences of the government’s actions in this matter will emerge from those who have previously made a loud noise about Oil for Food.

    On the first point, it has subsequently been shown that Downer, Howard and other ministers were told of AWB’s criminal actions on numerous occasions and chose not to believe it or look into it (I’m sure they knew from their own contacts that the AWB case would not bear close examination, and therefore did not closely examine it). The second and third have obviously been proved correct, though the deniability has been a bit more strained than I expected. As for the fourth, CL provides a better example than I could reasonably have hoped for.

    While you’re here, CL, can I ask whether you honestly believe the Australian ambassador was briefing Flugge on the basis of his own guesswork as DFAT is now claiming?

  21. November 24th, 2006 at 14:29 | #21

    For what it’s worth, here is my prediction for Iraq from May 2003, just two months after the invasion:

    “So now it it time to ask: WHY DID THEY DO IT?

    The answer, obvious enough once the other myths are exploded, is OIL.

    So, what now? Iraq is perhaps the only nation on earth capable of seriously challenging Saudi Arabia as the World #1 oil exporter. The Americans will clearly want to maintain control of this oil for the next hundred years (or at least until it is all gone). The obvious fix would be to “sell” all the Iraqi’s oil to the USA at very attractive prices. In return, the USA will give the Iraqis … what? Hmmn… How about ongoing military and administrative support? Well, that won’t be necessary once the Iraqis regain control of their country and set up a stable, model democracy, right?

    Hands up anyone who thinks the instability in Iraq will be resolved anytime soon.”

    Now the conventional wisdom says we cannot withdraw because chaos will ensue.

    Hnads up anyone who thinks the USA has not deliberately sown instability in Iraq. Hands up anyone who thinks Downer and Howard were not fully informed about the planned invasion, and the AWB scandal to boot.

    Hands up any damned fool who still believes in fairies.

  22. November 24th, 2006 at 14:30 | #22

    This information was transmitted in a way that preserves deniability, so no conclusive proof will emerge.

    A conspiracy theory, then. As I expected – carry on.

  23. November 24th, 2006 at 14:38 | #23

    C.L. Congratulations – you win the prize! Tinkerbell is on her way to your house, with a free* subscription offer to News Ltd’s “Global Power (TM)” network.

    * Offer conditional upon fifty year subscription to News Ltd’s global news network version of reality.

  24. Katz
    November 24th, 2006 at 14:43 | #24

    I wonder whether Howard will be invited to testify before the US Senate like George Galloway.

    I wonder whether Howard would accept such an invitation.

    I wonder whether Howard would do as well a George Galloway.

  25. November 24th, 2006 at 14:43 | #25

    Is that what Tim Dunlop’s doing for Rupert these days – playing Tinkerbell? Maybe he can fix up similar jobs for AWB conspiracy theorists.

  26. November 24th, 2006 at 15:38 | #26

    Pr Q says:

    At the core of the story is of course AWB’s leadership in the subversion of the
    Oil-for-Food program. AWB connived at the theft of around $100 million dollars from money held in trust for the Iraqi people, handing some back to Saddam Hussein to finance (among other things) the purchase of weapons many of which are now being used by the insurgency and the purchase of political support through payments to the families of suicide bombers. Obviously this required AWB to deceive the United Nations, which it did,

    The Oil-for-Food program was designed to be subverted. Ditto Haliburton regime change. Both programs had to go through corrupt agencies (Baathist Iraqis, Republican Americans) to be effective. But both programs had good proximate effects. Oil for Food fed Iraqi children. Regime change deposed a fascist dictator. Bad means for good ends. Get over it, thats foreign policy in a world this side of the vale of tears.

    Pr Q says:

    Meanwhile the Australian government was engaged in multiple deceptions, including self-deceptions. It deceived the world, including the UN and the Americans by denying the accusations that were regularly made against AWB. Meanwhile an elaborate system of nods and winks ensured that, while fully aware that AWB was doing “whatever it took� to sell wheat to Saddam, could swear that they had never been told about the systemic bribery going on under their very noses.

    More seriously, while stating publicly that war was a last resort, which could be avoided as long as Saddam readmitted weapons inspectors, the Australian government was concealing inside knowledge that US policy was set on war regardless of the required pretext. The latest news indicates that this was the case well before July 2002, when the Downing Street memos recorded the fact.

