Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top

Australian 'aid' for Iraq a cover to enrich our companies: Aidwatch

The watchdog organisation Aidwatch has released a report today which found that Australian aid money has been used in Iraq to rework the country to suit international corporations. Our Foreign Minister's response was to brand Aidwatch an extremist organisation. The report, written by Senior Lecturer in Geography at Newcastle University Christopher Doran with research assistance from the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, found that $170m of Australian money was misused.

Aidwatch co-director Flint Duxfield said today:

“The report clearly demonstrates that Australian aid contractors in Iraq had little to no humanitarian mission, but rather sought to ensure that post-conflict Iraq would provide maximum economic opportunities for Australian companies.”

Apparently the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq organised a flat 15 percent tax on all individuals and corporations, and then cancelled duties and tariffs on imports.

Downer added the further diplomatic insult of sending his dismissal of the allegations through an underling. [ABC extract]

A spokesman from Mr Downer's office says Aid Watch is an extremist organisation that has repeatedly misrepresented the nature of Australia's aid program. The spokesman says Mr Downer does not take the report seriously.

I guess they're lucky he didn't label them as terrorists. Co-Director of Aidwatch Flint Duxfield responded:

This loose use of language by the foreign minister is a clear attempt to divert the media and public attention from the real issue. Why is Australian aid money being used to prop up Australian business when so many in Iraq are in such great need?” Instead of shooting the messenger the Government should deal with the substantial issues which continue to hamper the effectiveness of Australia’s aid. Australian taxpayers are entitled to an explanation at this gross misuse of aid funds.

Read the report here (pdf)


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

The alternative government of Iraq

To help keep everything in perspective, we should take a moment to reflect on what the alternative government of Iraq is doing:

Rescuers used bare hands and shovels on Wednesday to claw through the wreckage of clay houses as the death toll rose to at least 250 after a string of suicide bombings in Iraq.

The attack, against an ancient religious sect, is the deadliest such attack of the Iraqi war.

The US military blamed al-Qaeda in Iraq and a commander called it an "act of ethnic cleansing".

The health minister of the nearby autonomous Kurdish region said at least 250 people had died, but some local officials placed the death toll significantly higher, with as many as 500 dead. The figures could not be independently confirmed because the dangerous area was under a curfew and the casualties were taken to hospitals in several nearby towns.

Hashim al-Hamadani, a senior provincial security official, Kifah Mohammed, the director of the Sinjar hospital and Iraqi army Captain Mohammed Ahmed all said that 500 were killed and 350 wounded.

Thank you. We may now resume our debate.

Howard's gutter-learnt duplicity. Mk. 2.

The "New Order's" venture into the humble mode should not fool anyone.

It reminds me of the immediate change after they somehow won the 2004 election - and I found a post from Canberra Times HYS from 14 April 2005.

It was entitled Sorry Julia and was id=91637.  Lady author shall remain un-named.

"The language that John Howard uses is no accident, it is intended to deceive people into thinking his actions are benign and by the time that we find out what he has done it is too late, there will be those who will discover that they are not one of the"us" for whom Mr Howard has promised comfort and relaxation.

The Liberals continually talk about the Labor Party being in the grip of the "Unions".  The Unions were created because there was grievous need for them.  Men, women and machinery, in a dirty environment on a wage that could not give them adequate nourishment and accommodation. 

Groups of people banded together to protect themselves from those despotic employers - that was the beginning of "Unions".

Generally speaking their cause is to ascertian [sic] fair and safe working conditions, and a wage that is capable giving the necessities of life (that includes some leisure and reasonable comfort) for employees and their dependants. 

How can that be wrong?

There are other groups that have banded together to obtain benefits for their members in the same way, such as International Chambers of Commerce, AMA, National Farmers Federation, RSL, Real Estate Institute, Australian Institute of Public Administration, Master Builders Association and many more - they are all "unions" giving advice to their members in return for their subscription and no doubt making a goodly donation to the political party that gives them the greatest benefit.

The apparent difference between the labour unions and the other unions is that the other unions do not want to share the increased profits that the improved technology has brought to this nation and some do not want to contribute to the cost of education and good health of the "working class".

John Howard talks about "free trade agreements" because he wants us to think that that is what they are and he will keep saying it and louder and oftener but it is propaganda and we must seek information from other than politicians and the media."

This lady wrote this great post about six months into Howard's present term of office.

How right was her observation: "....by the time that we find out what he has done it is too late, there will be those who will discover that they are not one of the "us" for whom Mr Howard has promised comfort and relaxation".



Ernest William,You mention the following groups, International Chambers of Commerce, AMA, National Farmers Federation, RSL, Real Estate Institute, Australian Institute of Public Administration, Master Builders Association.

Yes but these groups don't go around in balaclavas intimidating workers like your union thugs do.

