Wednesday, November 29, 2006

AWB & Cohen Group

* nyt:
"A high-level commission investigating corruption in the United Nations oil-for-food program released a long-awaited report on Monday stating unequivocally that a major Australian wheat company paid more than $224 million in kickbacks and bribes to Saddam Hussein’s government.

The commission also found that the company, AWB Ltd., had “deliberately and dishonestly” devised a scheme for the payments — from 1999 until the overthrow of Mr. Hussein in 2003 — to deceive the United Nations. When the United Nations conducted its investigation in 2005, headed by Paul A. Volcker, AWB withheld thousands of pages of documents and its lawyers made statements to Mr. Volcker that were patently false, the commission found.

The Australian commission’s report was the most thorough — and damning — investigation of corruption in the United Nation’s oil-for-food program. It is certain to have repercussions for politicians in Canberra as well as in Washington, where incoming Democratic Congressional representatives have pledged to hold their own hearings."
yay, us.

* Mizgin:
"The Cohen Group involved with AWB is the same one that also provided Lockheed Martin with its current "PKK coordinator" to Turkey, Joseph Ralston. Does anyone honestly believe, that with the conflict of interest in surrounding Ralston's appointment and the US government's full knowledge of Ralston's connections, and adding in William Cohen's buddies at the Australian Embassy in DC, that the Australian government really didn't have a single clue as to what was going on?

Does anyone honestly believe that Democrats in the Senate are going to expose former high-ranking officials of the Clinton administration in all their glorious venality? Whoever honestly believes that needs to go on a clue hunt with the Australian government.

Dirty is as dirty does. Sounds to me like it's time to give Public Strategies, Inc. a call."


Simon said...

Jonathan Schwarz over at A Tiny Revolution has more about AWB from a few days ago. (Trawl down to Nov 24th. I won't stick the links in - follow from his place.)

Text Of Australian Memo

Wednesday night the Australian media reported that in early 2002 their ambassador to the U.N. was telling the Australian company AWB that a U.S. attack on Iraq was "inevitable." The information appears in the minutes from a February 27, 2002 AWB board meeting. The minutes are listed on this page from the Cole Inquiry website; you can download them directly here (pdf).

Here's the relevant text, from pages 10-11, with my emphasis added. A screenshot of the memo itself is below the fold. (AWB minutes are printed in Helvetica!)

AWB Limited
Board Meeting No. 48
Date: Wednesday 27 February 2002

Middle East situation

The Chairman met with the Australian Ambassador to the UN, John Dauth, who gave a synopsis of the current conflict in the Middle East. With regard to Iran, the Ambassador noted that, despite the President's State of the Union address and reference to the "Axis of Evil," most acknowledge that US/Iran relations are at an all time high. Accordingly, there appears to be an unofficial agreement between the two countries that despite the language of the President, these comments should be seen as for domestic consumption only. The Ambassador's view was that it was unlikely that the war against terrorism currently being waged in Afghanistan would follow on to Iran in the current political environment.

However, with regard to Iraq, the Ambassador stated that he believed that US military action to depose Saddam Hussein was inevitable and that at this time the Australian Government would support and participate in such action. The Ambassador believed that the Iraqis grossly underestimated the US' reaction to September 11 (with the consequent military response in Afghanistan) and that Iraq's request to re-negotiate UN weapons inspectors was a direct result of their nervousness about US action. The Ambassador believed that the latest "olive branch" from the Iraqis was likely to stave off US action 12 to 18 months but that some military action was inevitable.

The Ambassador felt that engagement in Iraq would be similar to that currently being undertaken in Afghanistan (ie. heavy use of air support followed by deployment of ground troops). He undertook to ensure that AWB was given as much warning as would be possible under such circumstances but noted that in these instances often the Australian Government had little notification. However, he did note that Secretary Powell was running this campaign in a similar way that he ran the Gulf conflict which was to plan meticulously and not rush into conflict.

Continue reading "Text Of Australian Memo"...

lukery said...

ah yes. thnx.

yay, us.

ewastud said...

Mizgin apparently does not know that Cohen, although a Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration is a red-blooded Republican. Cohen publicly supported Republicans for office after he left his position at DoD. There is no reason Democrats should be shy in grilling Cohen and his exploits.

lukery said...

mizgin is right to note that there are a bunch of clintonites invovled tho.

Anonymous said...

Cohen is a friend of Downer