    Correct. Howard is a blatant liar on delicate foreign policy or peripheral domesitic policy are concerned, But he has always maintained, or alluded, that right policy trumps true politics.

    Pr Q says:

    Now we learn that AWB was part of the inside team, informed of what was going on. This adds yet more layers. First, the legal fiction that the formal privatisation of AWB, with its government-enforced monopoly powers intact, made it a private organisation rather than a government instrumentality has been exposed as a sham. Clearly, the government is just as responsible for the actions of AWB as if they had been those of a government department (of course, with the death of the doctrine ministerial responsibility, that’s not saying much).

    More interestingly, AWB was presumably double-crossing its partners in crime on the Iraqi side, taking their money while well aware they were marked for destruction. Or perhaps favoured individuals were tipped off, and warned to prepare themselves for an accommodation with their new rulers – certainly some of them seem to have survived the downfall of the Baath regime with AWB help.

    Those AWB guys were real cowboys, BUt they were operating in an outlaw state. Anything goes so long as the wheat gets sold by Australia, Baathists get the kick-backs and iraqi children get the bread.

    Its surprising that anyone would be naive enough to expect clean hands when dealing with middle-eastern states. They are a cess-pool of political vice. ANyone taking the plunge into these polities is bound to emerge covered in filth.

    Multiculturalists take note.

    Pr Q says:

    Finally of course, there’s the massive deceptions being perpetrated by the Australian supporters of the Iraq war, nearly all of whom have backed the government to the hilt over its support for AWB (most others have maintained a discreet silence). In this context, I should exempt those who frankly present our participation in the war as a matter of self-interest in backing the Americans, while looking out for the largest possible cut of the spoils of war.

    That would be me. Not for one minute did I think Howard was participating in the CoW for any other reason than USA-AUS coalition foreign policy mutual back-scratching. You rub our Timor itch and we scratch your Iraqi rash. Thats the way our world works.

    Nor did I believe that the USA was invading Iraq to disarm it of WMDs. From 2002 onwards I was convinvced that the USA was invading Iraq because it had no WMDs. Regime change was a complement, not a substitute, for Baathist disarmaent.

    Pr Q says:

    But all those who’ve accused war opponents of being objectively pro-Saddam should recognise that the government they support has directly funded Saddam, and indirectly funded Hamas, and the current insurgency.

    The war party were fools to believe that the war was anything else than an excercise in power politics. And more fool for thinking that the Bush admin were competent Real Politicians. The whole exercise was botched in conception and bungled in execution.

    And a fool who does not acknowledge an error is a knave.

  27. November 24th, 2006 at 15:40 | #27

    I was going to ask Pr Q to delete this comment until I fixed the html tagging. But it looks kind of like a really cool eecummings poem. So maybe we should leave it as is.

  28. November 24th, 2006 at 15:42 | #28

    Pr Q says:

    At the core of the story is of course AWB’s leadership in the subversion of the
    Oil-for-Food program. AWB connived at the theft of around $100 million dollars from money held in trust for the Iraqi people, handing some back to Saddam Hussein to finance (among other things) the purchase of weapons many of which are now being used by the insurgency and the purchase of political support through payments to the families of suicide bombers. Obviously this required AWB to deceive the United Nations, which it did,

    The Oil-for-Food program was designed to be subverted. Ditto Haliburton regime change. Both programs had to go through corrupt agencies (Baathist Iraqis, Republican Americans) to be effective. But both programs had good proximate effects. Oil for Food fed Iraqi children. Regime change deposed a fascist dictator. Bad means for good ends. Get over it, thats foreign policy in a world this side of the vale of tears.

    Pr Q says:

    Meanwhile the Australian government was engaged in multiple deceptions, including self-deceptions. It deceived the world, including the UN and the Americans by denying the accusations that were regularly made against AWB. Meanwhile an elaborate system of nods and winks ensured that, while fully aware that AWB was doing “whatever it took� to sell wheat to Saddam, could swear that they had never been told about the systemic bribery going on under their very noses.

    More seriously, while stating publicly that war was a last resort, which could be avoided as long as Saddam readmitted weapons inspectors, the Australian government was concealing inside knowledge that US policy was set on war regardless of the required pretext. The latest news indicates that this was the case well before July 2002, when the Downing Street memos recorded the fact.

    Correct. Howard is a blatant liar on delicate foreign policy or peripheral domesitic policy are concerned, But he has always maintained, or alluded, that right policy trumps true politics.