"The language that Kevin Rudd uses is no accident, it is intended to deceive people into thinking his actions are benign and by the time that we find out what he has done it is too late, there will be those who will discover that they are not one of the"us" for whom Mr Rudd has promised comfort and relaxation.

See what happens when you just change the names. However, if you are a union thug you will be given your criminal powers back to intimidate small business and the cause the loss of jobs. Read Labors IR policy: it is 20 pages of crap (it is on Gillard's website). 

The Lines are Well and Truly Drawn.

The apolitical foreign corporations just cannot allow a threat to the autocratic control of their representative government to go un-challenged!

Graciously, they remained amused spectators in 2004, while the apolitical US ambassador to Australia broke all convention by openly abusing the Australian Labor Party.

The US always supports their puppets and dictators until.......!

This year, Howard's millions of Australian taxpayer dollars has failed to crucify Kevin Rudd; his wife; his family; his deceased mother; Julia Gillard; her decision to have a career and her lifestyle – all to no avail.

So they play the old "red" card and accuse the trade unions of being thugs while their corporation controllers abuse basic human rights for the sake of profits and profits alone.

Take a deep breath and reason:

  • No employer, especially one with many employees, will ever employ one more person than is absolutely necessary to maximise their profits. Do I hear a genuine disagreement?
  • Major corporations, in every country where they prosper, will always support, finance, and speak for a government that they can corrupt and control with money. Any challenge?
  • "Good business" is really dirty business in that, if you can sell snow to an Eskimo you are a good business person.
  • Howard's corrupt and rorting robots have encouraged the worst instincts in big business (as in our people) to gain and maintain the power of money. Might is right? Everyone has their price?

So the apolitical corporations are at least out in the open?

This is a confirmation that the WorkChoices legislation is great for them and, considering the corporation unions versus the worker's unions, and exposure of the ever increasing "no choice" for Australian workers

Howard has managed to hide and keep secret many facts of his mismanagement by legislating laws that, for example, prevent public servants from making public the real issues of the fascist regime.

  • Howard has only two things with which to blackmail the people; our schools; our Hospitals; our State and Territory governments, and they are the use of GST, and public funding in general.

So we have the lines drawn:

  • We can accept abuse, in our own country, with our own natural wealth, and accept that the corporations MUST have a total free hand, or, as Howard and Hockey says, these charitable people will not employ us at all.

These are the ingredients of a revolution that Howard is encouraging in Queensland.

Is he in breach of his own sedition laws?


Downer's admission of guilt

February, 2007...

Alexander Downer : "...it is a criminal offence for any Australian aid money to, or aid projects - this is project aid - we're not handing out cash - but for any projects to, in some way or another, be corrupted and we would obviously ask Aid Watch if they have any evidence to refer that evidence to the Australian Federal Police. "

ABC-PM, last Friday: 


NICK GRIMM: The Federal Government said today it wouldn't stoop to dignify the report with a comment.

A spokesman for Alexander Downer told PM this evening that the Foreign Minister regards AID/WATCH as an extremist organisation that's bent on misrepresenting Australia's aid effort.

Also from that PM piece:

CHRIS DORAN: Australian participated in, had high-level officials not only transforming agriculture and trying to get further wheat contracts, but also had high-level officials in the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Now, one of the key things the CPA did was essentially eliminate tariffs, it eliminated duties, it tried to privatise the entire economy, it said that foreign corporations could own Iraqi industries without having to keep any of the money in Iraq, all the profits could be repatriated back to those countries.

Now, some might argue that this type of neo-liberal approach, corporate globalised approach, might actually benefit the Iraqi people and it might actually benefit the economy. The issue here is that this is done under a military occupation after an invasion. The Iraqi people had no democratic say in this.

By Downer's own words, he and his department are guilty of a war crime.

Yes He'll Do Anything, but Everything Too.

He will damage Australia and our citizens to hold on to absolute power because he is strong, he is a man of steel; he is tough, and he is also mad as absolute power corrupts absolutely.

No limit to the spending of taxpayer's money; no limit to the invasions of the States and Territories and their citizens’ democratic rights; no limit to his and his robot's spending of taxpayer's money for their own pleasures, but don't think that is anywhere near everything he can or will do to this electorate awakening.

Minchin has entered into the anti-Constitution and anti-States Rights with Howard's cowardly attack on them. That should convince anyone that fascism is already here and we should stop it now.

Perhaps it is too easy to ridicule Howard's latest garbage and it may give it the attention that it doesn’t deserve, but - fair dinkum!

Howard's "New Order" claims that his government has made Australia prosperous.

  • That is preposterous considering that the beginning of this prosperity was by the actions of the Australian Labor Party under Hawke and Keating.
  • It was continued by the commodities boom and I'm sure that a real Australian government could have made better use of our natural resources than the Howard Liberals.

