Australian Wheat Board propped up Saddam
An interim post between blogcounts.
The story itself isn't new, been floating about for a while and everybody pretends to ignore it. Can't say it's really taken the Australian media scene by storm, doesn't have the same impact as Parisian riot or terror laws, and the Wheat Board are understandably happy to keep their heads down over it all.
What is new, in it's latest surfacing, is that the story now suggests somebody in Baghdad has decided to boycott the AWB until the AWB repays the hundreds of millions of dollars it made through cosy UN oil for food deals, which kept both the AWB and Saddam's bank accounts out of the red.
So, has anybody heard anything about this anywhere,um, else? Howard is trying to imagine it hasn't happened but he sounds a bit rattled.
Probe into wheat 'cancellation'
Australia is investigating reports Iraq has suspended all future orders for Australian wheat.
But the Prime Minister, John Howard, has warned Baghdad cannot easily walk away from its current obligations.
The Federal Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, has asked the Australian embassy to investigate a newspaper report that Baghdad had suspended orders until wheat marketer AWB repaid the hundreds of millions of dollars used as kickbacks to prop up dictator Saddam Hussein.
Mr Howard said today AWB could not confirm the report more.
Plus Aus agriculturalists and farmers, who mostly vote for Howard either with a direct vote to Howie's party or indirectly through his co-ally the National party, are livid because here they thought they were combating the war on terror by feeding the needy but woops looks like they were just lining another despots cloud. Is Mr Global Popular having an off day, or what? I bet US wheat deals haven't been cancelled yet. Imagine the stink if US grain deals were, what an outrage - Iraqi farmers growing their own wheat! Un-aided! What next, Iraqi's extracting their own oil?
UPDATE: Wheat Board continues longstanding relationship;
"Mr Chalabi said that he denied emphatically that he said Iraq had suspended future orders of Australian wheat," Mr Downer told ABC radio...
"And the long-standing commercial relationship with Australia and the Australian wheat industry was important to the Iraqi Government." more
The longstanding relationship hey, one moment supplying wheat and the next opening fire.