    Pr Q says:

    Now we learn that AWB was part of the inside team, informed of what was going on. This adds yet more layers. First, the legal fiction that the formal privatisation of AWB, with its government-enforced monopoly powers intact, made it a private organisation rather than a government instrumentality has been exposed as a sham. Clearly, the government is just as responsible for the actions of AWB as if they had been those of a government department (of course, with the death of the doctrine ministerial responsibility, that’s not saying much).

    More interestingly, AWB was presumably double-crossing its partners in crime on the Iraqi side, taking their money while well aware they were marked for destruction. Or perhaps favoured individuals were tipped off, and warned to prepare themselves for an accommodation with their new rulers – certainly some of them seem to have survived the downfall of the Baath regime with AWB help.

    Those AWB guys were real cowboys, BUt they were operating in an outlaw state. Anything goes so long as the wheat gets sold by Australia, Baathists get the kick-backs and iraqi children get the bread.

    Its surprising that anyone would be naive enough to expect clean hands when dealing with middle-eastern states. They are a cess-pool of political vice. ANyone taking the plunge into these polities is bound to emerge covered in filth.

    Multiculturalists take note.

    Pr Q says:

    Finally of course, there’s the massive deceptions being perpetrated by the Australian supporters of the Iraq war, nearly all of whom have backed the government to the hilt over its support for AWB (most others have maintained a discreet silence). In this context, I should exempt those who frankly present our participation in the war as a matter of self-interest in backing the Americans, while looking out for the largest possible cut of the spoils of war.

    That would be me. Not for one minute did I think Howard was participating in the CoW for any other reason than USA-AUS coalition foreign policy mutual back-scratching. You rub our Timor itch and we scratch your Iraqi rash. Thats the way our world works.

    Nor did I believe that the USA was invading Iraq to disarm it of WMDs. From 2002 onwards I was convinvced that the USA was invading Iraq because it had no WMDs. Regime change was a complement, not a substitute, for Baathist disarmaent.

    Pr Q says:

    But all those who’ve accused war opponents of being objectively pro-Saddam should recognise that the government they support has directly funded Saddam, and indirectly funded Hamas, and the current insurgency.

    The war party were fools to believe that the war was anything else than an excercise in power politics. And more fool for thinking that the Bush admin were competent Real Politicians. The whole exercise was botched in conception and bungled in execution.

    And a fool who does not acknowledge an error is a knave.

  29. smiths
    November 24th, 2006 at 17:21 | #29

    “Oil for Food fed Iraqi children. Regime change deposed a fascist dictator. Bad means for good ends.”
    ummm, actually, oil for food fed saddam while the children died,
    and deposing a dictator – who was more military than fascist – could hardly now be called a good end,

    is it so hard for some people to see, that regardless of your general political leanings,
    the war on iraq was an unjustifiable war crime, commited with full complicity of our lying leader which has resulted in a sectarian bloodbath for which we all have some responsibility

  30. November 24th, 2006 at 19:27 | #30

    In regard to Professor Q’s comments that this latest information shows “AWB was part of the inside team, informed of what was going on. This adds yet more layers.”

    I notice that Michael Pascoe on Crikey has suggested for some time that people within AWB in Iraq also played a valuable spying role. The notion of ‘spies’ usually calls up images of James Bond, (and thus produces scoffs about conspiracy theories whenever it is raised), but the reality is usually much more mundane (and thus less precisely defined). Put simply, people on the ground provide information back to officials from their own nation – this doesn’t mean they are part of ASIO or ASIS, but it can mean they have wider roles and links than is assumed from their job descriptions.

    The very open comments by Ambassador Dauth not only suggest a plan to support a US invasion of Iraq formulated well in advance. It suggests that some AWB officials engaged in information exchanges with government officials about matters much wider than the state of the wheat market.

    The main reason why this is important in the current context is NOT so people can go on about spy fantasies – it is the potential for national security reasons to be used in regards to potential charges, trials and in particular what evidence is provided to them.

    Most people – often quite rightly – get very circumspect when matters that may genuinely impact on security and intelligence issues come up. Unfortunately, this also provides a massive ‘get out of jail free’ card (probably quite literally in some cases) when it comes to being able to cover up dodgy actvities or just non-intelligence information that you don’t want anyone to know about.

  31. November 24th, 2006 at 21:51 | #31

    Flugge. Trevor Flugge.

    Let’s hope he returned everything to ASIS Q Branch after being sent to Iraq on Ratty’s Secret Service.

    Oh, Trevor!

    *Roll credits*

  32. November 25th, 2006 at 00:43 | #32

    # smiths Says: November 24th, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    ummm, actually, oil for food fed saddam while the children died,

    That is just Howard-hating propaganda. Oil for Food was a corrupt aid program, the only possible kind in the militarised parts of the ME. And it succeeded in its aim. Malnutrition amongst Iraqi children rose after UN sanctions were applied. It declined in the last few years of the Baathist regime, largely thanks to the efforts of the corrupt Oil-for-Food agencies – including AWB. The war interrupted Oil for Food which has caused Iraqi child malnutrition to rise, as Lancet discovered.

    Machiavellian rules were working well enough in this instance. That is why Howard is not paying a political cost for his double dealing. Iraqi children got fed and Australian wheat growers got paid.

    deposing a dictator – who was more military than fascist – could hardly now be called a good end,

    Huseein was a fascist military dictator. You have to be ambivalent about his dictatrship. A fascist military dictator is prima facie evil. Democracy promoters, inlcluding Pr Q, must be glad that the political world is rid of him type. This is why some ideologically consistent left wing revolutionaries supported the war eg Hitchens.

    Yet the rancid and rancorous sectarian politics of Iraq now make him type look the lesser of two evils. That seems to be the default condition of ME political regimes: fascist tyranny alternating with fundamentalist anarchy.

    The US should have done the Machiavellian thing and struck a deal with Hussein, as we have now done with Gaddafi. Instead we did the utopian thing and tried turn a multi-ethnic dictatorship into a multicultural democracy.

    Domestic multiculturalists take note. Dont try to make them like us by making unwise invasions. And dont allow us to become like them by sending out unwise invitations.

    it so hard for some people to see, that regardless of your general political leanings, the war on iraq was an unjustifiable war crime, commited with full complicity of our lying leader which has resulted in a sectarian bloodbath for which we all have some responsibility.

    No, it is not hard for some Howard-supporters to see that the war on Iraq was a war-crime alright. This particular sometime Howard suporter tumbled to this truth within 36 hours of the invasion.

    And a sectarian bloodbath seems to have been on the Iraqi cards once the Baathist fascist dictatorship was removed. Again, this seems to be Iraq’s default position.

    Howard was complicit in this war crime. But he did not exacerbate it, since it was a done deal whether the ADF participated in the war or not. The ADF has probably reduced the level of sectarian bloodshed in its locale, thanks to professionalism by servicemen and the grelatively placid character of its mission. Howard has no doubt briefed them to stay low.

    Howard has so far gotten away with his complicity in this war crime because AUS’s policy of supporting the USA’s global war machine is generally in our national interest. It strenghthens the AUS-USA military alliance which gives us leverage over the USA whenever we need their help sorting out regional problems eg Timor-Indon.

    Once again, Machiavellian rules.

  33. frankis
    November 25th, 2006 at 11:20 | #33

    Jack:

    The US should have done the Machiavellian thing and struck a deal with Hussein, as we have now done with Gaddafi. Instead we did the utopian thing and tried turn a multi-ethnic dictatorship into a multicultural democracy.

    The only bit of Jack’s analysis that doesn’t ring true is in there somewhere and involves the attribution of decent motives to a bunch of failed and stoopid would-be Machiavellians. That they’d have been laughed out of town by Nicolo himself doesn’t make them any less his acolytes and wannabes, useless little losers that they are.

    Their efforts might be called “utopian” only if your idea of a perfect world involves Israel ruling all it surveys around it, and steadily expanding its territory onto other people’s traditional lands, while the US with its OPEC partners in environmental crimes pump as much fossil SUV fuel as they possibly can. Closer to a dystopia envisioned, for mine.

  34. Smiley
    November 25th, 2006 at 11:25 | #34

    A conspiracy theory, then. As I expected – carry on.
    CL honestly this is really pathetic. People like you think that by uttering two words “conspiracy theory”, you’ve some how mastered the argument. Well I’m afraid you haven’t… because there is a simple two word rebuttal… coincident theory. CL you’re a coincident theorist… carry on.

  35. November 25th, 2006 at 11:33 | #35

    Good onya, Smiley. Provide some lame cover for John’s conspiracy theory.

    That’ll work.

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