Question: Did this happen without any help from the States and Territories? And with their complete incompetency anchoring the Howard "march forward"? Crap.

Howard’s "New Order" claims that the economy is booming with the six States and two Territories (all Australian Labor) are planning to borrow some $70 billion over the next five years.

  • The "New Order" has blown out Australia’s foreign debt from $180 billion under Hawke/Keating to $532 billion under Howard/Costello. Yet in 1996, when facing an election they both said that foreign debt is a sign of mismanagement and a major item in raising the interest rates.
  • The States and Territories, ( especially N.S.W.) have been deprived; short-changed or blackmailed into their proper and fair shares of the Meg Lees GST.
  • The State hospitals have been underfunded for years. Before his last election, Peter Beattie offered control of the Queensland hospitals to Abbott, who quickly refused. (That wouldn't help the wealthy, would it?)
  • With the Howard government's immigration policies the infrastructure of the States and Territories needs more money to cope, so they have to borrow or let their citizens languish towards a third world existence.

Question: Was this the States’ orTerritories’ fault during a period of prosperity? Or were they starved of funds because they are Australian Labor?

The old and fragile Howard/Costello lies of low interest rates.

  • When the US interest rates were at 0.0% Howard/Costello, with the help of the Murdoch media, claimed that the Australian interest rate of 4.25% was one of the best in the world. Crap. In fact, their rates have been relatively high compared with the industrialised world.
  • Since 2002, on their watch, interest rates have risen eight times, and, even though their bleating to the Reserve Bank Governor has slowed him down, the chance of another is about 70%.

Question: Do the Australian Labor States/Territories have some input on inflation when their federal take is insufficient to meet the demands of expanding populations?

  • Howard and his mob say yes - States totally responsible for pushing up interest rates.
  • Ergo, they must also have a lot to do with them being kept low.

Question: Do the Australian Labor States/Territories have any influence on employment, if they influence inflation?

So, with the possibility of another interest rate rise, these "New Order" fascists expect the federal voters to believe that the Australian Labor governments in the States etc., have caused the inflation figures? Fair dinkum.

And this while he continues to disenfranchise all State voters, of all persuasions, causing enormous disunity, angst and fear and for what?

His own arrogant and narcissistic existence.


Cogs in the machinery

Ernest, thanks for that. It reaffirms my thoughts that the ADF are scared that they won’t be able to muster adequate numbers of qualified people in an emergency. We’ll be following the US's lead in aiming for a one-quarter robotic quotient by 2025, and anything beyond that will make Carlyle investors grin from ear to ear.

However, the Aidwatch report suggests there's not much point in the increased levels of militarisation if it's only for the oh-so-blatantly demonstrated purpose of maximising the profits of the corps. Look at what's happened: we've sent the accountants in a couple of days behind the troops and reworked a country's economy to maximise the profit margins in Coke and Maccers.

Not that we're doing much better. I bought a corporation pizza last night. The advertising on the box said how it kept the crust crispy. I'm convinced the pizza was made from the same material that it travelled in. Looking at Iraq I reckon we deserve to be chewing cardboard.

If we've been paying personnel with aid money to administer the ripping-off of a nation, there must have been more of an intended kick-back than more wheat contracts for AWB, If that's all we were doing, then US Wheat's push to get the contracts we paid for in such a manner have left us doubly, pardon the expression, screwed.

I think we'll have been promised more than that, and I don't know what it is. Then again, I couldn't work out why the Solomon Islands was a member of the Coalition of the Willing. If you were for the war you could trade. If you weren't with us…

[Bloomberg extract]

The list doesn't just exclude open opponents of the war. Sweden, Ireland, Austria, and Finland, all neutral countries, are also out. Of the 15 European Union states, only six are approved. They are the U.K., Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, and Denmark. All have sent soldiers or police forces to Iraq.

The Bloomberg piece suggests that these machinations were very helpful in leaving a clear path for Bechtel and Halliburton, who also quietly set their international operations snugly into Downer's fiefdom of Adelaide.

The Australian Army Reserve - it's time to consider

It's Time to consider this article by Lieutenant General Peter Leahy on the Australian Army Reserve: Relevant and Ready. I only became aware of its existence today.

Ever since the Howard government illegally invaded Iraq for the benefit of the US Bush Administration, I have written consistently that Howard's servile military policies will someday require conscription to help with future US wars and occupations.

With the recent media report of Australian Army Reserves being deployed to the Solomon Islands (without the usual Howard fanfare) I wondered how that could be done.

My thoughts were back in the days of WW11 when our militia were only allowed to be forcefully deployed outside of Australia in mandated territories like New Guinea. They were, in fact, an Australian Defence Force.

