Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cowardly behaviour at the Cole enquiry: C'mon surprise me!

Wheat "I don't have any specific recollection," said Alexander Downer – several times – on the dock at the Cole Inquiry. What a surprise! Like we thought he would suddenly break down and tell the truth – that the Australian government hand in glove with the AWB were completely aware they were screwing the Iraqi people who effectively paid via AWB for Saddam's nukes and gold-plated palaces.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has begun giving evidence to the oil-for-food inquiry in Sydney. Mr Downer has said he does not have any specific recollection about seeing many critical cables about rorts of the oil-for-food program. His statement, just tendered to the inquiry, repeats that statement many times. Given the list of departmental cables relating to allegations against AWB, he has written: "I don't have any specific recollection of having received or read this cable." Often it adds: "I don't consider it was likely to be judged sufficiently pressing or critical to be shown to me." Mr Downer says he was generally aware of the allegations, but not aware of any intelligence on allegations against the grains trader. He says he would have expected his department to investigate allegations about money from contracts going to the Middle East and contracts being inflated to pay kickbacks.

John Howard has a real opportunity. Both Vaile and Downer now look tremendously incompetent and it dramatically reduces my opinion of their ability to lead. Leadership demands that you don't make assumptions that your staff should have told you when something important was afoot. After all, you as the leader, are fully aware of anything important that's afoot. Leadership demands that when a mistake has been made you accept responsibility for it. Real leadership also demands that when innocent people have been wronged, you tell the truth about it.

John Howard, you have an opportunity to shock me here and demonstrate true leadership, which neither Vaile or Downer could.

Note: I posted on this topic back in November, and if anything I'm madder about it now than then. At that point, I didn't fully comprehend how the money channelled to Saddam was sourced straight from the capite censi of Iraq (from their Oil-For-Food funds). Supporting the evil dictator guy is one thing. Stealing from the people with whom we apparently went to war to rid of their evil dictator is another thing!

Update: In case you didn't already see it, Tim D spotted a incredible yet cringe-worthy slip of the tongue on the part of Downer: "I rarely — er... I mean really — read the cables from New York". Really?

Update: In case you were wondering, Howard completely failed to surprised us when he spoke to the commission on this too.

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Blogger Mikey_Capital said...

So not surprised.

Will any Ministers walk over this?

The answer is a resounding no. If they don't walk about brown people lobbing their kids into the sea or deporting brown Australians to another country then what's 300 mil? Nuthin'.

April 11, 2006 8:02 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

Bastard indeed.

I would have thought that diplomatic cables relating to IRAQ, of all places at this time, would be of high priority to our ministers.

It's been incredibly frustrating, all this.

April 13, 2006 9:34 am  
Blogger Stewart said...

I'm sure Downer really does read cables from New York, and probably not much else. Considering our government's firm and just about only foreign policy is to follow the US wherever it goes, Downer would probably be hoping for guidance from the yanks in getting out of this mess.

The sorry fact is though that the Oz public doesn't care, by and large. Expect nothing whatever from Howard, and don't expect too much fall-out. Hope i'm wrong though.

April 13, 2006 10:40 am  
Blogger Anthony said...

Yes, we hope you're wrong... But we know you're depressingly right. I agree, the public in general doesn't care.

April 13, 2006 7:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone has already put the amazing words of AD to music.

groove to the rhythms of the "Government In Competence" dub at Victor Xrays site

April 19, 2006 12:21 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks for the link, anon, that's not bad. What a pity we don't have access to soundbites to do it truly Pauline Pantsdown style. That'd be effective considering his upper crust accent :)

April 19, 2006 7:29 am  
Blogger Anthony said...

I really wish Pauline Pantsdown would make a come-back. She/he would have so much to work with.

She/he did release "Sorry" under the name Little Johnny in 2004, which was on the 'Rock Against Howard' CD. But I haven't been able to find it.

April 19, 2006 7:53 am  
Blogger tetmupco2 said...

I,m posting matters relating to the following headline:
"Prime Minister John Howard has told a US newspaper there will be serious consequences for any of his ministers found to have known about the illegal payments to Iraq."
Lying little turd.
Searching for links I came across your blog. I like and agree with your sentiments, I'll put you in my favourites to have future reads.
But probably credibly can't use another blogger as a source link.
But keep on blogging.

April 26, 2006 8:41 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

Cheers Paul. Don't use my blog as a proper reference -- use the outgoing links from my post though if you like! I promise you they're legit even if I'm not :)

April 26, 2006 8:48 am  
Blogger Fatman said...

I do love Australian politics. It's very Redneck Opera at times with the politicos coming up with excuses such as: 'Some guy at the bar told me they were throwing young 'uns overboard so I went with that story.', 'Millions of dollars being used to fund a Middle Eastern despot? First I've heard of it.', 'Reading documents hurts my eyes so I chose not to.' and 'We wrote all pertinent details on a whiteboard. Some idiot must have rubbed it out.'

June 02, 2006 10:22 pm  

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