Everything that Bush has done, Howard has "me-tooed".

When the US sent Home Guard, Reservists and even Green Card holders to bolster their wars, I should have been alert to a Howard copycat.

Lieutenant General Leahy writes:

During 2001, significant legislative amendments were enacted in Australia that changed the nature of Reserve service within the Australian Defence Force. Reserves can now be called out, either in part or in whole, for a wide range of operations, including combat, defence emergency, peace enforcement, peacekeeping, civil and humanitarian aid, and disaster relief. These opportunities for greater employment of Reservists have been matched by a variety of measures to protect the jobs of members of the Reserve and to support their families and employers.

The package of legislative amendments to Reserve service in Australia contains some of the most historic and significant changes to the Defence Act since it was enacted at the beginning of the 20th century. The Army has not yet properly grasped the extent of the new opportunities presented by such legislative changes, nor has it fully comprehended the role that the Army Reserve can now play in providing forces for contemporary and future security challenges. Given the rigorous challenges that the new Hardened and Networked Army initiative poses, it is time that the land force carefully considers these opportunities, and makes adjustments to the roles and tasks that members of the Army Reserve may undertake.

Consequently, the Army Reserve must be capable of providing three levels of support to the land force. First, individuals and small units must contribute to a first deployment, or become components in any land force contribution to meet a security challenge, at relatively short notice. Second, the land force must employ individuals and larger units from the Reserve in order to enable second and subsequent deployments. Third, the Reserve must be capable of supplying sufficient expansion forces to meet any major security crisis.

As individuals, all members of the Army Reserve have an obligation to be ready to deploy on operations at twenty-eight days’ notice. Collective readiness, on the other hand, can vary from hours for critical tasks to several months for less critical responsibilities. Individuals are also required to conform to the collective readiness state of their units or sub-units.

The article is lengthy but does consider that they must "Deal with retention of trained Army Reserves".

I have been aware of Howard's "me-too" policies of supporting the wars of the US and I predicted that after this election (if he is re-elected) he will definitely introduce conscription for overseas service.

But I didn't see this one coming and I can't remember any of the media mentioning these momentous changes to our Army Reserve Force's Obligations!

John Pratt and Aga Kavanagh, were you aware of these changes? Apparently they were being considered and introduced from 1999 to 2003.

There is no truth - only the fascist supporters.


Nothing Howard does surprises me any more.

Ernest, thanks for bringing this latest Howard outrage to our attention. It is news to me, but nothing Howard does anymore surprises me, anymore. Have you noticed most of the Howard supporters are begining to fade away?

The odds are swinging to a labor victory. Labor $1.56  Liberals $2.4


"A spokesman from Mr Downer's office says Aid Watch is an extremist organisation..."

Yawn... What a pity that public discourse in Australia seems so much couched in extreme language.

Such as when, in 2000, Lord Downer issued his considered fatwah, that any UN committee which does not report as expected by the Australian Government "can expect to get a bloody nose".

I don't much care either way whether the Howard Government slinks back into office on a wave of blarney, as long as finally and at last, this country can be rid of the Member for Mayo and his bulldust.

Bring on the bloody election...

Why the Surprise?

After the AWB scandal, why should anyone be shocked by this revelation?

I mean, a few years ago, the Australian Government was helping to arm and feed Saddam and his crew at the same time.

Now they're simply helping Australian companies to follow in the large footsteps of Halliburton which is a veritable icon in the capitalist world.

Why the surprise?

Hi Daniel,

My only surprise is that Downer called Aidwatch an "extremist organisation" and got away with it. What a joke, on both Downer and our media...

Rich Man's War

To paraphrase Steve Earle: they're all just poor boys off to fight a rich man's war. 

This story fits here and detention yarns


The cost of incarcerating this man was about $25 million over the 5 years on Nauru and Manus Island and along with $113 million other dollars has been listed as overseas aid.

Refer to the legal black hole I talked of in detention yarns. I suspect his only ASIO bad review was that he was vocal in the Bronwyn Adcock story when she went to expose the horror we had built on Nauru.

Excellent post, excellent report

Well, heck, did anyone think we were there for the dates? Why would the US spend almost a trillion dollars invading a country that had the world's second largest dates reserves? Democratic whim? WOMD? Osama bin Terrorism? Hmmmmmm...

War Is A Racket

From Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC [Retired] www.warisaracket.com:

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

[David C - this is a very long post, so I took out a long section here about the buildup of arms in Europe prior to WWII.   People can go to the link if they're interested.]

Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the "open door" policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less than $200,000,000.

Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war – a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends.

But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?

What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?

Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn't own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington's warning about "entangling alliances." We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.

It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people – who do not profit.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2006 - 2008, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of Webdiary Pty Ltd.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.

Margo Kingston

Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner